This generated some interesting dialogue and I appreciate the feedback.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a relationship with food
Good or bad.
I took a hard look at how we can use it to support everything from our hunger to deeper unaddressed emotional needs and other issues. Understanding why we use food to medicate us is the biggest, most important first step to achieving permanent weight loss.
Tell me, are there other topics on food/nutrition/healthy eating/weight loss you’d like to see here?
Breaking up in a toxic relationship can sometimes be hard can’t it? Leaving behind someone that has left us feeling good, stroked our emotions and feelings, been there for us in tough times, yet somehow has not always been the best thing for us.
Why do we struggle to leave when we know, really, it’s best for us?
Yet we continue on day after day allowing ourselves to be dragged through it because its comfortable, familiar, and makes us feel good. Sometimes really good.
Now, imagine if you will, that’s our relationship with food.
Of course we can’t totally break it off, but we may need to set some clear and healthy boundaries with it.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have some type of relationship with food in our lives.
Of course those relationships and how they look largely depend on alot of things.
How we were raised.
I’d say that is most likely one of the biggest factors. How was food treated in your home while you were growing up?
Was it healthy and nutritious? Were you taught balance and good eating habits?
Were there the usual times of holidays and celebrations where it was expected you’d eat another piece of pie? ( cause hey Thanksgiving!) And that’s allowable 😄
Or was it the complete opposite with eating in excess and indulgence the norm? Eating way past the point of your hunger being satisfied until you were “stuffed “?
Perhaps it was somewhere in between.
Where ever you land, don’t underestimate how that has shaped your behavior with food today.
We’ve trained ourselves.
Like anything in our lives, we train ourselves in routines of habit.
Times we get up or go to bed. How we brush our teeth, prepare for our day, how we organize things…..it’s all set habits and routines we’ve formed.
Our eating and food choices are no different…..good or bad.
You’ve trained yourself to get snacks at the convenience store or trained yourself to load your shopping cart with fruits and veggies. Or you make a stop for morning coffee with or without a donut.
Perhaps it’s the drive thru coming home from work for a “snack” before dinner.
Whatever it is, you may have built habits with food to help you cope with emotional issues.
To do things differently will mean an intentional, purposeful, act to rebuild new positive and healthy habits.
Awareness leads to success
It hit me like a ton of bricks a few years back on this journey I’m on.
I had grown up in and with a household of emotional eaters.
Food was used for everything.
Happy? Sad? Celebrating? Angry? The weather changed? Boredom? Loneliness?
Comfort food wasn’t just a vague description….it was used to feed emotions.
Becoming aware of that made me even more mindful of my eating habits. Although not to the extreme of many family members, I had my own Achilles too.
If I found myself roaming looking for something I’d first think ” am I hungry?”
If that was a solid no, I removed myself and tried to assess what the reality was that I did need.
As I got further down the road of understanding myself, and being more mindful, food had a lot less pull to do it.
To this day, I still need to be mindful. Ingrained habits can take a long, long time to retrain, but it can be done.
You simply have to be real with yourself about those weak areas and then be willing to discipline yourself in new ways.
Oh. And don’t quit just because you don’t “get it right” immediately. Small daily steps lead to big victories
The mental shift
My brother and I were talking recently about similar things. He has been on his own journey. He’s lost a ton of weight and been faithful to strength training and learning to embrace cardio a bit more 😁
I’m super proud of his efforts. But it hasn’t been without his own struggles along the way too. His weakness for sweets, eaten often in secret, was a huge thing to work at overcoming.
He has had to take huge steps in the mental awareness area to continue being successful.
We talked about people who had lots of weight to lose ( like 100s of lbs) and the modern day quick fixes of surgeries and extreme diets….and how the majority failed and only regained the weight lost.
There was never a change in their mental behavior. There was never a shift in their relationship and behavior with food.
Whatever underlying problems drove them to eat and use food as an emotional coping tool were still there.
Without that being changed, you will continue in all the negative behaviors and patterns that led to becoming over weight.
The same is true for all of us. We have to know, recognize and understand why we do what we do with food.
