If you’ve ever gone on a diet, you may know that losing weight can sometimes be easy — but keeping weight off is another story. When it comes to losing weight in a truly sustainable way, it may be necessary to reframe the way you view weight loss. Instead of focusing on the details — the numbers on your scale, for example — look at the big picture. Your ultimate goal is to upgrade your health and your lifestyle. Any actions you take towards losing weight should be viewed from this perspective, rather than seen as a temporary fix.
We live in a culture that values youth, good looks, and a thin physique. We may strive to look like the lanky fashion model in the magazine or the demure actress on TV, but this way of thinking isn’t healthy, as we’re all built differently. Fad diets and diet pills promising a quick fix may seem to work temporarily, but they don’t provide lasting results, and they may put your health at risk.
In fact, many thin people look great on the outside but aren’t radiating good health from the inside. People who eat inadequate, nutrient-poor diets are at risk for degenerative disease such as heart disease, gut issues, premature aging, and depression. Focusing solely on weight and body mass index often leads to making choices that don’t actually improve health, but make matters worse.
Approaching weight loss in a new way
Fad diets don’t address the factors behind weight gain, nor do they help us create sustainable eating habits. The key to lasting health is a personal and unique approach to your health and fitness goals. It also involves taking a good look at underlying health issues that can impede weight loss. Digestive issues like leaky gut syndrome can prevent us from losing weight. So can hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammation, and other hidden health issues lingering beneath the surface.
Adopting healthier habits
When we move our focus from weight loss to improved health and lifestyle, it allows us to address these underlying issues, while reducing our risk of other degenerative diseases in the process. Weight loss often follows as a natural side effect to living a healthier lifestyle.
The key to losing weight — and keeping weight off — involves adopting healthy habits and letting go of the unhealthy ones. For example, instead of sitting on the couch and eating potato chips after dinner, you might have a bowl of yogurt with berries for dessert, then enjoy a nice after-dinner stroll. Instead of following the masses by eating the Standard American Diet, shopping in mega-supermarkets, and eating fast food, you might want to change things up altogether.
Start thinking about food in a different way. Food provides fuel for your body and provides the building blocks for cellular repair. It makes sense that in order to get the best out of your body, you should put the best into it. Focus your diet on fresh, clean foods. Shop at your local farmer’s market, Co-op, or health food store. Buy a cute cookbook and enjoy creating your own meals at home. Eat a diet that’s rich in organic fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Replace soda with sparkling water. Substitute spring water for fruit juice. Instead of keeping boxes of crackers, cookies, and candy in your pantry, buy nuts, nut butters, honey, dried fruits, and raw protein bars.
If you have a gym membership but find you hardly use it, consider what kinds of activities bring you joy. Do you love biking, walking your dogs on a nature trail, or hiking in the woods?
Maybe you’d enjoy a dance class, following yoga videos in the comfort of your own home, or finding a walking buddy to meet with each evening after work. Exercise doesn’t have to mean putting in an intense workout at the gym. Find ways to add more movement into your everyday routine.
Body composition matters
We typically think it’s all about weighing less. But a healthy weight involves more than just the numbers on your scale. These days, we’re learning that body composition is a truer reflection of good health. For instance, when you begin weight training, you’re naturally going to put on some weight as you burn fat and build muscle mass. Remember, muscle is more dense than fat and therefore weighs more by volume.
What’s more, we all have a unique body composition. When we begin eating healthier and becoming more active, we might not fit into those trendy skinny jeans. That’s not the point.
The point is to feel more vibrant, improve our quality of sleep, decrease stress, and sense that we’re becoming stronger, more balanced, and all-around healthier. For this reason, lab work and body measurements indicate overall health rather than the scale. It’s a more holistic approach, and one that really works.
Long-term improvements for keeping weight off
Losing weight in and of itself doesn’t determine measures of true health. If you’re popping a diet pill or beginning a new fad diet, you may actually do your body more harm than good. While weight loss matters to a point, the two most important factors that indicate real wellness are:
The foods you eat
Eating a healthy diet is essential if you want to experience sustainable weight loss. Eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet is even more important. When you take out the bad, you leave room for the good. However, every body is different. The foods that support your health might be different from your spouse’s. This is due in part to genetic variants that influence how you process food and use it for energy. For this reason, consulting an expert and coming up with a deliberate nutritional plan is always a good idea.
Your activity level
Improvements in your level of activity is a true indicator of weight loss and whole body health.
A sedentary lifestyle wreaks havoc on your entire system. An active lifestyle, on the other hand, increases energy levels, burns fat, and strengthens the immune system. It may take time to figure out what forms of movement feed your spirit, but the journey is part of the fun.
Setting yourself up for weight-loss success
- To set yourself up for weight loss success, you’ll want to focus on these factors:
- Sleep: Poor sleep habits can sabotage weight-loss efforts.
- Nutritional plan: Creating a nutritional plan with the help of a professional will motivate you and make you accountable.
- Medical evaluation: A medical evaluation can help pinpoint underlying issues like leaky gut syndrome or hormonal imbalances. If you’re taking prescription medications, a doctor can help determine whether these meds are absolutely necessary, and whether they’re working in your favor or against you when it comes to becoming a healthier version of you.
- Psychological evaluation: Psychological and emotional health are part of the journey to radiant health. Consulting with an expert in this field will only improve matters.
As always, enjoy the journey! We’re all a work in progress, and life is an experiment. Stay true to yourself and enjoy the ride!
Need help with your health and weight-loss goals? At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss program is designed to help you build healthy habits and address the underlying factors that often make weight loss difficult. Contact us today for your free consultation!