A healthy outlook tips scales toward fitness
As an adult, I have been mostly overweight. And a quick look around tells me I’m not alone. But when I watch TV, read magazines, or go to the movies, all I see are slim, tall, muscular men and women. When I go to the beach, I see a parade of bathing beauties. Unfortunately, I can’t march in their procession. Growing up, everyone in my family struggled to keep their weight down. My childhood saw a cornucopia of the latest, new-fangled, guaranteed-to-make-you-skinny diets. High-protein, low carb, all liquid, low-fat diets lay littered across a vast wasteland of lost and found pounds.
In the last 10 years, this pattern remains unchanged. Biting the bullet, I lost 15 lbs. Heady with success, I gained back 17 pounds. Getting back on the horse, I dropped 12 pounds. One year later I gained back 10. With so much success and then failure, I have lost a great deal of confidence in my ability to keep these excess pounds off. Sound familiar? Researchers have come to the conclusion that dieting does not work. Yes, dieters do lose weight. But they tend to gain it back. Our hunter gatherer bodies want us to be “opportunistic eaters”—periods of starvation (low calorie diets) are followed by an increased appetite when food is available (or the diet is over). Evolution is the enemy. While there are many theories about why adults and children struggle with being overweight, it is not really well understood from a scientific perspective. But vanity is well understood. Looking in the mirror, comparing human bodies with one another, and coming up short, is familiar territory. Too many children and adults feel bad about themselves because of unwanted extra pounds. Roller-coaster dieting makes us feel even worse when we gain back the weight we lost. Unfortunately, many people gauge their self-esteem with a tape measure. There must be another way.
- Maintaining a healthy weight comes from constructing a healthy lifestyle. Each person much design their own recipe for fit living. Borrow ingredients from books, magazines, and friends, but combine them in your own way.
- A healthy, balanced life, brings a reasonable waistline as one of its rewards.Often it involves adding (or subtracting) one ingredient at a time.
- Taking care of yourself, cultivating a gentle, generous attitude towards self, and finding balance are important elements for a healthier life.
- The process of moving toward greater health, both mental and physical is often slow.This path does not progress in a straight line. Rather, it circles around, and goes up and down over rough, mountainous ground. Usually, it is hard going. This trail towards health and balance is not clearly marked, and requires extensive trial and error. Ultimately, it requires patience, tenacity, and trust in yourself.
Share your quest for a healthy lifestyle!