One of the most interesting classes I went to today was one I thought would be the most boring. I learned a bit about the metabolic basis of weight gain and loss from the director of the program, who seems to have read every study ever done. He made his points and covered the scientific reasoning behind weight gain and loss. A few things he said really stuck with me.
One thing that especially stuck was the fact that “eat less, move more” is a basic tenet that is true for weight loss, but it is an oversimplification. It oversimplifies the feeding process and overlooks the fact that all individuals are very different. Because we are all different there is no magic bullet for weight loss. In every magic pill that is marketed around 40 – 45 % of the people will respond to the medication. Yet how many times do we oversimplify it? We say, oh, just eat less food! Exercise more! Weight loss isn’t really that hard if you just make the choice and commit to it. Even on a purely metabolic level that isn’t always the case. It was just nice to hear this since even I am guilty of making the judgement that all is needed is more exercise of less food or both.
Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about using weight loss as the “goal.” It’s usually my goal because it is something easy to measure and something I clearly want to get rid of. I’ve talked a bit before about wanting to move past that, and really my only goal is to be as healthy as I can possibly be. I think that living a healthy lifestyle should be the goal. If weight loss is a result of that? Fantastic. More often weight loss should be the result of actions done to be healthier. But being healthy isn’t a huge selling point, is it? It’s not as sexy as losing weight to get in a bikini. When it comes down to it, being healthier might be on our list of motivators but it’s not number one. First we want to feel better, look better. (Good things, don’t get me wrong.)
If you could take a pill that makes you thin, are you really healthier? You’ve got a smaller body but a pill or other quick fix doesn’t fix the way you think, how you move your body, how you manage stress. There is no real change other than your clothes size. It might looks nice to look good in clothes for a few years, but when you stop to think how much better does it sound to be able to add years to your life or come off all your medications? Which means more? Our focus often gets so distorted because of the messages we consume each day about looking thin. It’s a shame, but I’ve been working hard to reframe my own line of thinking. I do want to lose weight, but I really, really, really am doing this to be healthy. I don’t want to continue down the path that leads to all sorts of problems and diseases. I’m working on getting that “health” motivation to trump “looks” more often in my own mind.
Not pictured: bowl of raisin bran with skim milk at breakfast.
1.5 mile walk outside, half on hilly incline
1 hour low impact step aerobics class
1 mile walk on level track
eating orange shortbread (um, who wouldn’t like that? delicious!)