Body Positivity Matters (But So Does Healthy Weight Management)
Don’t you wish there was a way to separate how we feel psychologically about ourselves when we are over weight, and focus instead on all the health benefits associated with maintaining a healthy BMI? Building the right mindset to support your weight-loss goals is critical, as any physician would tell you, but it is easier said than done.
What are the steps you can take to create a healthy body image, no matter what age or stage you are at in your weight-loss journey? How do you avoid criticizing yourself when you don’t get the results you want (right away), and keep yourself feeling good and motivated, to reach your goal?
The hard part may be getting started, but harder yet is developing that inner dialogue that encourages you to stick with it. There are some positive ways to love the process of transforming your lifestyle and habits, so that they support your health goals.
Defining Weight-Loss as a Health (Not Aesthetic) Need
There is so much pressure on woman to look perfect, and we see it every day in the media. From magazine covers to television shows featuring fit and beautiful women, who look like they could be a model. Perhaps because they actually are models? The elite 1% of the gene pool is not representative of the majority of the population; and as women, we measure ourselves against this unreasonable and unkind standard.
Weight-loss should never be an act of punishment, or deprivation. It should not feel like you are being punitive to yourself or trying to correct a flaw. Metabolic functions, age and heredity, as well as health conditions all contribute to our ability to sustain a healthy body weight. Lifestyle factors can be successfully address and improved, to reach those weight-loss goals.
When you realize that a balanced heathy body weight has more to do with science (chemistry, biology and mathematics) than it has to do with blame, you are well on your way to unlocking the lifestyle changes that will help you get healthy, and stay healthy for the long run.
Keeping Your Eye on the Prize
Love your body enough to make the kind of changes that will result in a happier and healthier life. In virtually every clinical study on obesity, the link between increased health risks for chronic disease, cardiovascular issues, depression, anxiety, fatigue, hormone imbalance and more is clear.
The extra weight makes it harder for our vital systems to function and being overweight can shorten the lifespan. In some studies, researchers discovered that American women with a BMI of 22.0 to 23.4, and men with a BMI of 23.5 to 24.9 had the lowest morbidity rates. In other studies, researchers have estimated that individuals who fall into the extremely obese category, may have a reduced life expectancy of 5 to 20 years.
By staying focused on what you gain when you lose weight, you will be able to motivate yourself to make the important lifestyle shifts required to live healthier. And with a nutritionally balanced diet, daily hydration, daily physical activity and quality sleep habits, you’ll be on track to a happier, energetic and healthier life. And if you are a parent or grandparent, you will also be setting a great example for the rest of your family and helping them form lifelong habits that support good health.
Remember that losing weight and sustaining a balanced body weight, is one of the most important things you can do to support healthy aging. Keep your mind set on achieving your weight-loss goal, and remember to acknowledge the incremental victories, as you learn new methods to put your nutrition and health needs first.