Everything’s about weight loss these days. We are obsessed with body image. Everywhere you look there’s a headline about a celebrity gaining weight, a public figure making “offensive” weight remarks, or a new magic food that makes you shed pounds simply by eating it. The weight loss industry takes in revenue of $20 billion every single year.
Sure, America has an obesity problem. With over a third of the population considered clinically obese, it makes sense that people everywhere are focused on losing weight. The problem with all this racket is that we’re missing the real issue. We need to be healthy, not measure out at a certain body weight. Overall health is a much broader and more complex equation than what your scale can tell you.
Weight gain versus weight loss is simple. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. That’s all there is to it. So if you exclusively eat crap, but not a whole lot of it, you can still lose weight. Conversely, if you eat a ton of healthy food, you can still gain weight. So, just because someone is dropping weight doesn’t mean that they are an overall healthy person.
The problem with focusing solely on weight loss is that your diet and nutritional plan will usually not be sustainable. This is why most of the people who lose more than thirty pounds gain it all back, and more, within a year. For example, if you completely stop eating carbohydrates, that’s great for melting some extra stomach fat in the short-term, but when you feel so lethargic and depressed that you begin eating everything in sight, you’re going to be in an even worse position than where you started. Fad diets to “lose weight quick” are not usually healthy or sustainable.
If you want to achieve sustainable weight loss you have to focus on becoming healthy, not skinny. For starters, eliminate the empty calories from your diet: the foods that provide little or no nutritional value, such as soda, fried foods, processed sugars and refined carbs. Now, create a diet that centers on lean meats, fresh produce, and whole grains. Go to your local vitamin store and grab a multivitamin or two to fill in the nutritional gaps inherent in even today’s healthy food, and start a reasonable exercise routine.
Once you are consistently eating right, you will already be feeling better. Now that you have made this huge step towards healthy living, you can start to make very slight adjustments in order to shape your body. Use portion control to slightly chip away your calorie intake, and then gradually increase your workout intensity until you start to drop weight. You might lose a bunch of weight the first week, but after that you should not be losing more than 5 pounds a week. It isn’t great for your body and it isn’t sustainable.
The point is, value your health more than your body image. Losing weight isn’t the answer: being healthy is. A simple shift in perspective is all it takes to get you where you want to be.
About the Author: My name is Tiffany Olson. I live in beautiful Northern California (Redding to be exact!). I am passionate about health and wellness and love to share information and inspiration via blogging. I am also a firm believer that shopping local is one of the healthiest decisions that a person can make. For my health and the health of my community, I shop at Orchard Nutrition, which is the best local organic grocery and vitamin store in Redding.