Eating to ease the things inside of us is a negative way to deal with life, yet for many it becomes a coping mechanism for deeper issues.
If you struggle, here are things to consider.
Know your triggers. What causes you to reach for food? Keeping a notebook might be helpful to look back at to help you see patterns of behavior.
Are there times of day you feel weaker or less likely to make better choices?
What are your personal family dynamics with food? Healthy or not so healthy?
Do you mindlessly eat? Do you eat food without being present and enjoying it? Or do you just go through the motions?
Are you always thinking of food? Really, we shouldn’t be. If you eat adequate food ( enough to satisfy your appetite without over eating) and it’s nutritionally dense healthy food you won’t be hungry. Putting food in a proper position in your mind is important to success too.
Be patient and kind to yourself on the journey! Know you won’t change over night but be willing to keep moving forward and not give up.
These are just a few suggestions, you may think of others.
For any diet or weight loss program to be succesful, leading to a permanent lifestyle change your mind must be on board to a healthier you. You must deal with and let go of negative behaviors and build in new positive ones.
If your mind is not changed, you will keep repeating the cycle over and over again.
Would you agree or disagree our minds play the most important part of weight loss?
So it’s been a red hot minute since I ranted about some snake oil diet and “health” program.
You’ve been forewarned 🤣
If someone offers you pie in the sky promises of ridiculous weight loss in a week ( largely done by starvation) and then tells you ( the victim) you will also have to pay 100’s of your hard earned dollars a month to buy all of their fabulous starvation….um….weight loss products… may I make a suggestion?
Take your 100plus dollars, buy some good running shoes, and run far, far away from it.
You’re welcome 😉
I’ve seen one particular product circulating through and it’s just so unrealistic in what it offers.
I’m sorry, but losing big amounts of weight in 8 days is not only unrealistic, it’s also unhealthy. And the reality is all you’ve done is shed a whole lotta water in those days.
I’ve read enough on it to know you basically starve yourself most days of the “program” in that first week.
I don’t exaggerate.
On top of that you spend a good amount of money to be involved in this particular diet cult.
I know it’s super old school but really, if you want to lose weight, and keep it off you’ve got to manage what goes in your mouth, eat healthy nutritious food the majority of the time ( because chocolate ya know?)and get some good purposeful exercise in most days of the week.
It will be slow and steady ( as it should) you will eat foods you enjoy, without depriving yourself, and the money you save you can use towards that new exercise hobby you fall in love with.
Stay away from the diet schemes that require you to buy their products and promise you “to good to be true” results.
Really the only results you’ll ultimately have will be a lighter bank account.
Hello world! Yeah I know, no Monday Musings yesterday. I had nothing to muse over. Well not entirely it was more like a busy weekend and it just didn’t happen. But if you wanna read some of the past ones, find some here.
The life of writing involves making myself sit and be still and grind it out when I’d rather be up and moving. If there were only a way to do other stuff AND dictate my posts while doing it, that would be awesome 🙂
Anyway I thought we’d talk today about some common myths in regards to fitness and health. I heard something this past week that got me to thinking and I was gonna give it a nod in my Monday Musings but decided there was enough fodder for it to have an entire post of it’s own.
Let’s face it, in the world of health and fitness there’s a lot of things that aren’t true yet people unknowingly buy into them all the time.
Let’s consider a few in this post….
Feel the burn.
I’ve seen this quite a bit lately in different places. The whole “feel the burn” thing in regards to working out.
Now I’m not sure about you, but if something feels like it’s burning during a workout, I’m fairly sure that’s not a good thing.
Feeling a burn could indicate you have over done something or doing more than your body is physically conditioned for at that point.
This is not the same as just working hard in a session and pushing yourself within your current physical conditioning. Our bodies require time to change and adapt to what we put them through, this doesn’t happen overnight or in a few sessions when you feel like you’ve got your “beast mode” on.
If something feels like it’s burning, you really need to stop and not go to that point anymore lest you pick up and injury that sidelines you for awhile.
A gradual, consistent approach that continues to build will let you work harder and longer with less risk for injuries.
