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Should weight loss be a goal? Or is healthy living where it's at?
• James Fell Mon Sep 05 2011
Internationally-renowned obesity researcher Dr. Arya Sharma – a man I admire – thinks that weight loss should NOT be a goal. I’m inclined to agree with him.
Dr. Sharma explains how behaviour change is focused around goal setting, and that weight loss is not a behaviour. I’ve written before about the need to focus on process goals (behaviours) to achieve outcome goals (weight loss / improved health / increased performance), but I still agree with the basic argument about not having weight loss be a goal – at least not a serious one.
The reason why is that I have always stated that you need to focus on the behaviours that lead to the results. Not just focus on them, but embrace them fully.
There is also the fact that I really don’t like scales. We have one, and I practically never use it. The kids are the only ones who do, and it’s because they’re excited about growing and gaining weight.
One of the reasons I don’t like scales is because they lie. If you are, uh, a little backed up, or retaining water, or have gained muscle, then the scale can fluctuate a lot, and even though your body fat percentage is going down, seeing the numbers on the scale either not move or go up can be de-motivating.
More importantly, however, is that I think in order to be successful at behaviour change long-term you need to transcend the whole concept of weight loss. Healthy living is really where it’s at. You need to relish in how good it feels to kick butt at exercise, as well as desire to fuel your high-performance body with an appropriate amount of healthy food.
These are behaviours that make you feel good, they make you healthy, and they do lead to weight loss, but that last one is just a side benefit.
There are so many other benefits to embracing healthy living that I think it’s beneficial to reduce the stress of being overweight by just deciding to say, “To hell with the scale.” Focus on loving the fact that you’ve become a nutrition-conscious workout warrior and the excess body fat will take care of itself.
Bathroom scale be damned.
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