This is one question I have been thinking about a lot lately and I’m finding it a little tricky to answer.
For some of us weight loss can benefit our health. But for others, the pursuit of “losing weight” can add an incredible amount of stress on top of an already stressed body.
So that poses the question – is there actually such thing as healthy weight loss?
I think the answer is yes, but it depends on many factors; most importantly how the weight loss is achieved and why it is being pursued.
Let’s start with the first factor:
1. How are you going to lose weight?
- Are you going to diet? Which diet are you going to follow?
- Are you going to exercise more? Are you following a plan or are you just winging it?
- Are you paying someone to help you, or are you doing it alone?
- Do you have a group to support you and encourage you?
- Do you have SMART goals outlined?
- Do you have a plan with specific action steps to reach these goals?
The way you decide to pursue weight loss can have a significant impact on your success and your overall well-being and health.
If you don’t have a plan or goals of how to lose weight and maintain it, then it is going to be very difficult to achieve it. And that alone can have a serious impact on your mental health and your future success.
Not only that, but trying to lose weight quickly and using “fad diets” or methods that promise a “quick fix” or don’t really align with your values or lifestyle are going to be very hard to sustain longterm and may lead to more health issues like an eating or exercise disorder, or depression.
That’s why it’s so important to understand WHY you want to lose weight before jumping in. When you have a strong why, you are more likely to develop a realistic plan and stick to your new habits.
Which brings me to my next point:
2. Why do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to improve your health and/or avoid health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis?
- Do you want to be able to play with your children and be a good role model to them?
- Do you want to have more energy to be able to do more activities or try new things?
- Do you want to look better to impress other people or friends or family?
- Do you want to fit in more?
Take a few minutes to think about why you want to lose weight. If your motives are mostly external (like wanting to look good for attention or to impress others) then losing weight might not be a healthy move for you; you are more likely to follow an exercise and eating plan that is unsustainable. You might be more inclined to do too much at once adding even more stress to your body and possibly doing more harm than good in the long-run.
But that doesn’t mean healthy weight-loss is not possible for you! It just means more inner work may need to be done before going down that road.
However, if you want to lose weight because you truly want to improve your health, quality of life and longevity then I believe that with the right tools and the right people in your life you can do it.
Losing weight is about getting healthy and not about appearances. If you are happy and healthy in your body, that does not mean you have to lose weight. Health is an individual thing and there is no “one size fits all.”
I think as a society we need to get over out “fat phobia” and accept that all bodies are good bodies, and not everyone wants or needs to lose weight.
If you do decide that weight loss is something you’d like to pursue then I encourage you to pursue it. But make sure you are coming from a place of love for your body, and not hate.<3
If you are still struggling to accept your body as it is, make sure to check out this post where I talk about my struggle with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and these ones, where I talk about Diet Culture and Body Sizes not Equating with Happiness.
ps. If you are looking for a low-impact workout to work on your fitness goals, make sure to check out my Pilates classes over at www.pialtesondemand.ca
Until next time,