The body positive community will tell you that you should never lose weight, you should accept and love your body as it is.
The health at every size movement will tell you that excess weight is not contributing to any diseases, aches or pains.
The fitness industry will tell you that you should always be looking to improve your body composition, more muscle less fat.
The fashion industry will tell you that you don’t need to lose weight… unless you’re a model or want to look like one in their clothes.
The diet industry will tell you that you always should and can lose weight.
Yet none of these are addressing the one thing that we need to do to actually be HEALTHY…
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
I don’t mean bubble baths and pedicures, while that helps us feel good.
I mean that the one time you probably should lose weight is when you are not taking care of yourself on a consistent basis. Now for some, this may actually mean weight GAIN, not loss, but for the more majority, I’m going to address weight loss.
It’s surrounding us this time of year just as much as cookies and egg nog are. There are many arguments as to why you SHOULD lose weight. What makes me sad is that is there are many of us who actually don’t need to lose WEIGHT, but could stand to be healthier and have better consistent habits. There’s also many of us who have healthy habits and are still off the chart on the BMI 🏼♀️.
So here it is. If you are not consistently taking care of yourself and performing healthy habits consistently, losing weight may be a benefit for you. HOWEVER, Weight loss should not be the goal, but the result. If your body isn’t in its optimum state of health, improving some habits may very well result in weight loss, and could actually even be on the easier side.
You ever notice weight loss is hardest the better shape you are in? That’s because your body doesn’t perceive itself to be unhealthy and therefore doesn’t see a reason to release weight.
But, if you are eating crap, sleeping like crap, moving like crap if at all… your body is going to feel like crap. And believe it or not, your body wants to feel good and move well. It wants to release the excess weight that is making you unhealthy. But often, it isn’t the weight making you unhealthy as it is the habits that go along with the weight. We just have been brainwashed to think, lose weight, problems go away.
What if we changed our thinking to act consistently, eat well, move well, sleep well, deal with stress productively… and our weight will be where it should be?
Here’s my example. I once worked for a coffee and food delivery truck service. I would drive around to customers for 8 hours and serve them on the go. I was up by 5am. At work 5:30am-3:00pm. Then I would train clients. I was not sleeping enough. I was not fitting in workouts. I was eating processed junk food day in and day out. I was highly stressed, always rushing, and never taking five. Within a couple of months, I watched my weight climb to my highest weight ever. A weight I had never seen before. Especially when I had just competed a year earlier and was 30 pounds less.
I knew this wasn’t healthy. I knew this wasn’t sustainable. I knew this wasn’t me. But I couldn’t get out of this rut.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME??
The job was great. I sought it out for months until they had an opening. I took it, made my tips, paid off my credit card debt and slowly watched my health take a back seat.
Everyday at 1:30pm I would drive from Niagara Falls to Orchard Park, fighting the seemingly unavoidable urge to nod off. Finally, one day a customer asked if I was pregnant. And I couldn’t even be mad. I didn’t even recognize myself. I had gained weight. I carried around the gorgeous “processed food bloat” on top of it. I was constantly tired and stressed.
Once I paid off my credit card that summer, I quit.
I resumed working out. First just adding in cardio with my friend to get moving again. Spinning. Running. Elliptical. Walking my dog again.
I started getting more sleep at night.
I stopped rushing.
I had less stress after paying off my debt.
I started cooking again instead of eating bagels, chicken finger subs, cookies and chocolate milk on a daily basis. Say it with me… VEGETABLES.
Never did I start a diet or a workout plan. I just put these things back in my life that made me feel better. And in the blink of an eye I was losing weight. Guess why??
Because I focused on healthy habits. I started taking better care of myself. My body didn’t want to be over 170 pounds. It never had been and never wanted to be. But my habits that summer gave it no choice.
But when those habits changed, my body released the weight. No, I didn’t become a 5’5, 125lb ideal body like the BMI chart says. But my body knew where it wanted to be. Where it feels best and healthiest. I just had to help it. I had to do those things that are healthy and good for everybody.
See, you don’t have to go get a meal plan.
You don’t have to even get a trainer.
But you have to get consistent. You have to sleep. You have to deal with what’s dragging you down. You have to place things in effect that will help you take care of yourself the best you can.
I have never been 170 again after that summer of 2010. I also have never been 130 pounds since I became anorexic. I have a zone where my body is comfortable and healthy, providing I am consistently taking care of myself.
So when should you actually lose weight?
WHEN YOU KNOW, DEEP DOWN, YOU ARE NOT TAKING THE BEST CARE OF YOURSELF.
Are you constantly snacking on crap?
Are you sacrificing sleep?
Are you letting stress invade your life?
Are you getting walked on?
Are you hesitant to speak up for yourself?
Are you resistant to say no and too eager to say yes?
Do you have guilt?
Do you have regret?
Are you pushing exercises and movement to the bottom of your list?
Or maybe you’re even overexercising?
Do you order out everyday?
Do you skip meals?
Are you looking for a quick fix?
Are you chasing a goal weight?
Are you too restrictive?
Are you careless about YOUR needs?
Are you not putting your health first?
This all matters. It could be many things. But here is my tip to you. If you are honest with yourself and not taking the best care of yourself, I want you to pinpoint 3 things that you could improve. Then work on one at a time, for maybe a week or two, until it starts to get consistent. Maybe it’s just to replace your soda with water. Or your 3:00 candy bar with 2 dove dark chocolates. Or go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Or move for 15 minutes per day.
Resist the urge to scrap everything and start a whole new life, especially as January first approaches. Like I said, I started with moving. Then sleeping. Then cooking real meals. And I started to feel better. The better I felt, the more I wanted to keep doing it. The healthier I got. And the more my body settled into a maintainable weight and lifestyle.
If you need help with this, please reach out to me. You can come workout with us if you’re local and you can be coached by me online if not.
You don’t have to love and accept your body how it is if you aren’t even taking care of it to begin with. That’s actually doing you and your body a disservice.
It requires more than one thing, but not necessarily all at once. I know January means revamp and set new goals and resolutions, but we want to make sustainable changes. And we want to celebrate them. We want to notice them and we want to CHOOSE them not force them.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
And Remember, weight loss should be a result, not the goal.