I talk to women who think they should lose weight, almost every day.
But have you considered that you actually may not need to lose weight?
I get it, there are people who really would benefit from losing some weight, because it would make them healthier.
Yes, I am aware that there are people who say that your bodyweight doesn't matter at all, but I disagree with it. Some people would do better if they lost some weight. Excessive bodyweight does put a lot of pressure on the joints. It makes moving hard. It can affect the quality of someone's life, if they can't do the things they'd like to — like hiking, playing with their kids, walking or jogging and more.
I'm happy to help people with their diet and exercise so they can learn how they could lose some weight if that makes their lives better.
But many people, and the majority of my community, don't actually need to lose weight. Yet they are still chasing the high school weight or are going out of their way to lose the last 10 lbs... Without any real reason.
Have you ever thought, why do you so desperately need to lose this weight, even of it doesn't affect your health?
What does it give you?
And most importantly: Is it worth what it's going to cost you?
Is it worth doing the things you need to do, in order to achieve it (some of the most common things are restricting calories, adding an extra workout to your day, saying no to eating out, thinking about calories all the freaking time… think about spending all the mental energy!)?
I personally don't want to go out of my way to lose weight so that I can… lose some weight?
I want to eat what I like to eat, go out once in a while, have my daily chocolate, work out 3-4 days a week, trust my own hunger and satiety signals, and feel good. I want my health to be balanced. I don't want to give up on chocolate or wine or never have rest days. I've learned that restricting my food and especially overdoing the exercise, will always cause my health to suffer.
Let me tell you… You probably don't have to worry so hard about your weight either. Below are some common reasons why women think they need to lose weight, while it may be completely unnecessary for them. Do they sound familiar?
I need to get back to my high school weight!
In high school, you were 16-18 years old. You were a girl, not a grown up woman. Your body was different, it wasn't even fully developed yet!
You had less stress in your life. Your only job was probably to go to classes and do your homework. No long work days, worrying about your finances, no kids, nearly no stress.
Think about your life now. You're older. You're a woman, not a teenager anymore. You have a job, maybe two jobs. Maybe you have kids. You work hard and you still may have financial issues. You need to take care of others, not just yourself.
To sum up: In high school, your body was still a young girl's body. Your life had much more freedom and much less stress than you have today.
There's simply no explanation to why you should weigh the same that you weighed in high school. Some people do, and that's fine, but others don't. Getting back to your high school weight really isn't the best reason to want to lose weight.
But the BMI chart says I'm unhealthy!
The BMI chart doesn't say anything about your health.
It's not reliable for couple of reasons.
It doesn't take into account people's body composition. Elite athletes who carry large amounts of muscle, are often overweight. They don't worry about losing weight just because of the BMI scale says they should.
Being in the “normal” range does NOT automatically mean that you're also healthy. But that's the main thing you should really care about — whether or not you are healthy. Your weight cannot define that.
There are many people who are in the “normal” range but are unhealthy. I've been there. I didn't have a period, I couldn't sleep, I was always constipated, always cold, and had no libido at all. My BMI was 22, right in the middle of the “normal” range!
It wasn't until I got to the very end of the “normal” range that my symptoms disappeared and I finally started feeling better. From there, I put on a little more weight, meaning my BMI was now in the “overweight” category. But I was healthy.
Don't use the BMI chart to measure your health. It can be really inaccurate. Instead, focus on how you feel. Do you have enough energy, is your period coming every month, is your thinking clear, how's your hair and nail growth, how do you feel overall? These things are far better indicators of good health than your BMI is.
But she is as tall as I am but weighs less!
We're all put together little differently. When you look around you, you see all kinds of body types. There are wider hips and smaller waists, there are broader shoulders and longer legs, there are bigger bellies and smaller breasts…
Also our musculature are really different. Some people put on muscle quickly and have a little bulkier look. Others don't gain muscle quickly, even when they work hard, and yet others don't even care about putting on muscle. There's no right or wrong way to be — so long as you don't compare yourself to others.
It doesn't make sense to compare our weight to those why have different bodies than we do. And even to those whose body types are the same! There are so many factors that determine our weight.
Let's focus on taking the best care of our bodies, by eating and moving well and doing the things we love to do. The fact that your girlfriend weighs 10 lbs less than you shouldn't affect your relationship with your body and how you care for it.
But I have to reach my “ideal” weight!
This “reason” to lose weight is the one that makes the least sense to me, because this number is usually pulled out from thin air and is based on nothing.
How do you know what your ideal weight is?
You don't, your body knows.
Here's how your body knows: That's the weight where your body settles at, without excessive exercise but moving just enough; without food restriction but still eating enough nutritious food; and while keeping all your body functions up and running. That means, your digestion is good, you sleep well, you get your period and you feel energized most of the time — your health is really balanced.
This is your body's ideal weight. Many people are there already — their bodies function perfectly well, but they're still thinking they need to lose weight. As a result, they may not feel that well anymore!
Like I said before, some people really do need to lose weight to get to that healthy point. Many overweight/obese people do not have the energy they want to have, they can't move the way they want to, and their physical body may suffer. In that case, some weight loss may be a good idea. However, that's NOT all of us.
I am not anti weight loss, if it's helping people to get healthier. Definitely not.
But in a lot of cases, weight loss doesn't really make us healthier. We simply overthink our weight and believe that we still need to lose more. We make excuses or find “reasons” why we think we need to lose weight. But getting back to your high school weight, fitting in the “normal” category on the BMI chart, comparing your weight to someone else's and simply picking a random number that we've decided represents our ideal weight, are really no good reasons for weight loss.
Let go of these irrational reasons, fuel your body well, move the way that makes your body feel great, and you don't even need to step on the scale to prove that you're doing awesome.