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It’s What’s Inside That Counts!

Heart
Photo by Patrick J. Lynch via Flickr

You read that headline correctly.  I said it’s what’s inside that counts.  Now I know you’re all thinking I’m talking about beauty.  I’m not.  I’m talking about health.  People spend a lot of time trying to look better, but not necessarily to be healthier.  Let me make an example.  Most people agree that if you are overweight, losing some pounds will help you to be healthier.  When people talk about losing weight though, they’re usually motivated by improving their looks.  Mixed in with those nods I’m seeing, I see some skeptical looks from people who don’t believe me.  Let me give an example.

Beauty is not synonymous with health
Tiffany is 125 lbs overweight.  She says that she wants to be healthier.  So, she says she wants to lose weight.  Tiffany decides that the best way to do this is to take lots of diet pills and only eat on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  She also decides that she is too busy to exercise at all.  Does she lose weight?  Yes, she does.  In fact, she manages to lose a lot.  In the process, she could also become anemic, start losing her hair, start developing heart problems related to the pills and lose muscle mass, further contributing to future osteoporosis.

Now I hear people saying that she needed to lose the weight.  I agree, but I think she went about it in a way that showed that she was more motivated by looks than health.  If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t sacrifice her health to lose the weight.  I can come up with many ways to lose weight.  Just because they are effective, doesn’t mean they are appropriate.  Let me give an extreme example.  If you just look at weight loss as “the” measure of success, she could just cut off her legs.   That would bring her close to her weight goal.  Anyone who did that though, would have to be insane!

Don’t sacrifice your health
The important thing to do is to find a weight loss program that supports your health goals.  Don’t sacrifice your health to lose weight.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Reduce calories, but don’t starve yourself. This drastic measure is proven to be ineffectual for weight loss.  After a while the pounds creep back and often even more than before.
  2. Replace unhealthy foods with healthier foods. For example, eat more broccoli and less potato chips.  If you need some tips, read some of my other blog posts.
  3. Stay away from weight loss pills unless prescribed by a doctor. There is no evidence that that they can promote long term weight loss by themselves and some of them can result in heart issues or other medical complications.
  4. Increase your activity. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, walk more every day or walk up stairs instead of using escalators and elevators.
  5. Build muscle. Muscle helps to burn more fat, even when you’re not exercising.  It also helps to prevent osteoporosis.
  6. Be consistent with your plan. If you’re inconsistent, you’ll be ineffective.
  7. Don’t cheat regularly. If you need a treat occasionally, make it a small one and have a set time that you can have it.  For example, maybe you have a piece of chocolate on Friday nights.  Don’t keep adding in more treats.  Stick to your plan.
  8. Recognize your achievements. Celebrate them, but not with food.  See how much better you look in your clothes.  Feel how much lighter your step is and how much easier it is to climb those stairs.  Don’t minimize your successes.
  9. Don’t try to lose the weight all at once. Your weight should drop consistently, but not rapidly. Losing weight too quickly puts strain on the body. 1-2 pounds a week is the most you should be shooting for.  If you’re not very overweight, the weight should come off even slower.

If you lose weight slowly, don’t despair.  If you’re exercising, building muscle, eating healthier, and getting some cardiovascular activity, you’re getting healthier.  You’ll have a reduced chance of heart disease, osteoporosis and other diseases.  And remember, if you were gaining weight before, losing weight slowly now is already a huge improvement.  It’s what’s inside that counts!  That’s a healthy heart and body.

Comments (3)

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  1. Rosy says:

    Excellent post , Talli! Great sound advise. Good job!!!

  2. JL Coburn says:

    Definitely great advise as usual. Also, thanks for the comment and do feel free to use the rare healthy article I post.

  3. Mark says:

    Always good Talli!

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