The longer you workout or the more you do in a day the better
You might mentally think you are doing something great but really unless you’re an elite athlete getting in some extra work you are simply setting yourself up for potential injury and at best being over tired, sore and not feeling great after the fact.
Stick to a structured daily workout plan, give it your best efforts and call it a wrap. Think quality over quantity. If you need to do other things consider yoga or stretching to help keep those worked muscles relaxed and loose for your next workout session.
You get no extra gold stars for excess workouts. 😉
I’ve gained weight but I know it’s muscle.
I’ve heard this when someone has been working out for like…6-8 weeks. Building muscle is work, hard work. If you’re a woman, it gets even harder. We often don’t lift heavy enough, or often enough and eat enough to build muscle in that fast of a manner. It has taken me time to build muscle, years. Although cycling and running have contributed to my muscle building, I do specific weight lifting a couple times a week alongside that.
If you want to build muscle it will take time, determination, consistency and good nutrition. Did I mention time ?
If you’re gaining weight that early on, you might be eating more than you need so adjust your calorie intake.
I’m skipping breakfast because I want to lose weight.
Do you know that breakfast really is the most important meal of your day? Your body has been fasting for hours ( think your last meal the night before) eating properly helps kick start your metabolism for the day, wards off hunger and helps prevent binging later on when you are full blown hungry. It will also give you energy for your morning. Not only that having proper fuel helps you to be focused and alert, without it you can be irritable and grouchy. Skipping breakfast won’t contribute to weight loss, but it will keep you hungry and focused on food.
It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, but one that is healthy and offers adequate protein and carbs to fuel your body and brain.
Eating lots of protein gives you more muscle.
Listen, I’m always one who will preach eating protein to you ’cause it delivers a big bang for keeping you from feeling hungry for long periods of time. Your body needs protein to build muscles and grow cells and hair and nails and all that other cool physical stuff. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues.
However, when it comes to fat loss and a better body, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism.
But in the often misguided fitness world, the more is better approach is often heralded as the way to do things.
Yes, you need adequate protein. Yes, if you are athletic you need more than the average sedentary person, but consuming high amounts won’t necessarily put Popeye muscles on you.
Why? Our bodies know what they need and the amounts needed and can only ingest 12-15 grams per meal. At a point, the excess protein is excreted or stored as fat if it’s surplus calories.
Building muscle is a combination (again) of consistent hard work, daily discipline, lifting heavy and good nutrition.
Not massive quantities of protein.
Try and consume your protein from natural food sources and limit manmade protein drinks, shakes, powders, bars, supplements etc etc.
The 1200 calorie diet.
Ah yes. The standard caloric intake often given to women. Men do get a bit more but it’s just as limiting.
It still amazes me that these standard diets are often assigned to people without any given consideration to their personal needs.
Eating to low amount of calories is just as counterproductive as to many.
If you are seeking to lose weight you need to have a good understanding of yourself, your lifestyle, and your physical level of activity.
All of us have a basic level of calories our bodies need to just be alive. That means to support a beating heart, brain activity, cell growth, breathing… you know.. just the normal things. Our basic BMR ( basal metabolic rate) will be different for all of us again based on our age, sex, fitness level, jobs etc.
It’s important you know what you’re baseline is and not eat calories under that.
From there, you would determine what kind of work do you do? Is it physically demanding or is it a desk job? What kind of purposeful exercise do you do? None? Light ( 1-2 days a week) moderate (3-5) or more intense (6-7)?
All of these things come into play determining your daily caloric needs. And this can be a shifting scale most days.
For instance, I know on my long training days, I’ll be burning off a lot of calories and making my body work hard. I know I’ll have higher caloric needs based on my day in general, as well as my purposeful exercise. I know I can consume more calories on those days over days where I might just run a 5K that morning to where I don’t really alter my normal eating.
I am aware that on any given day I may need more or less calories depending on my activity level.
When you have a better idea of your personal needs, you can determine the calories you need to lose weight, or maintain your weight.
Eating a big meal makes you gain weight.
OK this is one that for sure comes up around Thanksgiving. For some crazy reason people go hop on a scale the day after.
Like… why? Do you just wanna feel crappy for enjoying your day?
