As September rolls around again, we enter the next weight loss season. It’s the unofficial New Year and it’s just as full as ‘time to get healthy’ schemes as January is.
Let’s get one thing clear. Health is not weight loss. Losing weight isn’t the same thing as improving your health. Neither health nor weight loss are behaviours.
If health is important to you (and it’s not a moral obligation for it to be) – but pursuing weight loss hasn’t produced long-term results – then maybe it’s time to take a different approach?
Welcome to Weight Neutral Healthcare. It’s the kind of health care that bodies of all sizes can participate in. The focus is on health and healthy behaviours vs weight and weight loss.
Let’s say that you’d like to become more active this fall. That behaviour is linked to improved blood sugar regulation, lower blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular function. Awesome!
In order for you to receive those health benefits*, being more active is something that has to last. It needs to be part of your life in a sustainable way. And it DOES NOT need to lead to weight loss in order for those health benefits to be bestowed upon you.
(*The exception may be blood sugar control as this side effect of movement can have an immediate effect that can last upwards of 24 hours.)
So Jillian Micheals style bootcamps that kick your ass and cause you pain, may not be the way to go.
Measuring your weight or inches for signs of success aren’t going to keep you moving for long. Measuring something that’s entirely outside of your control isn’t setting yourself up for success.
“Enough on the ‘what not to do’ Kerri. What do I do instead?”
I’m so glad that you asked! ?
1. Get clear on what really matters to you.
I’ll tell you a little secret. I don’t exercise because it’s good for me. I don’t care enough on the hard days for that to get me moving. I move because I love being outside. Bonus points if it’s social. It’s good for my mood and my energy. It influences how I show up in my life. That matters to me.
2. Create goals that are within your control.
‘Lose xyz pounds by Thanksgiving’ is a crappy goal because it’s not within your control. ‘Move my body everyday’ is a better goal because it is within your control.
3. Set yourself up to win.
Lower the bar. Instead of ‘do yoga for 45 minutes everyday’ try ‘do yoga everyday’. That way you can do any amount of yoga from one deep breath in mountain pose to 100 sun salutations and everything in between.
Consistency trumps intensity where most things are concerned. Showing up to a healthy behaviour regularly will have a lasting effect on your health. Health kicks and bootcamps won’t.
If you’re looking for some support this fall, check out my program Mastering Life As a Rebel. Each of these steps has its own video and worksheet.