Weight loss is an important goal for many people’s overall health. However, implicit in many weight-loss goals is a self-defeating trap that can lead to further health problems. The reason for this is most weight-loss goals are a certain amount of weight within a short period of time. I have listed some of the common weight-loss goals that I see below, and the ugly truth that is hidden within them.
- New Year’s resolution weight loss: “I’m going to make a resolution to really lose weight this year”. The ugly truth: this is probably the worst time of the year to try and lose weight. Putting on extra weight after the holidays is part of the impetus, but our bodies also tend to hold onto weight more during the winter. Unless you are really into winter sports, exercising at this time may also be difficult. Bottom line: after slugging it out for a couple weeks the strong tendency is to go back to the same lifestyle that put on the weight.
- Summer bathing suit weight loss: “I have to get in shape so I can look good in a bathing suit”. The ugly truth: this resolution is usually made a few weeks to a month before the summer season hits and the reality is that if you are able to lose enough weight in that short of a period of time, you are most likely the kind of person that only needs a little exercise to drop 10-20 pounds. For everyone else, failure and frustration are likely to push this goal aside rather than encourage us to keep up the effort for next year.
- Event weight loss: “ I have a [reunion, wedding or other major event] coming up and I want to fit into my old [suit or dress]”. The ugly truth: like the summer bathing suit this is usually planned for too late and only ends up in frustration.
In fact, all of these weight loss goals are traps because they encourage short-term weight loss followed by regaining of the weight and usually a little bit more. Rapid weight loss, unless accompanied by significant and lasting lifestyle changes, will be quickly followed by rapid weight gain. That is why I find weight loss to be an unhealthy goal.
So, what is healthy? Long-term changes in body composition, in other words; staying fit. If you look at all the weight loss goals above, they don’t really encourage staying fit. What do you do after you make your weight loss goal, even if you are successful? Your forget about the goal, because it’s done. Then, it’s right back to life that put the weight on. A much better goal is to make lifestyle changes that melt the weight away over time. This is not a “loss” in any way but rather a change for the better.
Let me know what you think and what your experiences are? Don’t agree? I’d love to have an opposing point of view. Here’s to everyone’s better health, salute!