Losing weight, getting fit, sporting a six pack, all these seem to be the new and popular catchphrases of a generation, suddenly awakened to the reality of health and fitness.
But most people have been wrongly sold the ultimate dream of weight loss in the guise of good health. In order to be healthy and fit, one need not necessarily lose weight. One might lose fat and gain lean muscle and still hover around the same weight [remember muscles are not weightless ;)]. The internet today is bombarding us with article after article proposing one or the other new fad in helping you lose weight (many times without even lifting a finger!). And it is sad to see the gullible public buying into it and making weight loss, as against good health, their number one priority.
Don’t aim for weight loss! Aspire for good health, agility and strength instead. If you choose the latter, your weight will pretty much take care of itself.
Many times the obsession over weight, leads people to do one or many of the following:
- Sudden and drastic changes to their eating routine
- Eliminating entire groups of food
- Skipping meals
- Not having a clear exercise plan
- Treating it as a short term assignment, instead of a long term lifestyle change.
The important thing that most people miss out is that:
- Fail to distinguish between dietary fat and accumulated body fat. Dietary fat is good and is actually necessary for your body to function normally. Accumulated body fat is usually the result of erratic/unhealthy eating habits and should be burned off through physical activity.
- Weight lost due to drastic diet changes usually comes back, as soon as you return to your usual eating habits.
- Losing fat and gaining muscle must be a combination of good diet coupled with adequate physical exercise (the magic pill does not exist).
- Getting fit and in better shape need not necessarily translate in to drastic reduction in one’s weight.
If one decides to embrace fitness as a long term lifestyle change, then one can maintain a healthy weight and by physically active and fit. Some of these pointers should be of help.
- Practice portion control –
- Include some for of daily physical activity –
- Do not eliminate entire groups of food (unless you’re actually allergic to something)
- Let strength training into your life. No every person who picks up a dumbbell ends up being a bodybuilder. But there are numerous benefits of indulging in moderate to heavy strength training 3-5 times a week for at least 20-30 minutes. Try it. It’s amazing.
Remember just like your body is unique and one a million, the plan that will work for you is also exactly that – One in a million. So don’t give up too soon. Make an effort to observe what works for your body. Once you start paying attention, you’ll stumble upon the perfect exercise and food habit (I really don’t like the word diet) that’ll eventually become your lifestyle.
I would be glad to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments section.