If you haven’t noticed by now, there’s a ton of conflicting information and advice in the health, wellness, and fitness industries today. It can be confusing and discouraging to try to sort through all the information and find what works best for your body and your unique needs, especially when it comes to losing weight.
The weight loss industry would have us buy into many marketing ploys. According to them, we of course need special supplements, snack bars, and shakes. We must invest in expensive cooking and exercise equipment. We need to eat less, exercise more, and practice great amounts of willpower. We need to be on the newest, trendiest diet. If we’re doing it right, we can lose weight quickly and get on with life. And clearly, once we lose weight, we’ll be happy and loved and all of our wildest dreams will come true.
Yikes! No wonder so many of us are confused and misguided when it comes to weight loss!
Beyond all this, there is, however, one gigantic misconception that I believe is sabotaging anyone who wishes to lose weight, and it is at the core of all weight loss advice.
Ready for it? Here it is . . .
The biggest lie of all is that weight loss is actually about losing weight.
It might sound like a subtly distinction, or maybe just semantics, but fat loss, not weight loss, is the goal when it comes to dropping pounds. A healthy body composition, or ratio of lean mass (think muscles, organs, and bones) to fat, is really what we’re after.
But more importantly than the distinction between weight loss and fat loss, however, is the backwards notion that we ought to focus on the numbers first, and by reaching our ideal weight or body fat percentage, our health will fall in place.
Consider this . . .
A person decides to lose weight by cutting calories. He or she switches to diet soda and reduces portion sizes, and while some weight loss occurs, this person is hungry and cranky much of the time, and experiences headaches and mood swings. This person eventually gives up, gaining back the weight lost and more.
Or this . . .
Another person loses fat and maintains muscle by following an extremely low carb, high protein diet and exercising several times a week. This person looks lean and would be considered “healthy” by body composition and weight standards, but he or she has low energy and feels sluggish and tired most of the time.
These examples are simple, and may or may not apply to you, but the bottom line here is that reaching a certain weight or body fat percentage does not guarantee our health. When we focus on hitting a certain weight or body fat percentage, we are much more likely to do crazy things to our bodies (extreme diets, intense exercise without adequate rest or recovery, ignoring or poorly managing stress, ignoring the quality of our food and the nutrient value and simply focusing on calories, etc), none of which works to make us healthier.
A better approach is to focus on improving our health first and foremost, through lifestyle changes like eating a whole foods diet, managing stress, getting plenty of sleep, and incorporating enjoyable and challenging exercise with plenty of rest and recovery. We can also work to correct any unique hormone imbalances or metabolic dysfunction to improve our body’s functioning and our overall health and well-being. In this way, our body composition and weight will in turn reach a healthy set point.
And now, some tweetables for you 🙂 Share them if you agree, and if you found this article helpful, please share it with a friend who would also find it useful!
[bctt tweet=”I’d rather be healthy than skinny, thank you very much!”]
[bctt tweet=”Focus on improving your health, and a healthy weight will fall in place.”]