Are you obsessed with weight loss and body image? I believe this obsession has us often looking for a magic pill: the pill curing all life’s problems. A pill that promises a quick solution to perceived problems and issues, especially if it involves getting in shape. A pill to bring a longer, healthier life and quick results.
Fitness and wellness programs are being sought more than ever before. In 2019, Business Insider reported the fitness industry at $100 billion globally. One reason people are becoming more health conscious and partaking in active fitness regimes is the increased cost of health insurance and medical services. After all, working your way to good health is significantly more cost-effective than seeking treatment.
Even with the recent effects of closures, the industry has shifted to digital and more personal consulting type services. According to a US Weight Loss & Diet Control Market study, the weight loss industry hit a peak in 2018, growing 4% to $72 billion. Weight loss companies are shifting and changing directions. Wellness is a big focus today and meal replacements and home delivery meals have become more popular than ever. Even the prescription obesity drug market is a $655 million market and weight loss surgeries make up a $5.98 billion market.
As the number of overweight Americans continues to rise, it is expected for many to turn to weight loss services to achieve their fitness, weight, and nutritional goals. Unfortunately people often become desperate and turn to extreme diets or fitness programs. Although it took time to put the excess weight on, they want it off fast and without challenge. So begins the latest programs that promise quick weight loss results, which can be appealing, but they also often overlook the principles of long-term, sustainable, healthy eating and exercise.
So where to begin? I want to talk about an alternative way of thinking. Let’s start with the magic pill. The magic pill represents moving more and eating less. Burning calories and watching our food intake is the magic to losing those extra pounds. It sounds hard and depriving, but you don’t have to starve and become a marathon runner.
It’s also important to become aware of what you are eating and drinking with a journal or food diary. Knowing the quantity you are putting into your body will help you understand where you are and what you need to change. Use a calorie calculator to see how many calories you need. There are many tracking apps on the market which makes it easy to see what you are consuming and how much you are burning. Know what you want to accomplish and write a mission statement. For example, “I want to lose 20 pounds in the next six months by decreasing my calorie intake by 500 per day.” What you are putting into your body calorie-wise may surprise you and push you to change your diet. It may also shock you to see how little you are moving throughout your day.
Start burning more calories by moving your body! Before you start an exercise program, ask yourself how active you want to be. Regardless of whether your weight loss and body image goals, check with your physician about your overall health and discuss any risks involved. Small movements throughout the day add up and the cumulative effect is an increased metabolic rate. If you sit a lot, then get up on a regular schedule to move around. No need to begin a hard training program or to run miles around your neighbor—begin with walking and enjoy the scenery while you burn some calories and get in tune with your body. Before you know it, you will feel more energetic.
While you are moving around, go get some water and drink it. Our bodies need water and it will help you burn more calories and suppress the appetite, especially if you drink it before meals. By consuming enough water, you’re helping your body function better and improving your overall health. The Mayo Clinic recommends about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Resistance training builds muscle and promotes fat loss. It also improves resting metabolic rate, which means your body burns energy faster when you are not moving. It is also noteworthy that 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65 by 2030, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Bone, muscle, and functional loss represents health risk in this demographic, so resistance training becomes even more important. “Resistance training can positively affect physical functioning, mobility, independence, chronic disease management, psychological wellbeing, as well as quality of life and healthy life expectancy,” says Mark Peterson, PhD, FACSM, and associate professor at the University of Michigan-Medicine.
Moving your body also helps exercise your mind! By engaging in physical activity we strengthen the hippocampus, which is the key part of the brain for memory. Physical activity also helps with the growth of new blood vessels throughout the brain, which leads to better blood flow and performance. Regular physical activity also helps with the normal aging process and is excellent in other ways, like preventing disease.
In addition to all of these other benefits, exercise also works to lift your mood to help you feel more balanced and confident. In fact, several people I have worked with see improved health benefits over a brief period with slight changes to their everyday life. Even better, once you see and feel positive results you want to continue! It’s a win-win-win for your body, health and mind. By changing what you do using the principles of long-term, sustainable healthy eating and exercise, you will see positive changes. So, prescribe a magic pill for yourself and look forward to seeing results.
Ready to get started? Check out more tips on Staying In Tune With Your Body.
Robin Anne Griffiths is a published author, certified master development coach, personal trainer and behavior change specialist. Her company ReCharge Me Zone works with groups and individuals on life transitions to create personal balance – physically and mentally.