Friday, April 27, 2012

Scale Addiction

Weight loss. Two words feared in the female language. From the day they are born, females hear their mom’s, aunts, sisters, friends, neighbors and Barbie on TV talking about it. They learn that the term weight loss to a woman is synonymous to ‘libido’ is to a man. So why? For the past 40 years, Americans have been taught to focus on a silly little dial with numbers (or an LED screen). And that these numbers define their self- worth, their progress, their true inner core of being a woman. The more weight you lose…the better you are doing. The less you lose…you are lazy, or worse, just destined to be overweight. Marketers have learned this is the main selling point in peddling their products. “Lose 10lbs in 10 days on the _______________(fill in the blank) new overnight miracle cure” What’s interesting about this whole concept in weight loss is that America and the UK are the only countries who really focus on weight loss. Don’t believe me? Try buying a ‘weight loss’ scale in Japan, Norway or Columbia. This concept of ‘weight loss’ is foreign (pun intended). So where did the whole ‘weight loss’ thing begin? No one is sure but it’s my belief that it begun around 1950-1960 when doctors began setting up offices where they would measure their customers height and weight. Then once a year, the client would come in and the customer’s weight was taken again. Naturally,if they lost weight, their health had improved. If they gained weight, their health likely suffered. So when the doctors began seeing this correlation, they realized that losing weight was healthy and gaining weight was not. With the influx of media channels (TV, radio, print), saavy marketing companies began using this whole weight loss correlation as a way to market good health. Today, it’s marketed as get happy, feel sexy, regain your confidence or turn his head again. So what’s the rub with ‘weight loss’? Well….we believe that weight loss as a long term indicator is a great measurement of progress. Weighing yourself once a month or every two months helps keep you accountable. Scale addiction… Most people we deal with have become addicted to the scale. They get up at 8am, weigh themselves. They go and pee…they weigh. They eat, they weigh. They workout, they weigh. They pee again, they weigh. By the end of the 3rd day of their new miracle cure diet, they have weighed themselves 50 times and they finally give up out of frustration. They’re amazed that their friend Betty lost 10lbs in 1 day on this diet so therefore they believe the problem lies with them. On a short term basis, weight loss is deceiving and ultimately defeating. It’s a worthless tool that will drive you crazy. My simple recommendation, don’t do it. I believe in focusing on routines. These routines become habit. Habit becomes lifestyle change. Then, and only then, does healthy weight loss occur. What’s great about this philosophy is that when you stop focusing on a number, you actually begin focusing on the core of the problem. Your habits. The mental agony of weight loss is when you don’t see the ‘number’ (results) you are promised or hope for, you then begin blaming yourself (or cursing God…or your husband J). You then begin believing that you were just meant to be overweight. You then give up. Here’s the main key you must learn about this whole crazy weight loss thing. Eat the right food and your body burns body fat as fuel. Eat the wrong food and your body creates body fat after it uses some of this ‘wrong food’ as fuel. When your body burns body fat, you experience ‘weight loss’ . It takes your body several days to burn body fat. Some people burn fat faster than others. The simplistic theory that 3500 calories = 1lb of fat simply does not hold true. Thus, you must stop believing you will lose 50lbs in 2 months. Good health and weight loss take time. The great news: You can begin changing your habits immediately. Okay then, what do I do now? So if I discourage weight loss as a measurement what do I recommend you use to monitor your progress so that you do not waste more of your precious time or energy going down another useless diet/fitness/weight loss path? (*I wish I had a cute acronym like ‘S.E.X.Y’ or ‘R.I.P.P.E.D’ to add some ‘umph’ to my summary below but I do not). a. First Understand & Accept – you must understand and accept that health and fitness takes time. You will begin ‘feeling’ the results within a matter of days. You will experience sugar withdrawals. When you cut out simple starches, sugar, fructose from your diet, your body will react. This is a sign that your body is shifting it’s ‘fuel source’ from the wrong foods to your stored body fat b. Patience – ignore the noise. Learning to ignore the noise around you and in your head is 99% of the battle. You must remind yourself you are changing your life and not worrying about weights or dates. Remind yourself that patience is what you must focus on to learn health. c. Size Reduction – your clothes, bra strap, jewelry, etc will get looser. This is the outward noticeable sign. Don’t expect to get in a size 2 before your high school reunion. Just know you will reduce SEVERAL sizes over the next 12 months. (one of our 1,700 trainers told me a great illustration he uses for his clients regarding weight loss vs. size reduction, it goes something like this…”Imagine you weigh 180lbs and wear a size 14. Then tomorrow, we get in a rocket ship and go to the moon. On the moon, you would weigh only 30lbs…however you are still in a size 14. The lesson…focus on size reduction. It’s the true barometer of how you are doing!) I tell a lot of clients if they want to lose weight fast, simply stop eating and walk 3 hours a day (of course I am not serious). They will lose weight but when they begin eating again, the fat fairy will come back with a vengeance along with her 2 cousins ‘Cellulite and Panty Lines’. You must stop focusing on the numbers of a dial. You must address the core of the problem… eating habits. Not less, not starvation. But simply the wrong foods So…what are your eating habits?

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