It’s no secret that losing weight and being lean can improve one’s health and quality of life. It is the Holy Grail for many diet and exercise programs and yet I sometimes wonder…
if this whole weight loss thing isn’t just a little overrated. Is being thin really that big a deal? Is it really the be-all and end-all when it comes to fitness? Is it as important as we make it out to be? Maybe this whole weight loss thing is more hype than anything else. The focus should be on fat loss. Weight loss can occur through so many unhealthy ways; the stress of losing your job, getting divorced or simply having financial issues. In cases like this, even being skinny is unlikely to result in you feeling your best. Being sick, excessive calorie control or simply, foolishly stopping to eat has always resulted in massive weight loss. However happiness is not guaranteed. Let us now explore a few of the rewards of fitness and examine how losing weight may not be that big a deal in most instances.
Thin is sexy:
The first misconception I want to explore is the notion that being lean or losing weight will turn anybody into a drop-dead, gorgeous, sex machine. The media can largely be blamed for brainwashing people into thinking that ‘skinny’ is attractive and the ultimate goal for all. I cannot entirely disagree with this notion as I personally believe that even I look better with a lower percentage of body fat. That being said, we must recognize that there is a lot more to beauty and attractiveness than merely a low body fat percentage. Being lean and “mean” is no guarantee of attractiveness. However, in observing the people around you, you will soon realize that very few are lean and thin individuals. Puertoricans, Dominicans and Brazilian women are usually associated with sexy and sexiness, but how many of them are actually “thin”? No doubt you will see at least a few folk around you who are at least relatively lean. However, despite being fairly lean, I’m willing to bet these people are not exactly cover model worthy. Some of them may not strike you as being very attractive at all. There is a lot more to physical beauty and sex appeal than just being lean. Muscle tone, physical proportion, symmetry and movement like posture and mannerisms, all contribute towards one’s beauty and sex appeal. Weight loss is part of the equation and only a relatively small part at that. Shedding body fat may very well make someone more attractive, but it has its limits. It may even have a diminishing return, resulting in a less attractive look as you continue to lose weight. Our fat loss programs at DBF take all of the above into account.
Weight Loss Limits Sexual Performance
How often do we look at long distance runners and think: “WOW, I want to look like that?” Most people I pose that question to at my nutrition seminars will say, “I admire their level of fitness and cardiovascular strength, but I sure don’t want to look like them.” When I ask them what they think of sprinters’ bodies, they always say “OMG, if only I could.” The difference between these two reactions is pure vanity. Marathon runners’ bodies are so emaciated, to a point where they look ill. My immediate reaction is always, “Woman, I feel like taking you home and feeding you a healthy meal.” The sprinter’s body is lean and muscular, full of energy, full of life. Say what you want, personally frailty and vigorous sex just don’t mix. The mere thought of her or him rupturing a bladder when you are about to hit “OMG” moment doesn’t bring pleasure to mind, rather pain.
Weight loss limits on health:
Losing weight is a highly rated goal when it comes to one’s personal health and well-being. Once again, the misconception exists that if we simply lose weight, we will live a lot longer and have a body that functions a lot better. Health is a very broad term for the general condition and functioning of the body. Good health encompasses so many things including posture, bone density and muscle weakness. It would be naïve to assume that a simple drop in body fat percentage could have a positive effect on all aspects of your health. There is even some debate as to whether or not a drop in body fat has any direct correlation with health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This has led some folks to believe that it is possible to be overweight yet still healthy and fit. It has also created the awareness that it is possible to be “skinny fat”, where the individual is thin yet still displays unhealthy physical characteristics. Over the years I have come to understand that fatloss and being lean are side effects of a healthy exercise and diet which typically produce the markers of health and well-being. To me, being lean and being healthy is kind of synonymous with having a sporty looking car that’s also fast. While appearances usually correlate with a certain level of performance, it is most certainly possible to have an impressive appearance on the outside yet a broken down operation on the inside. At DBF each new client starts with a full biometric assessment in order to formulate a program that specifically targets the individual’s health needs.
Weight Loss Limitations on Happiness
Lastly we have to consider the misconception that being lean and losing weight will always make us happy. “You can never be too rich or two thin” is often bandied about. I’ve even come across some folk who say they would rather be lean than have a lot of money. It’s almost as if a lean body is the new assurance of a happy and fulfilled life. While being lean, as well as being rich, can afford a number of benefits, it is still no guarantee of happiness.
It is most certainly possible to have a killer physique and yet still feel depressed and sad. In some cases people have claimed that being lean and trying to keep weight off has brought them more stress and sadness than when they were slightly heavier. This is true considering the many diets and diet pills out there. Many people spend so much of their time and energy trying to maintain their weight, while stressing about their diet and ultimately experiencing a lot of guilt and anxiety over their lean physique. That may be the exception rather than the rule, however it’s certainly worth noting that being lean and having a “six pack” is no guarantee of happiness and fulfillment. If food is all you think about, chances are you aren’t sufficiently fueling your body and because you can’t have what you’re craving, misery becomes your daily companion. This never happens on DBF eating plans. We don’t work against your body, we work with your body. We understand the resilience of bodies through evolution and the limited resource called “will power”.
Ultimately, I don’t want to discourage anyone from attempting to lose weight or to assume that they won’t be happy once they become leaner. The last thing I want to do is write an article saying that you should be happy with what you have and not strive for anything higher. I believe that a positive attitude is the most surefire way to live a better quality of life. The point I simply want to make is that while losing weight can bring many benefits, it is certainly not without its limitations.
If we pursue a lean physique at all costs and we ignore some of the bigger and more important aspects in helping us achieve what we really want, we will ultimately find ourselves spending a lot of our lifestyle resources and getting very little in return. To achieve optimal levels of attractiveness, performance, health and happiness we must look well beyond simple weight loss and try to focus on the many other aspects that are often far more important.