Working at a health food store as a Nutritionist, I see and hear a lot of noise about losing weight, getting fit, restricting calories, Keto diet, magical weight loss pills, and body shaming.
I have seen sophomores in high school come into the store to buy Garcinia Cambogia because “everyone at school is doing it.”
There are women who surgically remove their fat regularly so they can keep living as they please.
I know women who are several years regulars at the store who have been binge buying weight loss pills the entirety of my knowing them, if not longer. The results? They look exactly the same.
Many of the people who ask about pills are trying to lose weight because their doctors told them to. When I ask about their diet? Ranges from “No, I’m not changing that,” to “It’s not the worst but it has a lot of room for improvement.”
It’s no secret that our culture fat and body shames, while pushing on people new fad diets and ways of living, or rather “restricting.” I’m here to tell you: It is all noise.
How you look now? You are perfect. Absolutely perfect. You look exactly how you are meant to in this moment. You are beautiful. You are unique. You are not defined by the shape of your body or the weight you carry.
If you wish to lose weight, I support you. I accept you. I do have to ask though: Why? Why are you choosing to lose weight? Is it because you personally deep down feel a desire to be healthy and experience what it is like to reap the maximum potential of having a fit and lean body? Or is it because someone, or society, told you that you are anything less than divine for not looking like a swimsuit model?
Weight loss is a poor goal to have because a lot of times it can lead to negative thought patterns and body shaming. It makes us feel worse than if we were to just go about our day to day lives not thinking about it, and can often lead to greater weight gain and mental issues.
Some people do need to lose weight. I will be blunt here. Heart disease, diabetes, and other weight related illnesses are WAY up right now because of the extra pounds people carry. It can lead to heart attack, stroke, clogged arteries, and a skew of other problems. How then, can we effectively flow into our own individual healthiest selves without making weight loss the goal?
It’s simple: Health is the goal.
To be healthy, eating right, and moving our bodies while creating a beautiful support system of healthy relationships and self talk around us is the key to this toxic trend of weight loss. In fact, just throw “weight loss” completely out of your mind. It does not matter anymore.
What matters is that you feel amazing and can live long to enjoy all of the fruits of life surrounded by loved ones. Trying to change your ways because you want a quick fix, someone told you, or you have developed low worth due to weight often will lead to binging and toxic mentalities that eventually lead back to “I should have just ate right and exercised.”
Do you wish to restrict yourself or do you wish to thrive and enjoy life?
How then does one effectively lose weight without focusing on weight loss?
- Make being healthy your goal.
- Start “crowding out” all of the processed foods by “adding in” whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, along with healthy fats (avocadoes, nuts and seeds, olives, and coconut are excellent options).
- Move your body more. You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership to get fit. You can move your body outside or in the comfort of your own home. Move in the ways that make you feel good and that get you excited to do so. Yoga, pilates, dancing, hooping, ride a bike, jog or run, weight lifting, tai chi, rock climbing, swimming, take classes, HIIT, and calisthenics. There is something for everyone. Try it all.
- Build healthy relationships. It is vital to have loving, supportive relationships in our lives full of people who will encourage us to keep going and meet up for that midday green juice. We are often subconsciously reflections of those who surround us. This is why things such as heart disease and diabetes will run in families. Everyone is eating the same things! If you wish to be healthy, surround yourself with healthy people. If you wish to be fit, find fit people or a gym buddy.
- Reduce stress. If health is the key to the door, stress is the key to the deadbolt. Stress is, in my opinion, the true killer. Inflammation, nervous system dysfunction, poor digestion (IBS and leaky gut especially), skin issues, and other health related illnesses can all be caused simply because we are too stressed out. This stress can lead to the body not being able to properly go through its functions (digesting, cleaning, restoring), and will lead to more distress on the body and more mental issues as well. If you’d like to learn more about that, you can check out this article I wrote on the relationship between stress and heavy metal levels, and weight gain.
- Self Love. I saved the best for last. More important than anything else, we need to learn to love ourselves. We must support ourselves and care for ourselves more than anyone else we know. If we can not take care of our own needs, how will others even know what our needs are when a time comes that we need to call on the love and support of others? Love yourself. Find out what that looks like and means for you. Figure out the “why” behind the reason you do things such as get fit or healthy. Then, commit wholly to your growth and evolution.
If you feel that you need further support or tools to get started on your path to radiant health and self love, consider a life coach or health advisor. In my practice, I help people to encourage more habits and rituals into their routines to make the transition smoother into living fully and vibrantly. You can learn more about what I do and offer here.
Health deserves a holistic approach because it is not black and white. It is a full spectrum rainbow that needs care from all angles. It seems intimidating at first, but it is often much simpler than we make it. All it really takes is a change of perspective and a desire.