According to the CDC, over 1/3 of the United States is Obese! Another 1/3 is listed as overweight. If math is your thing, then you realize that only leaves 1/3 of the population as healthy. That probably isn’t news to you… or at least not that there is a problem. You’ve heard it before. But what you aren’t hearing is about how bodies cannot support the weight they are being asked to carry. You aren’t hearing how many cancers are directly related to obesity and even more to lack of exercise.
When most people decide to start moving more and eating better, they have laser like focus on one thing: watching the numbers on the scale go down. Or its variation: trying to fit in a particular size of clothing. Everything is great for a while. Until the body does what bodies do: plateau. The body is designed to maintain homeostasis, which as you learned in science class, everything is nice and steady. In other words, things are staying the same.
When people are so focused on a number, and/or wearing a new size, and a plateau hits, motivation quickly flags. Annnd, at least for a short while, people will stress out about the scale. But if you didn’t read yesterday’s Post on how stress affects weight loss, you should. For a long (ok…looooooooong) time, getting my dream body was all I could think about. After losing so much and being so close to my goal, it seemed like I could just sort of will myself to make it happen if I was determined enough. The more I obsessed, the worse things got. And truth: I actually started gaining fat (yes, I had a skinfold assessment done…it wasn’t muscle!) when I was obsessing about it. But after people get tired of obsessing, 9 times out of 10, they just plain give up. They decide it doesn’t work, and they go back to their old habits, which might or might not involve hours of butt sitting and gallons of ice cream.
Let’s talk about some other reasons why it’s so worth it:
- More Energy : the more you move and fuel your body properly, the more energy you will have. And the corollary is true: sit, and all you’ll want to do is sit. But proper fueling also has a huge impact on your energy levels! (And this is a place where someone who knows their stuff should help you with your meal plan.)
- Improved Immune System Function: Moderate exercise even a few times per week reduces the number of colds you are likely to get each year, and combine this with healthy eating where you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to do its work, and you’re a cold busting powerhouse!
- Better Stress Management: Because the 90’s flick “Legally Blond” says it better than I could: “I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” In terms of eating well, eating crappy food also stresses your body out. It’s having to work really hard to process some things, and it’s deprived of the nutrients it needs to do its work.
- Less pain and stiffness: Bodies are designed to move. Once they become sedentary, they don’t function properly. Many times when a client comes to me with knee or back pain, by time we’ve moved the problem area safely, they are amazed at how much less it hurts. Even my 87 year old grandmother experienced a big reduction in her low back pain after we had done some gentle exercises. But eating properly also plays a big role in the inflammation that causes joint pain. I’ll talk more about this later, but some foods actually promote inflammation, while others help keep it in check.
- Reduced risk of Chronic Disease and Cancer: You know that letting your body run wild leads to some of the big killers like Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Hypertension. But did you know that as many as 40% of all cases of cancer are related to obesity? Physical activity is directly correlated to reduced risk of Colon, Breast, Endometrial, Esophogeal, Liver, Stomach, and Kidney Cancer as well as cancers of the head/neck, bladder, and rectum, plus myeloid leukemia and myloma.
- Improved Libido, especially in women: I’m just gonna leave this right here and say that “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” You can take it from there!
- More ability to “do you”: I’m a firm believer that a person needs to be strong enough to do what they need and want to do to live their life. Exercise paired with correct eating means you’re strong enough to get that box off the top shelf or carry your purse without your shoulder coming out of socket or get off the floor after playing with your grandkids. If kayaking or trail blazing or whatever else is your thing, then taking care of your body will make sure you’re able to do, and keep doing, your favorite things.
Think carb are your worst enemy? Read tomorrow’s post!