The Only Number You Need

The Only Number You Need

Written by Lula Brown
Photography by Jake Freeman

I spent two years weighing myself multiple times a day, judging myself and adjusting my behavior based on the number each time. It did not bring eternal health and happiness to me. Shockingly.

I never liked math much, so I should have known that a number on a scale would never be a true reflection of optimal physical and mental health for me.

Numbers used to come into play a lot, especially with counting calories, every meal and snack, every day. This tactic did lead to dramatic, unneeded weight loss for me, but it was very short-lived and it didn’t make me happy.
What makes me happy is…

  1. Eating the foods I’m craving at every meal. This gets tricky because sugar addiction, which is super common, can totally mess with your cravings and hunger cues. You need to build up a healthy baseline and awareness before going full swing into intuitive eating. We can talk more about it if you want – leave a comment or shoot me an email at
  2. Stopping before I’m too full.
  3. Eating greens every day.
  4. Taking high-quality probiotics and omega-3s.
  5. Moving my body almost every day.

It seems pretty simple, but I’ve waded through a lot of counting, pinching and prodding to get here. And more diets than I can count. I’m here to help you shortcut that path.

All that said, there is one number that’s helpful when you want to feel your best: Your waist measurement. The truth is that having fuller thighs and a round bottom don’t necessarily mean you’re unhealthy at all. But, having a round stomach has an impact on heart health, blood sugar, and much more.

Walk into your bathroom or bedroom now. Throw away your scale. Then walk to your hardware store and buy a measuring tape.

Most of your organs that carry out critical bodily functions are housed in the center of your body, and if fat is crowding them, it’s much more difficult for them to do their jobs.

At maximum, your waist measurement should be one half of your height in inches. I’m 5’7”, or 67 inches. The largest I would want my waist to be is 33.5 inches. Everyone is genetically different, and some might choose a different aesthetic, but for health purposes that’s how you find your maximum healthy measurement. If the number is higher than this, it’s a sign of blood sugar imbalances, high cholesterol and countless other possible issues.

If you’re at a place where food and weight feels obsessive and exhausting, abandon the numbers all together and focus on your mental state. Meditate, engage in physical activity and eat healthy food that tastes great.

If you’re interested in getting more technical and ensuring you’re in a super healthy place, go for the waist measurement rather than hopping on the scale. As a former disordered eater, the measuring tape has been a much simpler tool for me to use.

How do you feel about numbers when it comes to weight and health? Do you weigh yourself? How often? I want to hear from you in the comments.

This week, I have a delicious recipe that everyone will love. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and paleo-approved, if you’re into any of those labels. It also just tastes really good.

Crispy Mushroom Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
Serves 2
2 pounds oyster mushrooms
2 cups microgreens of choice
3 tablespoons grassfed butter
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons macadamia oil, or other high-heat oil
Lemon slices, for garnish
Himalayan salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Rinse and pat dry mushrooms and microgreens. Bring macadamia oil to high heat in medium pan. Add mushrooms and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste near end of cooking.

Melt butter in separate small pan or pot and add thyme and cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange mushrooms on top of microgreens on plate and drizzle with warm vinaigrette, or toss all ingredients in mixing bowl and serve immediately. Garnish with lemon slices.