The latest research indicates that weight or BMI (body mass index based on weight and height) are unreliable predictors of health.

An extensive study of nearly 3 million people found that people with BMI’s that placed them in the “overweight” category were at less risk of dying than “normal” weight folks.  This calls into question a whole movement within healthcare and fitness to evaluate health or fitness on BMI.

It comes as no surprise to eating disorder professionals.  We’ve been talking for years about the “non-diet” approach to health and the inadequate (and often problematic) role of numbers (scale or BMI) in helping people monitor their health.

As my spinning instructor Michelle admonished us this morning, “Say no to depriving yourself of chocolate cake just so you can lose weight.  It isn’t about weight.  It’s about fitness.”

What is fitness?  Well…it depends…

For me, fitness is having enough strength, energy and stamina to do what I love, meet my responsibilities, and feel ready to sleep when it’s time for bed.  Fitness is about feeling energized throughout the day, not feeling sluggish or fatigued.  Fitness is about being mentally alert and engaged, emotionally steady and non-reactive.

What combination of foods, beverages, activity, rest, work and play make you feel your best?  What does optimal fitness feel like in your body?  What would you be able to do if you were in optimal alignment with your body?

That’s a healthy weight.  No one can tell you what that weight is.  And, once you’re there, it doesn’t really matter so much.  Your body tells you when you need to eat less, eat more, drink more water, drink less caffeine or alcohol, increase activity, get more rest, work a little more or less.

Health and fitness are about being in optimal alignment with what makes your body hum and your soul sing.  Discovering that…and doing more of it…is a good way to be healthy and fit.

Here’s to humming and singing our way through 2013!