My social media feeds have been bombarded with an infectious trend. I can’t seem to escape it and at times, I also participate. The urge comes upon me suddenly when I finish a good workout, prepare a lean meal, or fix myself a green smoothie. #teamfit sits underneath the photo as I proudly show everyone my contribution to my fit lifestyle. Posts like mine are one in a million and they can be a source of inspiration and education for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. Yet lurking somewhere beneath the surface, hidden behind the megapixels, lies something far more disturbing.
I think we’re becoming a little too focused on weight.
We’re obsessed with it.
I can’t even estimate the number of scale shots, tape measures, and before and after pictures I’ve seen but it’s enough to know that something is taking over. Now before readers think I encourage obesity and want everyone to live fat-pily ever after, let me clear some things up. First is that I’ve struggled with “weight” my entire preteen to adult life. I smuggled diet pills out of drug stores, ordered diet patches from infomercials, and starved myself all before high school. It didn’t work and I gained every pound lost back. If anyone needs to figure out how to treat their body like a dump, just ask me about my eating habits from age 12-22. I guess you could say I’m an expert on how NOT to lose weight in a healthy way. I am well read and well versed on the effects of obesity and am well aware that as a nation, we must do better at feeding ourselves the right kinds of foods.
But why are we so focused on weight? We make judgement calls on strangers based on their clothing size and give our slimmer neighbors a pass. Fact: It is possible for a person to be overweight and completely healthy. It’s possible for someone to have a diet consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables, to do moderate cardio 5 times a week, and still have a few extra pounds. Yet somehow a slim person who smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish would largely be viewed as healthy simply because of their weight.
In an image obsessed world, we have to focus on health, not weight. As someone who’s been on both sides of the dreaded 200 lb mark: if you’re obsessed with reaching a number on a scale, the joy of reaching that goal will be short-lived. Once you get there, you won’t be satisfied because it was never about the number but the image you had in your head of what that number would look and feel like.
If you’re genetically predisposed to diabetes and heart disease like me, you should know there are a few preventative measures you can take that don’t have much to do with weight.
One: Enter sugar rehab. Sugar is addictive and high doses of it (which is found in everything from bread to your favorite Naked juice) wreaks havoc on your pancreas. Choose flavors besides sugar. High sugar intake spikes your insulin levels. Insulin= fat storing hormone secreted from pancreas, the home of diabetes.
Two: Eat clean. Here’s a video that breaks it down far better than I can. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzgd923-Yxw
Three: Move! Walking, running, dancing, swimming, hula hooping, etc. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s vigorous and you’re doing it for 30 min/day, 4 days/week.
Weight is almost always a byproduct of what’s going on internally, much like hair and skin. Assuming you don’t have a thyroid condition or metabolic damage, being extremely overweight has to do with a disruption of mental, emotional, and physical harmony. Focus on the mental and emotional first. Then worry about the weight.
Stay tuned for Part 2.