Listen up, if you show a gain, it’s not fat ok? You aren’t gonna toss on 2-4 pounds of fat overnight.
Yes, the scale *could* show a gain but I’m gonna just say it’s most likely water weight from all those carbs you took in the day before from potatoes, rolls, dressing, pies etc.
Carbs, if you don’t know this, are like little sponges that hold onto water. Why do you think body builders restrict carbs when they are close to competition? To deplete water out of their muscles.
I would suggest if you go back to your normal eating, getting normal exercise and check again in a couple days, you’ll have weight *loss*.
To stay in shape you only need one or two days a week.
Sorry. That might clear your head or give you a quick burst of energy but it won’t get you in shape or help with any weight loss goals.
Ideally, you should really strive to workout most days of the week for optimal health benefits.
Start with a couple days but aim to get in at least 5-6.
You can crunch your way to good abs.
Sorry… but no. I cringe when I hear people talking about doing crunches and dutifully going through the motions. The reality is it’s an ineffective way to get those abs. Instead you should be doing things in a combination of interval training, utilizing carbs wisely, getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low. Of course the right training moves help too. Moves like squats, deadlifts, and chin ups can contribute to that shaped mid section.
I’m eating healthy, I will lose weight.
Truth is…. you will lose weight if you take in less calories than you need in a day and create a deficit. Yes, eating healthy foods is definitely what you should strive to have in your day, but if you eat to much of anything your body will take what it needs and store the rest for fat.
Eat healthy, focus on eating just enough to satisfy your hunger, and then move on with your day. Don’t get caught in the thinking you are going to lose weight if you have no idea of your calorie consumption in the day.
Be mindful of another “trap” by drinking “healthy” liquid calories in the trendy shakes and smoothies. The calories are often astronomical in it and you’d do better eating regular food.
My son used to get a smoothie from a local place. He asked me to stop and get him one and bring it to work. Me being me, I’m standing there picking apart menu and code words that still mean sugar no matter how you try and gloss it over ( good publicity makes you feel like you’re doing yourself a healthy favor) I found the one I was buying for him and almost fainted when I saw it had nearly 1,200 calories in it. True, it was a large one, but still, that is an obscene amount of calories for something that is being promoted as “healthy” it is close to exceeding daily caloric intake.
When I told him he was shocked and stopped buying them.
Working out will turn fat into muscle.
No. You have fat and you have muscle. You can’t make one be the other. You can lose fat and you will be able to see your muscles better but you won’t turn your excess fat into muscle nor will muscle turn into fat.
Oh and another myth I’ll put in here that ties in, my favorite, muscle weighs more than fat. ( a way to justify weight gain)
5lbs is still 5lbs. muscle however, is sleek, compact and lean and fat is thick, bulky and fluffy. Having more muscle under your skin gives that “toned” look people always go on about. Toned is a weird way of saying you have some muscle holding your skin out.
And that’s about all I have to say on that topic 😉
I guess I could keep on with other points but I need to bring it to and end. If you are unsure of something in regards to health and fitness, find credible sources to gain information. Don’t go by what the bulky dude at the gym does or the girl in the yoga pants tells you to eat. Educate yourself on things so you can make the best choices for you.
Tell me, are there some myths you’ve heard that people believe in?
Did you grow up with siblings? If so you understand how you learn to push each others buttons on things right? Sometimes it’s to annoy each other, sometimes it’s just to get that person going on whatever topic because it amuses us in some way.
It doesn’t seem to change even when you grow up. Then we have friends who can do the same thing with us. It’s all fun and games… usually….
I’m no different, I guess. If there’s one thing that gets me going or kicks my investigator mode into high gear, it’s having someone ask me about some new diet craze or company pedaling it’s wares promising claims of extreme and swift weight loss.
Usually the companies biggest successes are emptying your pockets, not making you any thinner.
I had a friend message me recently asking if I knew of or had heard of a particular company and it’s product. People were flocking to it and it was gaining a big following. She had been asked to try it, I’m really glad she’s one of my smart friends and of course, declined.
