Weight loss may be a goal, but is that what you really want? When a new client says that their goal is to lose weight I’m pretty sure they are really looking for something that actually has more meaning – to have more energy, to de-stress, to sleep better, enjoy a better mood, and to thrive. They really want good health in order to improve their quality of life.
Body image is a concern for all of us, but ultimately that is a reflection of our state of health. When you achieve good health, weight loss will follow naturally and you will achieve your ideal weight and body shape.
There seems to be a general view that you have to lose weight in order to become healthy. From working with many people in a one on one environment experience has taught me that the opposite is true – you have to get healthy in order to lose weight. This is not a play on words – this idea represents a much needed paradigm shift in our approach to both health and weight loss. Let’s look at some good reasons to make this shift:
Weight loss has no default connection with good health. And being skinny does not default to good health either. Rather, improving the dietary and lifestyle choices that lead to weight gain are key to good health and weight loss. On the surface this may sound familiar, but the strategies and measures are completely different and they apply to anyone who wants the benefits of great health whatever their body fat percentage. Focusing on weight loss can actually lead to poor health outcomes whereas focusing on health will ultimately enable you to achieve an ideal weight.
A goal for weight loss has no intrinsic value – it is a goal that has been created by Industry based on the misconception that weight loss is king. This has resulted in a collective misdirection away from health to something that is entirely related to body image. And this is why weight loss is such a struggle – effort is being put into a process that is guaranteed to fail.
A goal for weight loss is innately negative and sets you up for failure, while a goal for great health will resolve the causes of weight gain and lead to your ideal weight. The reason is the difference in attitude and the behaviours and choices that flow from them.
A goal for weight loss focuses on whether a ‘food’ will make you fat or skinny, how many calories there are and not the nutritional value of the food, and how many calories you ‘burned’ and not the value of the exercise itself. It sets up a ‘war’ with food, creates guilt, feelings of failure – and it is all very confusing if not very expensive.
A goal for great health focuses on the nutritional value of food, is not concerned with calorie counting, creates exercise programs that make a fantastic difference to your function and wellbeing, and all this leads to weight loss – naturally. Great health is an energetic state of vibrant wellbeing. Excess weight is symptomatic of mediocre or poor health in that part of the population that are prone to putting on weight. Skinny people get the same results from their choices as do people who become overweight.
A focus on health will change the underlying conditions that lead to weight gain. A focus on weight loss does not, therefore the raging battle with fat cannot be won.
There is great benefit in taking this paradigm shift – the path to great health is much easier and enjoys far greater success, and weight loss is just one of the prizes. So it really is all in your mind!