Should you be trying to lose weight or not?

Should you be trying to lose weight or not?

I feel I’m going to get into a little hot water over this one. You know what, I’m here now! I might as well get this few thoughts off my mind and onto a screen. What I’ll do here is attack the main errors I see and hear when I talk to people in my gym about weight loss.

The main 3 I’ll talk about will be:

  • Focus shift from weight loss to health increase as weight decreases.
  • Choosing weight numbers that are relevant.
  • Body positivity vs body shaming.

Over time your focus should change from weight to general health. This is where going to your family doctor is a good starting place. I’m not a huge fan of the BMI scale but as a starting point it is OK. If you want to go gold label you can go to get a body impedance scan, InBody scans are a great example here and are very inexpensive to have done. Also, getting general blood work done is a good idea.

Once you have some numbers you’ll know what your focus should be. In general if you’re above about 25% body fat for males and about 30% for females then you focus can be more on fulfilling overall health and lifestyle goals. Anything to much over these numbers and you need to focus on losing weight. Above these percentages when the number on the scale comes down it is pretty clear what weight is being lost. Mostly, retained fluid and body fat. Under these numbers and things become a little less obvious.

Let’s take an example of a female that is 98kg, with some good changes to nutrition and adequate amounts of exercise you’d expect that if in 3 months she lost say 10kg you’d be pretty clear what that 10 kg represented. How about another example where a female who weighed 71kg, ate fairly clean but added in some training and 3 months later her weight didn’t change at all. What would you think? How do we explain this? It is likely that she gained lean mass and lost body fat and as person 2 is closer to what you’d call her natural weight the rate of weight loss from fat decreases.

So as the person moves closer to his or her natural body weight the amount of weight to be lost decreases so the amount of body fat shifted over time decreases. This is when the area of focus should shift from weight to broader health markers.

This is a good segway into my second area of discussion. What weight is being chosen as a target weight?

Do you have some goal or target number that is something like “this is my pre-baby weight” or “I was that weight in high school” or my personal favourite “I just like the sound of that weight as a number”. The thing is is that your body has a place it likes to be in terms of weight.

Time changes us and our bodies shift as we age. Our bone density changes, our hormone profile changes which shifts our ability to retain muscle. If you have had children much has shifted there also. What I’m getting at is choosing some arbitrary 20 year old version of you weight might not even be viable as you are most likely not even the same person anymore.

Also, are you just choosing a number cause it sounds good? “I want to be 75kg”. Why? Is there an actual reason what that number was chosen? Was it prescribed by a physical therapist? Is it off a chart? Or is it just a nice square number? Don’t just pluck a number out of a hat. It might even be doing more harm than good.

If you’re medically overweight then having a number goal for weight is correct, other than that the number you choose is highly irrelevant. Think of it like this, over the eons of time our species has been on this planet we as individuals ate good clean food, mostly plant matter and some meat and oily fish. We worked physically very hard, slept when we were supposed to and had quite a communal life with many human connections. This resulted in a persons body shape being whatever it was from those factors. There was no “weight”. If you weighed them they would obviously weigh something but not because they were trying to weigh that number.

So again, if you are medically higher risk then set small kilogram goals and start to make your moves. You might say I want to get under 25% body fat. Right now I weigh 102kg, first I want to get to 95kg in 8 weeks, then to 90kg in another 8, then to 85kg and so on.

Be careful where you have gotten a number in your head from. Unless it’s obtained by a medical professional a number you have chosen is just that, a number. You might like the sound of it but other than that it most likely means very little in the context of you and your overall health. Just do the correct things and your body will self regulate.

I’ll cut straight to the point.

I think the notion of “you’re good enough the way you” is a crock of horse shit! Why would anyone strive for anything if they believed they are “enough the way they were”? Now I also believe that people that laugh at people because they are overweight should be put in a dark cell somewhere. But this does not mean that social pressures should all of a sudden become soft.

You’re not good enough, sorry! You know what? I’m not good enough. That’s why I wake up in the morning and try and improve things a little bit each day. I want to be stronger not just strong, I want to be healthier not just healthy, I want to be a better role model for my family not just a good one. Gooder isn’t a word unfortunately haha.

If you medically need to lose weight but are not trying to because someone on Instagram has convinced you “you’re perfect just the way you are” I beg you to break free from that nonsense. Yes, your self worth is the same either way. No one worth anything is debating that. But if you need to lose some weight to help save your life then forget those Instagram happy snaps and get after it!

Don’t buy into the social media motivational BS too much. A little is OK but not too much!

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