There are so many companies and products out there trying to make a living off of peoples desperation it really is hard to keep up with them all. I got the basic name and info from her and started digging.
Oh. It didn’t take me long. It didn’t take long at all to be shocked and horrified over it on several levels. The complete nonsense presented on eating and weight loss is…well.. awful.
When I shared what I was finding with my friend the response was “go get them” haha when I mentioned I just can’t help it, (gathering info and sharing what I find) I get back…. “personally, I get a kick out of it…”
See what I mean from my opening questions? They give me the right prompts and cut me loose haha
So. What about this product?
This is a MLM (multi level marketing) company so that should tell you something right off the bat.
It’s about making money, first. There are no prices offered on website as they want you to find a “distributor” of the product and purchase from them. Hmmm.
There are several products they offer all promising you great things in a short amount of time. Reviews were glowing of big losses in only 8 days for one of their packages.
They claim to detox, fat burn, cleanse you inside and out, get you thin and make you a new healthy individual with all of their amazing products. AND… you will finally be happy…. poor… but happy. Blah. Blah. Blah.
( insert sound of me gagging here)
The hocus pocus of all the wording made my head spin in moments. Then I quickly realized people REALLY buy into this, literally and figuratively.
Like, they cough up a lot of money for all these promises of magic potions. Worse yet, they believe it all. They believe this time, something will work.
I continued my reading and searched out more info. As many of these companies and products go, you find these hard to believe reviews of awesomeness on it, and oddly, not many dissatisfied customers at all.
Another red flag my friends.
There aren’t that many happy people about anything in this world, especially weight loss products. So we have to largely believe the reviews that are so wonderful are put out by the distributors of the product.
The negatives I found, well, as to be expected, the product hadn’t done the miracles they expected, the company hadn’t followed through on it’s promises, over priced, or worse yet were the side effects from using it.
It didn’t take me long looking at one of their most seemingly “popular” plans, the 8 day kick starter transformation package to know why people were losing so much weight in 8 days.
You’re freaking starving to death, that’s why. Literally.
They promise 8 days to transform you. Holy crap it’s taken me 8 years to learn all this stuff, get fit, and get a decent grip on my eating behaviors. How could I have wasted all that time?? 😉
As I looked at their daily eating plan, I was thinking, what are people actually, you know, eating?? Besides sucking down all these pills, powders, “flushes”, and occasional shakes they are buying.
Ahhh here it is… I found it in the “plan”… you only get to eat 3 meals in the 8 days.
Yes. That is all.
And those “meals” are limited to 500-600 calories. I can’t even imagine how you must suck the food in at that point. Not to mention how foggy headed you must feel.
The rest of the time you are using all of their products to detox, fat burn, cleanse and whatever else bull nonsense they are hyping you over. Oh the hype.
Let’s call it what it is… you… are starving yourself. I find it ironically funny they want you to use a product that supposedly “blocks” fat absorption and causes food to pass through. Meh… it’s supposed to expand and take up space in your stomach…
Like, why the heck do you need that when you aren’t even hardly eating anything ???
I wont spend much more time on discussing this. It just made me scratch my head. People will spend money to starve themselves… ok…
They also give you an “exercise plan” to follow but honestly, I don’t see how you are able to do more than lay on the sofa with a daily caloric intake of 500-600 calories.
Anything under 1000 calories a day is a starvation diet people.
But… it’s “natural” and “plant based”
It should be noted there are lots of natural things but they can kill you or just make you sick and not feel good. Just because someone has tossed various natural ingredients together doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that the doses are right for you.
Many of the ingredients in these products act like caffeine. It is the reason people are so hyped up and have so much “energy” when they are on them. A fancy version of speed.
It should be noted that side effects are jitteriness, racing heart, high blood pressure, sweating, nausea, and shakiness. Others are cramps, feeling bloated and an overall not feeling well.
No food and natural stimulants, no wonder those side effects present themselves.
One of the main pills you take is an appetite suppressant. It’s loaded with a bunch of herbal stuff. When you start adding a bunch of “natural” herbal things into your body, the effects can not be pleasant.
