Why I Think We Should Throw Out the “Lose Weight” Resolution
I know we haven’t made it out of the holidays yet, but who is thinking about New Years’ Resolutions? Is “Lose Weight” on your list of things to do in 2014? If so, please, please read on and let me convince you to scratch that resolution off your list for good.
If you don’t have “lose weight” on your resolution list, high five to you, and you probably won’t be interested in the contents of this post!
I had an epiphany the other day. I was going over the year in my head, as I’m prone to do in mid-December.
2013 was a hard year around the TKT household. We had some major injuries – and quite a few trips to the ER as a result, sadly – and some other non-health related setbacks.
It won’t go down in history as my favorite year ever, but it requires mulling over, nonetheless. Every experience provides a learning opportunity, and 2013 has schooled us big time and we are welcoming 2014 with open arms!
I do a personal performance review pretty much every year, where I think about the year in the past and also the year upcoming:
- What do I want to accomplish next year?
- Where do I want to take my life?
- What are things I’m doing now that don’t bring me joy, that I need to stop doing, or perhaps do differently? And conversely, what am I doing right now that I love and want to do more of, or improve upon?
- How can I help other people more, or do a better job of helping more people?
I don’t have all the answers – I don’t even have most of the answers – but I realized what I do have is a podium to reach a good amount of people. So, how can I use that podium to help people more, or better yet, help more people? And, what was this epiphany I mentioned earlier?
The big thing I realized in doing my yearly audit is that I have built a reasonable depth of knowledge about what it’s like to take a Standard American Diet and change small things, little by little, over the course of several years, to develop a Stellar American Diet. Or at least, a stellar diet for me.
Did I make these changes to my diet under the guise of losing weight? Originally, yes.
I am no different than most people – I want to look good. I want defined abs, visible “guns,” and buns of steel, no doubt! I started my health journey in search of those irrelevant attributes, but along the way, I realized what is more important is a body that is going to last for decades to come and treat me well because I treated it well.
Truth is, looking good is dependent on feeling good, and feeling good is a direct result of the fuel that goes into your body. And when you feel good, you want to help other people feel good. It’s a domino effect of epic proportions. This information is what I feel so compelled to share and will try to focus on sharing even better in 2014, starting now.
Forget “Losing Weight” — Getting Healthy is Where It’s At
I’m guessing if we did a poll, 9 out of 10 people in America would say “Lose Weight” is their top resolution, if not their only resolution for 2014. And, while I’m guessing, I bet that those people would say this has been a resolution of theirs for many years over.
Now, I am not against losing weight. No, not at all. In fact, I am all for it! However, how does losing 10, 20, or 50 pounds enrich your life and make you a better person? I’d argue that it doesn’t. It makes you obsessive about a number on a scale, and probably grumpy from feeling deprived.
What does, however, enrich your life and make you a better person is “Getting Healthy.”
There is a big difference between changing habits to get healthy over just simply losing weight. Getting healthy can definitely result in weight loss, and it can also cause a mind/body/spirit awakening that is unachievable otherwise.
Losing weight can be accomplished any number of ways, and so much of the time, is not done via healthy ways. Ask anyone you know how they have lost weight in the past, and you’re likely to hear stories of restrictive and/or disordered eating, excessive exercise, dangerous pills or simply borderline starvation. This is especially true for women, who often develop guilt issues with food and think they should always be hungry for fear of gaining weight.
None of this is healthy. Or sustainable.
So, this year, if you fall into the “I really want to lose some weight” category, I challenge you to look at it differently. What if you come at it from a different perspective altogether? What if your New Years’ Resolution is to simply “Get Healthier” and you write a roadmap that will work for you, within your life and schedule, and write down some achievable milestones along the way? (The milestones are critical, by the way).
I promise you, PROMISE YOU, that if you take steps to get healthier, starting with the quality of food you consume, the weight loss will naturally follow. I can promise you this because I have been down the road before myself. Once I shifted my views from a weight focus to a health focus, I lost the little bit of extra weight I’d been carrying around, and have maintained an even, healthy weight with pretty much zero effort for three years now.
It’s a funny thing. Our bodies like equilibrium. If we put the right foods in, our bodies naturally adjust to a healthy weight for us as a thank you gift for making them work less hard than they ever have before.
And here is the kicker, the more you crowd out the bad things with good things, the less you want the bad things. In fact, you get to a point where you don’t want the “bad” things at all because they make you feel…bad. And not in a “guilt” way, but in a physical, “wow, I don’t feel good” sort of way.
“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”
So what should you do if you want to lose weight?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight if you truly have weight to lose. But, I suggest shifting your mindset to “I want to get healthy” and putting weight on the backburner for a while. Not forever – just for a while. Free your mind from even knowing your weight, and start making your decisions based on health. I have three ideas to get you started.
Set a baseline. Go get your blood tested and find out about all your vital markers so you know where you’re starting and can be accountable to something aside from a number on a scale. Is your cholesterol high? How is your fasting blood sugar? What about your thyroid function? This is important because you’ll get a snapshot of your health in a way that your scale cannot offer.
After 3-6 months, go get re-tested and see how you’ve improved. If you don’t want to go to the doctor, there are several online services like WellnessFX that can do this test where you just go to a local lab for the blood draw. I just had blood drawn at a lab via Wellness FX ($49) and will post the results when I have them – putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak!
Weigh yourself once, if you must, on January 1, and then put the scale away for at least a month. Don’t look at it at all. Maybe take some measurements as well: Thighs, hips, bust – whatever areas you want to track. And then, don’t measure again for at least a month.
Do some research. There is no shortage of books with ideas on how to get healthy, and some of my favorites are: Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels, Revive by Dr. Frank Lipman, and, though it has weight loss in the title, The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Dr. Neil Bernard.
These are not “diet” books in the traditional sense. They share is an emphasis on health, not crazy fads or ways to drop weight fast. They teach you how to eat for health. The last two are vegan-slanted yes, but if you are a meat eater, you’ll find lots of ideas in the first one.
If books aren’t your thing, there are also so many wonderful blogs out there spreading the good health word that a simple web search will find for you, and a great one to check out is Summer Tomato. I like to read a variety of sources and make decisions based on what resonates with me – not everything does – but it is good to understand a variety of perspectives.
Start to make little changes to your diet because you want to and because it will make you healthier, not because you need to meet a daily calorie goal that some online calculator told you to meet.
Eat real food. Everyone has room to add more fruits and veggies into their days. Everyone. Try starting your day with a green smoothie (I have several recipes here on the blog and in my book) or swapping your lunch for a big salad.
By putting more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you will inevitably crowd out other, unhealthier choices. Think about food before you eat it, and try to eat things in their most natural state with ingredients your body will recognize as food. Before long, you will crave that green smoothie in the morning!
Your Weight Does Not Define You
I hope I have made a compelling argument to shift your thinking about pounds, kilos, or stones when it comes to your life and your body.
Your weight does not define who you are as a person, nor is it a true indicator of your health or potential happiness. And, I hope I have given at least one good idea you can take with you to make 2014 the year to “Get Healthy.”
One thing to remember is that one person’s health blueprint will differ from the next. Finding your optimal diet and lifestyle takes a bit of active participation, but it is so worth it in the end.
So are you with me?
If you were thinking of making 2014 the year to lose weight, have you considered changing your approach and making 2014 the year to get healthy?
Note: I am not a doctor and no advice presented in this blog should be considered medical advice.