Is Weight Loss The Right Goal?

Let’s face it, there are just not a lot of us “normal people” who don’t stress over that number on the scale. We try this, we try that. Some things seem to work and then suddenly they don’t.  We work out and still the scale doesn’t move. Sometimes things just don’t seem to make sense.  Let’s step back and do a little sanity check.

First, let’s get something out of the way right away.  If you are working out solely for the purpose of losing weight — defined as that number on the scale going down, you are swimming upstream. Weight loss is actually a fairly complex – and very individual – equation.  You’ve got three major factors to account for.  At the top of the ladder is nutrition.  You simply cannot train enough to overcome lousy eating habits.  There is a lot involved in nutrition and although calories matter, more important is the quality of what you are eating. Processed sugar needs to be minimized.  Prepackaged items full of preservatives contain all sorts of things that play havoc with your hormones.  Think you are eating “clean enough”? Log it for a week .. see what’s really going on. You might be surprised.

The other two pieces of the puzzle are much smaller, accounting for perhaps as little as 20% of the overall picture. As you might expect, regular exercise helps a lot. Humans are programmed for movement and our bodies respond when we ask them to do things we’re so naturally inclined to do.  The wildcard in the equation that other 10-15%.  What we do MOST of the 24 hours in a day obviously matters.  There are two things we do to optimize this. First, try to be mindfully active during the waking hours. If you spend long hours at a desk, aside from the ill effects on your posture, you’re cheating your body out of something it craves.  Take breaks when you can and move around. Your body will thank you.  But don’t forget about quality rest. Especially if you are on a rigorous workout regimen, sleep helps your recovery and is the key time when damaged muscle fiber is repaired.  More lean muscle means more calories burned period .. and it looks good too!

Now to drop the other shoe …. that scale, well it tells you something about your relationship to gravity, but far too often, not much more.  Here’s a few better tests of progress…

… has the fit of your clothes changed?

… do you recover faster from workouts than you did 1, 2, 3 months ago?

… can you do an exercise now that you couldn’t a few weeks or months ago?

… do you find yourself thinking more about the food you consume?

… do you have more energy walking up stairs?

… are you finding it easier to do tasks like picking up dropped keys, rising from a chair, carrying a bag of groceries?

If you change your thought patterns to be more mindful of things .. particularly your dedicated exercise, your day to day activity level and most importantly that things you eat and drink that scale will work itself out.  Can you impact that?  Sure .. but be ever mindful that just monitoring that number on the scale alone can one day be a source of joy and the very next day drag you down.  Being skinny does not mean being healthy any more than being heavy automatically means you are unhealthy!

Let’s Get Moving Again so we can … #LiveLifeLivelier!

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