One ingredient in this appetite suppressant pill is bitter orange or synephrine. It was banned years ago and is linked to major cardiovascular risks.
Not sure I’d want to be popping that with other stimulants too. No wonder a racing heart is reported.
Oh, and the “flush” they offer. well yeah, it’s supposed to do what the name implies. It’s main ingredient is senna which is in laxatives you can buy at the store. I’ll just leave this here… you don’t really want to be on some type of laxative to help you lose weight. This type of product doesn’t “cleanse” or “detox” you.
But then there’s the cost….
Besides the fact you sign up to starve and not eat for pretty much an entire week, and that you’ll be taking another product to flush you which means you might spend more time in the bathroom than anticipated, and another product to keep you from getting hungry ( um hey….getting hungry is a natural body signal we’ve been given to know when to feed ourselves. Ignoring it isn’t smart. ) there’s the ridiculous cost of this stuff.
The rough estimate I found for the 8 day “kit” is 391.00.
Yes. Your eyes aren’t going on you, you read that correct. Almost 400.00 for some supplements and a meal shake that comes in at a whopping 50 calories made with water.
Of course, any other products you buy has an additional charge that’s just as crazy.
And people are buying it. They are jumping on it like flies on honey.
I don’t know if I should feel sad for them or just think they deserve what they get for buying into such nonsense.
But then I remember how desperate people are for a quick fix they will do anything at all to get it.
Anything but the thing that works.. because well.. it does take some time… and effort… and patience.
The old “learn to eat healthy, eat mindfully, change your habits, and get some movement into your days” thing.
I know it’s not cool or trendy but really, its the only thing that works.
The bottom line
Since the weight loss comes from starvation, once you increase your calories to a normal range ( which you will) the weight will come back. These products are not sustainable for long term nor should you do their program multiple times ( setting yourself up for a starve and binge mode isn’t a good thing) although if you want to drop almost 400 dollars for an 8 week starvation session you may have more money than common sense.
The ingredients are sketchy and found in much cheaper diet aid products if you’re still convinced that’s the way you need to go instead of the old fashioned route.
Promises of detoxing your body and turning it into a fat burning machine are just more modern day snake oil and smoke and mirrors. These products do have the ability to hype you up because of all the “natural” caffeine type ingredients they contain.
8 days won’t change your habits or behaviors with food. That’s where the biggest change occurs when you do it the old fashioned way.
Overall this is another get rich scheme for some people at the expense and desperate need of others.
If you are wanting to lose weight, don’t be brought in by hype and unrealistic promises. For all that money you can go buy a gym membership, some cool new kicks, and a whole lot of healthy foods.
“I want to be the weight I was in high school!” says the middle aged woman… “I want to weigh what I did when I played football” declares a man
These are weight ideals that men and women have every day. When they begin to focus on a goal for weight loss for some reason, the weight they were in the past and they felt like they were “their best”, becomes the new and current focus, even if they haven’t seen this weight in decades.
Where as there’s nothing wrong with this, it could also just be an unrealistic goal based on where you are today in your life.
Perhaps there’s a sense that once that “ideal” weight is reached there will be a feeling that you’ve “arrived”. Or it could be an assumption if you got to that weight again you’ll be really happy. Maybe you view it as your body will finally be how you want it.
I guess the reasons could go on… however… it just might not be where you need to be… today.
Our bodies are beautifully designed to live in a perfect balance of a weight that is “good” for us. Yes, we can have times of our weight being lower but it might take a lot more work and attentiveness to our diet to just be able to maintain those numbers on the scale.
It certainly could be an unwanted burden to bear if you have to be constantly watchful of everything you eat to stay at that perceived “good” weight.
That perceived weight goal you have might not be where you need to be at today in your life.
You might have a different job or more activities to keep you moving. You might have health issues or be on meds that don’t allow you to move to that goal. You might not “look” healthy if the weight is a bit to low for you.
But let’s not over look the fact that our bodies often have a preset weight that they can stay at and you can easily maintain and it might not be your predetermined goal weight.
Let’s establish this:
First there are a lot of factors that can determine our “ideal” weight. Your height, age, gender, frame size, muscle to fat ratio, and body fat distribution all play into your ideal weight.
