|Image source: Microsoft Clipart|
When asking fellow gym goers what their goals are, many said "to lose weight", "to make my bum look smaller" or "to fit back into my skinny jeans" and "to fit into a size 8", these are all fine to use as reasons to motivate yourself on difficult days, but it's also missing a massively important issue: health!
Not one person said "to make my heart stronger", "to increase my life expectancy", "to boost my immune system" or "to help me feel more energetic". I'm hoping that these reasons may have been somewhere in their minds when they signed the gym contract but I suspect many people just think of them as happy consequences of losing weight and as somewhat less exciting than buying smaller clothes.
The problem with this way of thinking occurs when you reach goal weight...
When dress size or number on the scale is an individual's sole purpose of working out, often they ditch their healthy routine when they've reach that goal because they fail to use the health benefits as motivation. At worst, it may even become the root of an eating disorder: you may defy your healthy weight (measured using BMI, but also body fat %, which is more insightful than BMI) and continue losing because you're hooked on the buzz you get from a decreasing scale and the complements that come with it, instead of watching for improvements in your health, such as being able to run further without getting out of breath, or going months without catching a cold, or lifting heavier weights because your muscles are getting stronger.
For successful maintenance of weight loss, this attitude needs to be reversed: our health and fitness should be the main reason we workout and alter our diets, and fitting into our skinny jeans is a happy consequence. Health concerns should be at the forefront of any weight loss plan, ask yourself "is this really good for my body or just good for my dress size?" and don't be afraid to approach your doctor for a health check-up every few months into your weight loss plan to check vitals such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and vitamin levels.
Your Turn: What health benefits have you had from losing weight or changing your lifestyle?