Is weight an effective measure of health?

At this time of year I am frequently reminded how the diet industry has created a weight monster in us all.

Time and time again I speak to people whose main aim and goal is to lose weight, because they think that by losing weight they will be happier; feel satisfied; be able to spend more time running around with the kids or get the job that they want, but actually what we learn is that losing weight isn’t what is going to give them all these things, what we should all be striving for is improved health and this is what is going to help us with our goals. 

My number one tip is ‘eat for health not weight’

We’ve all had it drummed into us for years that we need to reduce the amount of calories we eat in order to lose weight – less calories in more calories burned and you will lose weight.  Yes, scientifically speaking, that’s true, but what is the impact on our health if we are just eating less calories?

For example, if I eat 1000 calories of McDonald’s fries or I eat 1000 calories of whole grains and vegetables how better fed am I going to be? How better nourished am I going to be and how much healthier am I going to be?

In my opinion calorific measure is not enough when we are trying to fuel our bodies.  Our bodies do AMAZING things and they need energy to be able to do those things and energy comes from nutrients and calories.  Restricting calories and focussing on calorie content is counter intuitive, what we need to focus on is upping nutrients, ensuring we are eating a strong well balanced diet.

Counting Calories
Counting Calories?

Denial doesn’t work – your body needs food!

Your body needs food, your gut will send messages to your brain saying ‘feed me I’m hungry’ – What it means is ‘I need those extra nutrients’ or ‘I’m low on Vitamin C’.

Unfortunately, when we feel hungry our body isn’t telling us that it needs certain nutrients or vitamins it’s just saying, ‘feed me’.  We are hard programmed to enjoy salty, sweet, crunchy, fatty foods, and that what the food industry provides us with.  So when you body shouts ‘feed me now’ we often end up eating something convenient and quick.  The problem is that it probably doesn’t contain anything that your body is craving – so the hunger signals continue. A recipe for being over fed and under nourished.

So, what’s the answer?

When you are choosing your food, think about what you have eaten already or what you will be eating for the rest of the day.  What does your body need?  Think about having foods from different groups, have you had protein, whole grains, nuts, seeds? Each different coloured vegetables and fruit contains different phytonutrient so the wider variety of colours the more nutrients your body gets. You will feel well fed and nourished rather than hungry and tired.

Stop thinking about the ‘goal’ weight and start thinking about how healthy you want to feel, because when you feel healthy you will find that you are less bothered about what the scales are saying.  You will have more energy and vitality and, if you need to, you will lose weight. It’s a natural balance between being well fed and well nourished.

The key is stop thinking about the scales, focus on the quality of the food you are eating and when you do eat healthy then excess weight does tend to go naturally.

Be honest – would you be happy being half a stone heavier than your ‘goal’ if you were healthier?  If you had more energy?

Tips for eating for your Health:

  • Cook fresh food
  • Eat more nuts & seeds
  • Eat more variety
  • Plan your meals
  • Don’t weigh yourself!

If you would like to hear more about my thoughts on dieting tune into my weekly Ditch the Diet podcast.

I am a trained nutritional adviser with a passion for helping people find solutions that work for them, to enable them to eat better and feel better.  I have an amazing membership site where we tackle a different subject each month.  There are vidoes and tips for you to download and a free weekly recipe.  For more details click here.

And if you would like information on my 1-1 programs please contact me directly.

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