You could be the same height as your friend and maybe trade off borrowing clothes, but I can guarantee your body composition will be very different.
There are several “tools” that doctors/health care professionals use to help determine an “ideal” weight. But again that is so subjective based on many things. Let’s take a look at a few ways supposed ideal weight could be determined.
One of the long time used meters is the BMI (body mass index)
Your BMI is calculated on your height and weight and a scale is used on what “normal” body weights are for the gender/age/ etc.
You can figure your own by looking it up on an online calculator. You can also do it as a math problem, but that makes my head hurt, so I prefer the handy online calculator to help with it. I already know mine, but maybe you need to figure yours out.
This can give a base line of “health”.
Standard numbers are less than 18.5 you are underweight, healthy weight 18.5-24.9, overweight 25-29.9, and obese 30 or higher.
This is a good tool but not a good indicator if a person is carrying a more “muscle to fat ratio” as their numbers can come in higher, although they are technically more fit and more lean muscle mass is definitely preferable to a higher fat ratio.
BMI is a surrogate measure of body fatness because it is a measure of excess weight rather than excess body fat.
BMI uses your weight in the formula but it doesn’t distinguish if it comes from an abundance of fat or lean muscle tissue. Athletes and body builders who carry a great amount of muscle can come in with a higher BMI, which does not distinguish muscle mass carried.
Because BMI does not directly measure fat it can miscategorize people as healthy who have a normal weight for their height when they are actually carrying to much fatty tissue.
You can see just using a BMI has negatives in both directions although it offers a guideline as a basic health screening.
Another more accurate tool is body fat percentage.
I learned a lot about this a few years ago. My doctor told me I fall more into the category now of figuring body fat than the standard BMI due to my lean muscle mass. Many experts say that body fat percentage is the best way to go as it is the best way to gauge their fitness level because it’s the only measurement that includes the bodies true composition.
Using the body fat percentage would not make the couch potato seem more fit than an Olympic athlete as the case with just using BMI.
There are several ways of determining body fat percentage and although none are 100% accurate it will give you a close enough estimate.
Examples include near-infrared interactance, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, and bioelectrical impedance analysis.
I’ll give you one other example.. that should be enough to over load your mind for today …
Waist to hip ratio
A waist-hip measurement is the ratio of the circumference of your waist to that of your hips. You measure the smallest circumference of your waist, usually just above your belly button, and divide that total by the circumference of your hip at its widest part.
Less than 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women is considered low risk for cardio problems
0.9-0.99 for men and 0.8-0.89 for women moderate risk of cardio problems
1 or over for men and 0.9 or over for women is considered high risk
The WHR of a person is commonly said to be a much better indicator of whether their body weight is ideal and what their risks of developing serious health conditions are, compared to BMI.
The biggest problem with WHR is that it’s just not a good indicator of overall health, it doesn’t accurately measure the persons total body fat percentage, or their muscle to fat ratio. It is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI.
So… your ideal weight…does it exist?
Your “ideal” weight is as unique as your daily dietary needs are for health and wellness.
A few things to consider about it…
Know roughly what your body weight range should be. If you are outside of that or know you are carrying extra weight ( and we all know when we have extra fat on us), a sensible plan will help you steadily knock of those pounds to get to a more normal healthy range. The ideal weight charts sometimes can give you a close estimate and some are ridiculous ( as in one that told me I should weigh between 108-112. Yeah, I laughed over that. At 6’0 those are ridiculous numbers) I do know what my “range” is, but for me that’s pretty loose because again, it doesn’t take in my lean muscle mass, my activity level, or any other unique aspects of my physical person.
Your ideal weight won’t necessarily be your high school weight or whatever other magic number you have in mind.
Once you are in a healthy weight zone, allow for a 5 lb. limit to swing back and forth in. Trust me. It’s freeing. Ladies, this is especially important depending on where you are in your cycle. I know that a few extra pounds that might show up mid cycle will go away as some water weight. If it’s water, things will balance out again.
