To be healthy requires physical and mental health. The English word “health” comes from the Old English “hale”, meaning wholeness, being whole, sound or well. To have sound physical health, you need to nourish your body with food food and be physically active. To have sound mental health, you need to take time for meditation or devotionals and have a positive way to handle stress. A famous Latin saying sums up healthy perfectly, Mens sans in corporeal sano. It means, A healthy mind in a healthy body.
Clothing size is not indicative of health. It can be a great measure of progress for someone changing to a healthy lifestyle. Genetics can play a big role in clothing size. We all know someone who eats pizza, drinks alcohol, has never exercised, and wears a size 0. Physically, she isn’t healthy. She doesn’t meet the requirements of being active or nourishing her body. She qualified as “skinny-fat”. Her risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high body fat percentage are the same as someone who is obese. Just as easily, a size 14 woman may have been a 26 W. She’s gotten active, changed what she eats, and begun meditating. She is off her blood pressure medication and her cholesterol medicine dosage has decreased. Her body fat percentage is above the healthy range, but decreasing. She is healthier than the skinny-fat woman in a size 2.
There are several different body types, making a cookie-cutter shape impossible. Also, while we can do a lot, or not do, to affect our size, some are affected by medical issues beyond our control. The woman too sick to exercise because of chemo and the girl on high blood pressure medication at the age of 23, for no other reason than her mom has it too won’t fit into a mold.
The healthiest, most effective way to lose weight is to exercise more and eat appropriate portions. For the average person, your weight is all about math. Calories in and calories out. You need to eat an extra 3,500 calories to gain a pound. You need to expend an extra 3,500 calories to lose a pound. Barring medical issues, making healthy-sized food choices and leading an active life will help you lose weight effectively. I encourage calorie counting, for a period of time to learn how much you are eating. Even more long term, keeping an attitude log and wearing a heart rate monitor are effective weight loss tools. In the attitude log, one records your food intake, feelings, and calories burned during work outs.
Model size, for the average person, is not healthy. I recently read an article about women wanting to achieve a gap in their thighs. The article went on to explain how it is genetic to have such a gap. With body type differences and genetics, no one size is ideal for all women. Just like in every profession, some models are healthy while others are not healthy.
A healthy body mass index for females is 18.5-24.9. Your BMI is configured by taking your weight in kilograms devided by your height in meters, squared (imperial weight in pound devided by height in inches, squared multiplied by 703). BMI doesn’t take into account a genetically thin build, conversly it doesn’t account for a bigger athletic build. It is an indicator of under weight, healthy weight, and over weight in the majority of people.
It seems that women gain weight easier than men, and men seem to lose weight earlier as well. I think that women don’t gain weight easier though. Men are naturally larger than women, which means they require more calories to maintain their current weight. So a man and woman can eat the same things, and the woman would gain more weight. Biology shows men have more testosterone than women. Testosterone and body fat are conversly related, the more testosterone the lower one’s body fat percentage. Women are more likely to do the prepping and cooking of food for a household. Often times, this leads to nibbling and snacking. Another difference is in the foods men and women tend to gravitate towards. Men like to eat meat and women like to binge on carbohydrates. Protein and carbs are processed by our bodies differently, and carbohydrates lend more to weight gain.
Men and women often approach unwanted weight gain differently. Males are more likely to see the number on the scale higher than desired and make the desicion to correct the situation. They begin to eat less and get more active. Women are more likely to beat themselves up when the scale shows an unfavorable number. This type of behavior kills one’s self esteem and will power, making weight loss much harder to accomplish. Men lose weight faster than women for much of the same reasons.
Finance and weight loss are similar in that they are both about numbers. When you want to create a budget, the first step is to record every penny that comes in and every penny you spend. My advice on weight loss starts the same. Track every calorie eaten and every calorie expended. Next, you need to create three positive rules to focus on, using your rules, write a meal and work out plan. Help ensure follow through on the plan by keeping an attitude log. Find accountability.
Examples of rules can be: Drink 100 ounces of water. Eat fruit before lunch. All food will have 5 ingredients or less. An attitude log includes pictures or written word of food consumed, feelings at meal times, and calories burned in work outs.
For accountability, hire a personal trainer, join a weight loss support group, utilize social media, find a friend to check in on your progress, whatever will help motivate you to stay on track.
Once you reach your goal weight, continue to eat balanced meals consisting of real food. Fruits and veggies, lean veggie sources, and healthy fats are all essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Foods to avoid, during weight loss and maintenance are processed foods. While it is true that everything in okay in moderation, you aren’t deprived if you abstain from ice cream, potato chips, and pizza. Actually, you can make all three of my examples using real food, without losing any flavor.