Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It Shouldn't Be About the Weight

Georgetown personal trainer 

I know this is semantics but I feel it should be understood.  Now is the typical time of year when people resolve to "lose weight".  Why I don't like this goal is it can be frustrating for people if that is the only measure they use to determine their success.  I believe better measurements for people to monitor would be body composition and health status changes.

Many people will be embarking on an exercise program this time of year.  They are going to get serious about consistently doing some sort of activity they deem to be exercise.  This is great and I hope they stick to it.  One of the positive results of this usually dramatic change in their life may be that it shocks their body into adding muscle mass to accommodate this new physical activity.  Over several months it may result in a few pounds of additional muscle which by rational thinking would be great.  This will be counter to one's goal of losing weight but should not be viewed as a negative.  Also, if the diet is changed to a lower carb content than what they are used to they will be consuming more protein and fat than they had before.  This also will help you put on muscle mass.  Putting on muscle is great but it will definitely confuse your scale into thinking you aren't losing weight or are not losing as much as you think you should.  The Bodpod device is an affordable and accurate way to measure body composition.  Find a Bodpod location and see what your actual body fat and lean tissue percentages are.  Measure again in 6 months to judge your progress.   This will give you a more clear picture of the changes going on..

Another possible side effect of this quest to lose weight is an overall improvement in health.  This shouldn't be just an afterthought but a primary goal of anyone who is chronically sick and/or taking prescribed medicine on a consistent basis.  If the diet is cleaned up and the exercise is happening, you will see health improvements.  This should be celebrated regardless of weight loss.  Typically you need to be healthy before you can look great.  Although that isn't always the case.  

As people embark on this journey to "lose weight" they should rethink what they are really trying to accomplish.  If they lost 20 pounds but still had the same body fat percentage and felt like crap, should they be happy?  Goal attained?  This weight loss goal is so redundant and generally unsuccessful, maybe it's time to try something new.  Just get healthy and look better.



Sean Holt said...

Great post! In looking back at my "headline" of my blog, I put that I started the blog to track my "weight loss goals". Even though I state in my posts that tracking my weight on the scale isn't my focus, but rather that I want to get healthy again.

I may have to revise it now.

Sean H.

Chuck said...

ya sean, absolute changes in weight or lack there of do not tell the whole story.

Kristy Lynn said...

i'm with you! numbers (weight) is a terrible way to evaluate over-all health. Mussle weighs more than fat, and you can be thin but over-nourished or fat and under-nourished, depending how your body holds things...

there's really no secret to feeling "good" & i think we need to re-evaluate the "healthicization" of our culture.

Eat real food. Love well. Move your body more than you watch tv.