Weight, the unhealthiest of obsessions?
Wednesday 6th June 2018
I understand that for many people weight loss is the number one priority when starting a new fitness plan. But what happens when you have made changes to your diet, you've cut out the junk food and replaced it with healthier options, you have been working out 3-4 times per week, and then you jump on the scales to see fruits of your labour and nothing. You have lost no weight at all, not a single pound.
Having had the pleasure of working within the health and fitness industry for the past 15 years I have seen every reaction possible; disbelief, anger, resignation and even tears. The interesting part of this story often comes when you then measure body fat and body circumference, and they have lost a considerable amount on each, but they still have the same expression on their face. The rest just doesn't cut it unless their weight has gone down.
Now this isn't true for everyone but it is an extremely common occurrence. For many weight is the only thing that matters.
Before I go any further let me address the issue of judging the success of a training cycle by weight alone. Your weight will fluctuate throughout the day, often as much as 2 to 4lbs, so if you jump on the scales at the wrong time of the day you will probably get a less than favorable reading. You also have no control over your weight loss, only the process you use to achieve that goal.
If you are looking to change your body composition your primary focus should be to increase lean muscle. Look at lean muscle as the furnace that fires your metabolism, the more muscle you have, the more efficient you becomes at burning calories. It is important to remember that muscle is much denser than fat so you can lose body fat, look a whole lot leaner, and still put weight on. With this in mind should we really care about our weight?
If you are substantially overweight then yes tracking your weight is important and reducing it to a more manageable level is a major factor of good health. The word health is key in this subject, somewhere along the line weight and how we look has become the main focus rather than our health. Now I understand that how we look is important, I am no different in wanting to look my best. The point I am trying to make is that achieving the body composition you desire is just an obvious bi-product that comes with living healthily.
There is no need to try extreme diets or punishing workout routines that are detrimental to you health to get the body that you desire. Yes you need to eat healthily and exercise but this doesn't have to be a grueling process, quite the opposite is true, it should be rewarding and make you feel great.
There are 5 key elements that we have control over that have an unquestionable impact of our health and our quality of life; Nutrition, habits, mobility, exercise and recovery. There doesn't have to be massive wholesale changes to make a difference to your health. Small progressive steps will garner significant change, then it becomes addictive and human nature means you will want more, and with time it will just be a way of your life.
Start today with these 5 simple changes:
• Nutrition - Keep a food diary for one full week noting every one of your meals, snacks and drinks. Use an app called MyfitnessPal to input your data. This will give you a better understanding of what you are eating. Then structure your meals around your day, starting with a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner, with 2 small snacks to be placed in between. The key is to plan your meals around your day rather than plan your day around your meals.
• Habit - Work out what the most destructive habit in your day is that you would like to replace, then make a note every time that you feel the urge for that habit. Do this over a one-week period. You will start to see a trend of situations that trigger your cravings. By identifying the trigger you can now replace this habit with one that positively impacts your life and gives you a rewarding feeling.
• Mobility - Start spending 5 minutes evening morning to rotate each one of your joints through the greatest range of motion they will go. Try not to allow any other part of your body to move.
• Exercise - Make a conscious effort to stand up every hour. Set an alarm to remind yourself if needed. Aim to walk for 45 minutes continuously at one point each day. This may be something as simple as getting off a few stops early on the way to or from work.
• Recovery - Aim to set a regular time to go to sleep every night and get up at the same time each day. This is integral to getting a great nights rest so that you are refreshed for the following day.
This process will start a chain reaction of other positive change that that will not only improve the performance of your mind and body, but also leave you with more time due to improved productivity.
With good health comes a higher level of performance in all areas of life, allowing you to make better decisions, and have more drive, focus and creativity. You will feel stronger, fitter and more confident, all vital ingredients to thrive in the business world.