Why losing weight should not be the ultimate goal?

As you tread upon your fitness journey, your ultimate goal should be to ensure that your health is in the best of its spirits. While it may be convenient to keep a track on the weighing scale, what you should actually prioritize is maintaining good health. But what is good health? 

In 1948, WHO defined health as - “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In 1986, some further amendments were made to this definition as - “A resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.” This explains health as not just resisting diseases but also living it to the fullest with necessary resources available around. These resources are not limited to basic amenities such as water and food but also happiness. Amidst this, if too much focus of a fitness journey is directed towards just weight loss and BMI, some wrong decisions are bound to be made. These range from resorting to fad diets or unsustainable eating habits. 

For an effective maintenance of healthy weight in the body, it is essential to pick up habits that can help in addressing medical issues like hormonal imbalances and inflammation. As we shift from losing weight to looking after our health optimally, not only will we be able to omit these issues but also lower down the chances of chronic diseases. Weight loss is comparatively a short term process whereas the adoption of a healthier lifestyle is a longer one. And so is the effect on the body! An active lifestyle enriched with a diet that boasts of fruits and vegetables can also look after weight related health risks even if it does not contribute to immediate weight loss. 

But do you think you can ignore inch loss? No! Your body weight continues to be an important indicator of your health. But more attention should be paid to body composition instead of just weight or BMI. Indulging in regular exercises and taking healthier diets may actually result in weight gain by burning fat and building muscles but will lead to inch loss. Not only would you find yourself fitting in smaller clothes but also observe an increase in energy and better sleep. And that’s how body measurements continue to stay relevant. It is also interesting to note that over a period of time, as a healthy and active lifestyle is prioritised, weight loss effectively becomes a by product outcome. Since body types differ from one another, it may take a while to figure out what are the nutritional needs and best suited set of exercises. This pursuit can prove to be much more worthwhile when compared to short-term fad diets. 

It is better to make weight loss a part of your fitness journey

Here we have enlisted some key considerations that can be taken into account for a weight loss journey:

What’s a good nutrition plan?

Definitely not one that is all about counting calories. Rather, it is about eating whole foods. Try to consume them in their entirety as much as possible. Avoid non starchy fruits and vegetables, processed foods and artificial ingredients. Include more lean proteins and healthy fats. This way your body will be able to garner the required fuel to perform. Pick a healthy snack to quench the hunger bursts. 

What role can medical evaluation play?

Timely medical evaluations can help to discover health issues in the body. If you have been popping supplementary pills for any reason, check with a qualified doctor if they might be causing an undesirable weight gain.

How does physical activity affect weight loss?

Pick up something that you will enjoy and stick to it. If you feel lifting weights and group exercises are not your thing, consider dancing. Or even petting, house chores and gardening. Make this choice carefully so that you don’t have to force yourself to it. Anything that gets your body moving. The goal should be to follow an active lifestyle. 

Does emotional health have anything to do with weight loss?

Emotional breakpoints can cause a dip in the self-control and determination that goes in. This is because you may turn a little vulnerable in those moments. Overall the fitness journey can become a little challenging. Now there are quite a few ways to deal with this. If there is something that is causing you mental stress, talk to someone. A friend, cousin or if needed a counselor. Maintaining a personal diary as penning down the pain points can also help. 

What is the benefit of self-monitoring?

Self monitoring is more of a strategic approach. It rests on awareness of prevailing and expected behaviors. To track the progress and performances, you can look at a number of apps, wearable devices and smart scales. 

How do you discipline yourself to lose weight?

Here is when your attitude steps in. A will powered attitude will help you overcome any sort of obstructions that visit your path. Don’t lose heart when a slip up happens. Let it not malfunction your trajectory. Learn from them and bounce back with even more dedication. Try and not pursue perfection!

It is advisable to choose healthy lifestyle over just weight loss

Here are some infamous myths around weight loss that we are attempting to demystify:

  • Exercise alone is not enough to lose weight. After a certain period of time with exercise, your body reaches its maximum level where you are not able to burn enough calories. So, to keep burning calories, you need to maintain your diet. The same goes if you are gaining weight. 
  • Many people appear to be in good shape on the outside but are unhealthy on the inside. Living a balanced lifestyle entails more than just losing weight; it also entails treating the body with respect, strengthening muscles, and providing it with the nutrients it needs to work properly. So, think before being thin or getting jealous of someone else's body. Love your body and treat well. 
  • What is good for others might not be good for you, everybody is different. Know your body type and figure out what’s best for it.
  • Healthy food is not expensive. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best to consume. This is why you need to start consuming them. Why you need to eat or consume food according to the seasons-
  1. It's better for your health -

    Nutrient-dense foods are those that are produced and eaten during the necessary seasons. In an analysis of broccoli vitamin C content, it was discovered that broccoli grown during its peak season had more vitamin C than broccoli grown in the spring.
  2. It tastes better -

    Seasonally grown and selected naturally ripened fruits and vegetables are usually high in flavor and nutrients. If you have any doubts? To get a taste, go to your nearest farmers’ market.
  3. It's cheaper -

    When a fruit or vegetable is in season, it is plentiful and, unsurprisingly, less expensive. 
  • Know good and bad carbs. They are molecules that have carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. It is one of three macronutrients. The other two are protein and fat. It contains three main dietary carbohydrates. First is sugar, second is starches and third is fibers. One of the primary purposes of carbohydrates in our diet is to provide fuel for our bodies. You need to look at whether you are eating good carbs or bad carbs? It’ll not affect your body but if you are eating then it should be a good carb food. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sugary drinks, white bread, etc. are good sources to eat healthy carbs. 
  • Supplements cannot supplement food nutrients. Dietary supplements serve a purpose and, in the form of a simple shake, will help you meet the required daily protein intake. However, as previously said, dietary supplements should be used to supplement rather than substitute our diet. Protein is neither a shortcut to grow big muscles nor does it make a negative impact on the kidneys. Your supplements can be your good friend if you use them in a proper manner. 

REFERENCES:

Soeliman, F. A., & Azadbakht, L. (2014). Weight loss maintenance: A review on dietary related strategies. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(3), 268–275.

Painter S, Ahmed R, Hill J, Kushner R, Lindquist R, Brunning S, Margulies A What Matters in Weight Loss? An In-Depth Analysis of Self-Monitoring. J Med Internet Res 2017;19(5):e16 URL: https://www.jmir.org/2017/5/e16 DOI: 10.2196/jmir.7457

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