Which do you think is harder?
Do you believe it would be harder to be thin, gain weight, and then have to lose weight? Or, do you believe it is harder to be overweight most, if not all of your life, and have to make changes to lose weight? Which one do you believe would have more negative impacts on the individual’s self esteem? Being overweight most or all of your current lifespan may entail having been bullied growing up, shamed at the gym as an adult, etc. Being thin, and knowing other’s envy your physique, then gaining weight for any reason, may be more difficult to handle.
So, how do we combat the mental aspect of extra weight? Well, first of all, we must take time to consciously focus on our eating habits. Do we go for healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits while minimizing carbs? Do we eat when we are emotionally distraught for comfort? Do we just grab the fastest and most convenient food due to fatigue from work and an unhealthy lifestyle? Have we started gaining weight due to a job that requires us to sit for extended periods of time? As you can see, there are many reasons to examine.
So, if focus with intention on what we eat, then we can begin to develop a plan to eat more foods that are better for us. Habits, as we have discussed before can take time, and there is no magical number for how little or how much time a new habit can take to form. Some are easy and some are not so easy. A habit that becomes ingrained and automatic in our daily routine is much more difficult to change or break completely. So, here is where our mindful practices assist us in making positive changes that create more health and well-being.
Working out is something that always seemed easy for me as I saw the overweight adults around me and decided very early on in my life I did not want to end up that way. There was an innate sense in me that knew I had to watch my diet and move often to avoid this trap. Now, at a younger age, we don’t delve deeper into weight issues as we are not mature enough to have that problem solving capacity until we get older (our teen years are typically the starting point for more deductive reasoning development). So, how then can we sense at a younger age, we need to eat less, move more and make smarter food choices?
Well, typically as children, we love to move. We love playing different types of games with our friends, or riding our bikes, etc. We don’t usually think about the fuel we take in to sustain the high energy levels we have as children. Sometimes, when we go to a friends home and we see how different their dietary practices are than the ones in our own homes, we begin to question why our families look different. If we are lucky, our friends tend to eat more fruits and vegetables as children. As we grow into young teens, we want to stay trim so that others find us attractive. Now this image is also fueled by a constant barrage of advertisements showing us happy people are thin, dress fancy and have flawless grooming habits.
The bottom line for all of us, and yes that includes me as a certified personal trainer and behavioral change specialist, is that we have to remember sometimes other unseen issues may influence our physical appearance. We have choices. Replacement hormone therapy is often offered to women who are starting menopause. Research indicates that replacement hormone therapy also increases the risk of breast cancer, which many women may not be aware of. I don’t want to trade a thinner body for potential breast cancer and the associated treatments. Naturopathic supplements are available, but many of us do not take the time and/or do not have the time to research natural supplements.
Today, I was not feeling exceptionally motivated to hit the gym, but once I went to the gym, I ended up doing a moderately strenuous weight workout followed by a cardio session. The days you least feel motivated to go to the gym can turn into some of the best workouts you have. I continue to research weight loss methods for women over 50 and the common theme I see is make sure you include weight training in your workouts. Why???? Because muscle tissue is metabolically more active than fat tissue and when you add weights to cardio, your body will typically continue burning calories for a period of time well after your physical workout has ended.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I hope you remain vigilant, you continue to practice safe habits such as frequent hand washing, masks, and staying socially distant. Yes!!! We are tired and we want to return to some sense of normalcy; but keep in mind the alternatives of the pandemic. Ventilators, medical professionals stretched beyond normal limits, much higher risk of long-term complications, and on the list goes. Please, love yourself, love your family, and be safe. Stay hydrated, stay healthy, and stay focused.