We are infatuated by weight, how much we weigh, how much we need to lose, what is the ideal weight for me?
I have worked the health and fitness industry for a long time and the most common reason clients come to me Is for weight loss. now i'm not saying there is really anything wrong with this especially if someone does clearly have a substantial amount to lose but should it be the primary focus and marker for health?
I am going to tell you a story that happened with a client just last week (You know who you are). Their main goal is to shift some stubborn weight that just hasn't budged for a long time, they started the Primal journey about 5 weeks ago and have been moving in the right direction until now! Thats right the dreaded weight loss plateau, in fact a massive 1lb gain!The disappointment was clear, after a full five weeks it just was not working anymore. So we asked a few questions.
"How have you been feeling?" "I haven't felt this good in years"
"How's your energy?" "Really good, not feeling tired and getting through the day no problem"
"What about the food?" "Loving it"
"How are you felling about yourself?" "I'm feeling slimmer and my clothes fit more comfortably"
"So is the extra pound really that important?" A look of realisation "No I suppose not!"
This brief discussion really highlights that there is much more to this than just weight loss, the weight loss is really just a bonus the other benefits are much more important.
So why are we so weight conscious?
I think there are three main drivers into our obsession with weight.
1 - The media. We get bombarded from all sides by the latest craze that a celebrity has gone on to shift the extra pounds in the pursuit of the perfect body. Slim girls in size 6 jeans, men with six pack abs all paraded in front of our eyes as the perfect look, the slender and ultimately light bodies.
Headlines like "How did they lose the weight" or "The best new weight loss diet" all about weight and never about the health implication. Plus you're never told that these models don't always look that way, they have 6 - 12 week to prepare to look the best they can for the photo shoot and then there is the editing, The "look" is not sustainable to that degree for most people long term.
2 - The NHS and other government led health services. Let's start this part by saying that doctors nurses etc are all amazing people, they fix us when we break and care for us when we need it, but many are not great at the prevention side of things and particularly weight control.
Much of this comes down to a lack of nutritional education, and the education they do receive is based on outdated a flawed research into what we should be eating. Underpin this with the BMI scale (Body mass index) and we are in trouble.
If you haven't heard of BMI it is a way of monitoring your "Optimal" weight for your height using the formula of your - Weight in KGS divided by your Height in meters squared. This will give you a numerical figure if it's over 25 you are classed as overweight, over 30 you are obese.
Here's the problem, this formula doesn't take into account, age, sex, muscle density, bone density or any other marker than weight and height. My own BMI comes out at just over 27 putting me in the overweight category, the NHS would recommended I lose 17 pounds in weight to get into a more healthy range. Those that know me probably agree that this is utter nonsense.
3 - Finally the diet clubs and meal replacement plans. Weight watchers, slimmers world, slim fast etc all promote themselves as weight loss clubs/ products. Lose so much in 3 weeks, its never improve your health markers, increase energy and live your life. It's alway the weight and although some of these methods work for some, most end up putting the weight back on in due course.
What I hope to have got across here is that weight really isn't the most important reason for changing your lifestyle, If you are feeling better, performing better, reducing medications, fitting into a smaller dress size it really does not matter how much you weigh. You could be the same on the scales and look totally different, so what is really important to you?