Cheers to Health: Is losing weight the optimal goal of great health?
When I work individually with nutrition clients, I always ask them to think about the following:
- Why are you interested in working with a nutritionist and making dietary changes?
- What are your specific health goals?
- What is your relationship with food like?
I invite you to ask yourself these questions now, and write down your answers, before reading further.
I would now like to share with you one of the most common answers I receive to these questions. For many people, their number one reason for working with a nutritionist and making dietary changes is weight loss, their health goals focus around losing weight, and their relationship with food includes feelings of guilt, frustration, and anxiety surrounding their weight.
Weight loss has been highlighted so much by personal trainers, doctors, and dieticians as a way to get healthy, and is constantly being promoted through television commercials and online ads. Weight itself has become the number one indicator of health in many people’s eyes. We often get the message that if you are thin you must be healthy and if you are not you must be unhealthy. The truth is, obesity itself is not a disease. Obesity is one of many symptoms that may or may not be present in an individual who is sick. There is such a thing as “skinny-fat”; being thin on the outside, but fat on the inside and it is absolutely possible to be very unhealthy yet have a normal weight. When we are constantly being told that weight is so important, we forget the real, fundamental reasons for eating healthy, and the many other health benefits get overlooked.
My goal in sharing this information with people is to begin to change their perspective on why they are making dietary changes. Weight loss is an amazing and feel good side effect of the dietary changes I provide (for those who have weight to lose), but the main goal I remind people of is overall health in itself. Health comes in many forms. It means waking up feeling rejuvenated, without aches and pains. It means having the energy to fully enjoy the day and the people around you. It means having the mental clarity and alertness to be productive. It means feeling your best physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Enjoying good health leaves you with fewer distractions and more choices. Feeling great is a pinnacle state of being. Great health is your vehicle to that feeling!
I ask you now to revisit your answers to the questions posed earlier. I would like you to think about any other goals that are important to you that you may have missed initially. Be specific, and remember, the weight loss will happen (for those who have weight to lose), but more importantly, you will experience the benefits of good health that are often overlooked. Once this begins to happen many people forget about the weight because they are so excited about how they are feeling, how their clothes fit differently, and how their relationship with food is changing.
Weight is only one surface indicator of health. If you are interested in tracking the deeper, substantial health benefits that come along with a healthy diet, including changes in blood sugar, lipids/cholesterol, blood pressure, and the possibility of getting off pharmaceutical drugs, consider setting aside time to talk to your doctor and get the necessary blood tests performed to see a before and after profile.
If you would like to share your reasons for following the 5 Seasons Diet we would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tristan Faville, MScN