Depending on your level of physical activity ( and I mean workouts most days of the week or specific weight training) you will build lean muscle mass. This level of body fat you have to lean muscle mass is your body composition. The more lean muscle you build, the better. Muscle isn’t “heavier” than 1 lb of fat, it’s just that fat takes up more volume or space then muscle. Muscle is more dense. Understanding this, if you are doing very purposeful exercise all the time you can gain lean muscle but the scale might not change a lot on you.
Your ideal weight will become easy enough to maintain based on your daily food intake and purposeful exercise.
If you have to go hungry, restrict meals, workout more than usual, or do any other crazy thing to stay at a given weight, that’s your wake up call. Your body isn’t going to stay there unless you are constantly diligent and practicing those methods to keep it there.
Your ideal weight will allow you to do the things you love, to take care of your family, pursue active endeavors, or take on your daily purposeful exercise with lots of energy.
It’s great to have an ideal weight in mind, but having a happy healthy weight that’s sustainable for your life is even better.
Do you or have you strived towards an ideal weight? Have you found a place of balance with a happy healthy weight?
So I’m writing this post pre Easter weekend. I am assuming that the majority of you reading will have just celebrated it in a variety of ways.
I can’t speak to the rest of the world. but in the U.S. it will involve family and faith and all kinds of tasty foods as well as a plethora of candy.
It is however, now Monday and you may be feeling guilty over your “self indulgence” of the weekend. You maybe feel like you enjoyed those stolen treats out of your kids basket a bit to much.
Heck, I usually have plenty of left over stuff I don’t need to raid their stuff ( and yeah, I still make my adult kids Easter baskets 😉
Seriously, though. I have a deep appreciation for chocolate although now days, it just takes a little for me, to much makes me feel yucky.
Of course I see things circulating on the internet that always make my skin crawl… meme’s that talk about doing certain exercises to “negate what you ate”
For the love of chocolate bunnies, you can’t undo something that’s already done!
Of course, there are things you can do after the fact…..like… move on and get back to your regular routine. Move forward…life as usual… you know, normal stuff.
Did you enjoy your time with your family? Was the food good? Did you have fun watching the kids experience the day? Whatever your day looked like, was it good?
Life is good. It’s meant to be enjoyed. That means there will be times we have celebrations and food and its food we really love ’cause it’s special to that event. Life isn’t about constant restrictions and feeling guilty over what we put in our mouth.
A “diet” shouldn’t ruin our holiday celebrations. On the other hand you shouldn’t use it as open season to just eat like an out of control person because it is a holiday.
Balance. Moderation. Be sensible. It works.
One thing I’ve learned on my health journey that’s been freeing is that the food is always there. The chocolate is there. I don’t have to just drop into the deep end and gorge like I’ll never have it again.
I know I can. I know I will. I just let myself live in those boundaries.
Will I maybe have more than “usual” of food or treats over the weekend?
Most likely, yes.
Will my body let me know it’s not used to it and get back on track ? Absolutely.
That, my friend is how you need to train yourself too.
After a celebratory weekend you should be focused on getting back to what you do ( which is hopefully eating well) .
You don’t have to throw in the towel.
You don’t have to wait till another day to “start”.
You don’t have to feel guilt or beat yourself up.
You don’t have to go to the gym and workout longer or extra hard to burn off calories you’ve consumed days before. ( PLEASE! don’t)
What can you do? What should you do ?
Don’t weight yourself! It’s not “fat” you’ve gained but a healthy dose of water weight. If you need to weigh yourself, wait at least one day before you do. You don’t get “fat” from eating some extra calories for a day or two.
Be thankful for the day you had with friends and family.
Be thankful you were able to enjoy good foods and treats.
Pick right up with your balanced and sensible eating.
Do your exercise ( whatever you do) do it how you usually do. Don’t attempt to push yourself harder ( you may get hurt)
Refocus on your goals and remember living a healthy lifestyle also enjoys room to breathe and enjoy life and get back on track again.
Love yourself. You’re doing a great job.
The key to success is to keep moving forward and staying positive.
I understand this may be a foreign concept to you, but with a little practice and patience, you will learn to implement it into a part of your healthy lifestyle 🙂