A grassroots exercise movement that encourages women to focus less on the scale and more on overall health started with a single photo posted by a fitness blogger.
Arianna Dantone shared a photo of herself last year with the caption, “Gaining weight is cool.”
“I had gained like 20 pounds, and that whole year I was super depressed about it,” she told “GMA.” “But when I looked back at the pictures, I didn’t see 20 pounds there.”
Dantone’s tweet went viral as people weighed in with the hashtag #GainingWeightIsCool, and responses like, “Thank you for helping me realize that gaining weight is okay.”
“I am sooo on board with this. #Idon’tweightmyselfanymore,” wrote another commenter.
Dantone said she still gets messages from women today, more than one year after she posted her photo.
“I get messages every single day from women telling me that it helped them, so it's just amazing,” she said.
Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak told “GMA” that not looking at the scale is good for both your mental and physical health.
“That scale can really affect you,” he said. “It can make you depressed and can make you do extreme things as a reaction to seeing that number.”
He added, “Hashtag 'don’t weigh yourself' is cool. Hashtag 'live an active healthy, balanced, moderate lifestyle' is cool.”
Studies have shown that people who weigh themselves regularly are better at maintaining their weight, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent.
“But it’s not just about that number on the scale,” she added, calling weight “just part of the picture” of health.
For instance, if you are gaining muscle, you may actually see your weight increase, Ashton explained.
“Muscle is a dense tissue and you can be very healthy, very fit and see that number on the scale go up,” she said.
For a more accurate judgment of your overall health, Ashton recommends asking these three questions.
1. How are you clothes fitting?
2. What is your exercise tolerance? Can you walk or run up some stairs without being completely winded? How strong are you?
3. How are your objective measures? Know your blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood sugar level.