Further to yesterday’s entry about weight loss and body image issues with young people. This really applies to EVERYONE but I think young people in particular can be more prone to taking extreme courses of action rather than a more sensible middle of the road sort of approach. But with that being said, I’ve lost count of the number of fully grown intelligent adults who I’ve seen opt for illogical, unhealthy approaches to weight loss… all of them without any success I should add.
I like to talk more in terms of “weight management” than weight loss. “Weight loss” implies to me something like “I’m going to try lose 5kg by any means necessary, and then I’m finished and just go back to normal”. Which is quite pointless really, as “back to normal” means “back to my current weight” and usually a few kg on top of that. Weight management on the other hand says you’re going to get to your target weight (anywhere in the healthy range for your height) and STAY THERE.
So here’s an article I wrote up a while back, and apparently forgot to post up! It’s a good one though so keep reading.
A healthy approach is crucial.
I have to spell this part out to make sure no one gets the wrong idea. Our goal is to be HEALTHY and HAPPY – I’m going to keep saying that over and over again until you get it! In the process we’ll be building a more attractive body as well, but it is critically important to understand that these three factors (healthy, happy, attractive) are inseparable. If you’re not healthy, it’s harder to be happy. If you’re neither happy or healthy, you’re not going to feel very attractive either.
For this reason we MUST use a healthy approach through balanced nutrition and appropriate exercise. I’ll go into details later about how you can actually eat pretty much whatever you want (with some conditions) and still achieve your goal, and similarly you can choose the exercise strategy that you will find most enjoyable (or least objectionable if you’re a pessimist!).
So while I’ll be spelling out exactly what you should be doing to reach your fitness / body composition goals, resist the temptation to find more drastic or extreme alternatives or variations on the strategies that I give you. Ask yourself first, “does this REALLY seem like something that’s going to make me healthier and happier?”. If the answer is “probably not”, don’t bloody do it! Simple!
You can’t run a race car on lawnmower fuel. Your body functions best under certain conditions, so going outside of these conditions by under eating or over training is going to screw things up and slow (or completely halt) your progress.
REMEMBER at all times: only a healthy approach can have a healthy outcome!
All good things take time, and life is a journey that you’re supposed to enjoy. Training and body transformation is no different. Of course, actually following a GOOD exercise program and putting in your best effort is going to speed things up nicely. As will dialling in your nutrition and making sure you are getting the right amount (not too much, not to little) of calories most days. As I’ve explained elsewhere, getting out of shape and becoming overweight is usually a gradual process that sneaks up on you after an extended period of being a bit too inactive and taking in a few extra calories. While we would hope to take the weight off more quickly than we put it on, it still takes time so don’t expect a miracle within the first 2 or 3 days. Besides, what we’re talking about here is learning appropriate habits to maintain a healthy weight range and attractive physique FOR LIFE, not just a short term yo-yo diet.
Do not trade one set of problems for another.
I’m treading on dangerous ground with the suggestion that people would be happier if they were in better shape, because apparently that’s the sort of talk that encourages eating disorders amongst young people or something. Listen, just because you’re young doesn’t (necessarily) mean you are stupid. Do you really think people with eating disorders are likely to be happy? They’re miserable, and everything they’re doing makes them even more miserable.
You have to ask yourself at this point, do you actually want to be healthy and happy, or do you just want to create a whole new set of (much, much worse) problems to destroy your life with?
There is absolutely no point in going from being unhappy because you are overweight or out of shape, to being even more unhappy because you are quite literally starving yourself to death. There are enough problems in life already without deliberately creating more for yourself, especially when I am giving you everything you need to actually be successful and also enjoy the process.
All of my programs are designed to be enjoyable, and easy to stick to, with the ultimate goal of achieving a happier, healthier and more successful life. Making things more difficult and less enjoyable will NOT bring faster results. Quite the opposite in fact.