As another summer draws to a close, a lot of people who have been obsessed with weight loss since spring are relieved that they made it through beach season. They probably relied on crash diets to lose weight with the hope of looking better in swimsuits, shorts, skinny jeans and other clothes that were buried in the closet all winter.
But what happens when summer ends? They typically shift from one unhealthy eating habit, the crash diet, to their former unhealthy eating habit, which will cause them to put the pounds back on.
At the end of the day, what have they achieved? Is it worth it to go through this mentally and physically draining cycle year after year?
I understand the desire to feel better about how you look. Self-esteem and self-confidence are important. But too many people are driven by what they see on the bathroom scale and in the mirror. They want to see the number of pounds lost, and they want to see how those lost pounds translate to a more slender appearance.
Here’s the problem. Bathroom scales and mirrors don’t tell the whole story. Weight loss doesn’t tell the whole story.
What exactly are you losing? Is it fat, water, bone or muscle? Are you losing essential pounds that are critical to brain health, bone health and organ health?
I’m not a weight loss doctor, and I don’t operate a weight loss center. I’m a healthcare provider who operates a wellness center.
Providing health is different than helping someone lose weight. Weight loss gets all the attention, but the ultimate goal should be to get healthier.
One of the ways I determine if people are getting healthier is to measure their body composition. Biometric measurements show what kind of weight they’re actually losing. These metrics empirically and objectively prove how clinical nutrition, the proper exercise program, and lifestyle modification can dramatically change a person’s health and well-being.
As I’ve been saying for years, healthy weight loss is just a happy by-product of a wellness lifestyle.
When you make smart decisions and lose weight safely, the downstream effects are life-changing. You put less strain on weight-bearing joints, like the hips, knees and ankles. You can reduce arthritis pain or avoid arthritis completely. You can reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of future complications. You reduce the overall risk of chronic illness.
Of course, the benefits aren’t just physical. When you’re living a wellness lifestyle at the proper weight, your mood is better because your hormones are in balance. You can think more clearly and improve memory because your brain functions at an optimal level. You can sleep more soundly, which allows the body to repair cells and heal itself. You miss fewer days at work and spend less time at the doctor’s office.
Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” say, “I want to be healthier.” That’s the key to not only looking better, but feeling better – physically, mentally and emotionally – so you can live as many disease-free years as possible.
When you get beyond bathroom scales and mirrors and experience positive changes in your life, it’s much easier to stay motivated throughout the year. Instead of obsessing over short-term weight loss, let’s focus on long-term health and enjoy all the benefits it brings.