Stop Trying To Lose Weight

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

I know that statement looks weird. It probably appears as the opposite of what I’ve been saying all this time. I have this weight loss conversation with my clients in time. Isn’t the result of all this running and jumping, lifting and lowering, pushing and pulling, sweating and stretching to weigh less?

Not really. Follow me here.

There are numerous markers of health and fitness. Although weight is often one of the most commonly used markers, it is not the “be all and end all” of health or fitness.

We Change From the Inside Out

When I see my doctor for my annual physical, and you should do this too, the doctor orders blood tests for me. What they see there is more pertinent to my health and fitness than my weight. In more cases than not, a change in your internal health comes before a change in your weight. So I look for numbers like my HDL, LDL, triglycerides, a1c, to tell me how I’m doing. For example, ten years ago, my HDL was 39 and my doctor told me she would like to see it at 41, so I needed to do more cardio. Today, my HDL is 51. I’m heading in the right direction. Twelve years ago, my first client came to me with a goal of getting pregnant without developing gestational diabetes. That was the first time I had to say what I’m saying to you now. She stuck to the task and did everything I asked, and 10 months later was 40 pounds lighter and ready to have an uncomplicated pregnancy. 

Not All Weight Gain is Bad or Permanent

Medically, your body can be divided into two categories – fat mass, and lean body mass.

Fat mass is, well, fat.

Lean body mass is everything else – muscle, bone, blood, brain.

Your goal? Increase the percentage of lean body mass and decrease the percentage of fat mass in your body. This does not happen uniformly. This why quite often many of my clients see the numbers on the scale go up for a period before falling. You’re not failing if the number on the scale goes up. Especially if you’re doing any kind of structured weight training program, you are most likely gaining lean body mass before the fat leaves.

Focus On These Markers

So you’re involved in a structured training program and eating guide that your trainer has designed for you, but you’re still wondering about your progress. Give the scale a break and look at these. Are your strength and endurance increasing? Are you moving better or are common tasks getting easier to complete? Are you recovering from training sessions faster? Are you feeling more energetic and is your thinking clearer daily? These are I would argue more critical markers of improving health that you should work for instead of just a lower number on the scale. I want you to focus on these and stop trying to lose weight.

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