We’ve been led to believe that we all need to exercise more and eat less to be healthy. But what if you exercise every day and eat hardly anything and you’re still overweight, or worse, gaining more weight?
Mainstream media tells us how ‘healthy’ is a certain look and if you don’t look like that, well, you’re either not working hard enough or you need to buy the product that they’re selling.
For so long, my focus was about losing weight to be healthy, but really, that’s backwards, if you’re healthy, your weight will stabilise where it’s meant to. Shifting to this approach makes much more sense to me.
What I’ve realised and what I want to help people understand that ‘fit and healthy’ is a very individual thing. If you really, really want to run an ultramarathon, that’s great, and ‘fit and healthy’ is going to involve some amount of running. On the other hand if you want to get through your workday with some energy to spare so you can spend it with your family, ‘fit and healthy’ is going to look quite different and the things I’m going to ask you to do will also be quite different.
Over the years I’ve had clients set goals. Because, well, goals are important, everyone always asks, ‘What are you training for?’ ‘What’s your next event?’ ‘How much weight do you want to lose?’ But really, often it’s not about the stated goal – it can be about what happens afterwards, for example, are we going to revert back to ‘normal’? In which case, nothing really changed. And if that’s the goal, well, that’s OK, but if we’re looking for some kind of lifestyle change, then the goal will need to reflect that you’re looking for a new ‘normal’ and not going back to the way things were.
Or maybe you thought training for and running a half marathon, aside from being an admirable goal, was going to help you lose weight, but really, you put on 5kg in the process, you hate running and you’re 5kg further away from where you want to be. So consider the reasons behind those goals.
Your goal weight may turn out to not be the goal weight after all, as you lose fat and gain muscle sometimes you end up at exactly the same weight but looking completely different – maybe being hung up on a number you’re trying to get to is getting in the way of your actual goal.
Sometimes your idea of ‘fit and healthy’ needs close examination and you may decide that your long held beliefs need to be turned on its head. For me, that was the idea that losing weight doesn’t always equal healthy, that healthy is not only physical it’s also emotional, mental and spiritual.
So what I’ve learnt is this:
There is literally no one size fits all, the approach I use with one client may not work with the next given their individual circumstances. These days because of the ease access to information, you can find the 5 best ab exercises in a magazine, or take a 30day squat challenge online and anyone who’s lost significant amounts of weight following a certain system can hold themselves out as an example or an inspiration for the world in a blog but that doesn’t mean that’s what everyone should be doing.