Holistic Health (or, Find All of You to Lose Some of You)
Portia. I really don’t want to read about this. I’m just trying to figure out how to lose my belly and tone up.
OK, but let me be painfully truthful with you: even if you do lose weight, don’t expect your results to last, or to even be happy with the results you get… UNLESS you are paying attention to your wellness as a whole.
For many of us people who are or who have ever been obese, our weight (and weight fluctuation) is directly related to the amount of stress we experience, or were experiencing, and how we relieved that stress. For many of us this is through crunchy, soft, greasy, warm, cold, salty, sweet, or the feeling of being beyond full. In other words, we are using food for comfort and trying to eat the pain away!
But Portia, you can just work it off!
Well… I’m just gonna say no. Actually, I’m going to SHOUT it: NO! No, you can not.
Here’s a math problem for you: You get upset and go through the drive through, devouring about 2000 calories in one sitting. That’s a very rough estimate of your burger of choice, supersized fry, with a soft drink and a desert. The next morning, let’s say you go get on the step mill. You’re able to maintain a speed that shows you burning an estimated 500 calories an hour. How long must you be on that step mill to erase those calories from the drive through? I’ll tell you how long: NOPE. NAWL. You’ll be going until nuh uh O’clock. That’s how long. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, is getting on the step mill at around 100 steps per minute for four hours. Go do an hour of ANY cardio activity (let alone the step mill) and estimate your calorie burn by the machine count or My Fitness Pal. It’s likely you’re burning less than 500 calories. It’s more likely that whatever calorie counter you’re using is inaccurate to a certain degree, anyway. It’s also likely that you’re tired as all get out by the end of that hour. And, I won’t act like you don’t even know that more than 60 minutes of cardio at a time (even worse when done on a regular basis) will set you back even further on your fat loss goals for many reasons. But I digress…
Well why even try then?!
We try because obviously we know there is something that’s not right. We all have our reasons to lose weight, but you might have a need to resolve non weight issues, too. A way to figure this out is by taking a look at your WHOLE health.
Are you socially well, contributing to your family or community in some way? Are you emotionally well, accepting your feelings and processing them in a healthy manner? How is your intellectual wellness, or your ability and desire to expand your knowledge and skills? What about vocational wellness: your ability to earn a living or contribute your time, passions and talents on a regular basis? Is your spiritual wellness together? Do you have purpose and meaning to what you do in one way or the other? Not to be preachy, but how is your personal relationship with your idea of God? And finally, obviously, there is the physical dimension of wellness. Not just losing weight and looking good, but eating well (and enough… and not too much…), taking important medications, avoiding self-medication (overuse of drugs, alcohol, FOOD, etc.).
The search for looking good on the outside eventually leads us back to how we look on the inside. Trust me, you can lose as much weight as you want and STILL feel fat, or ill built, or not cute. Whatever! It is having holistic health and being serious about seeking balance in the other parts of our lives that can lead us away from unhealthy thoughts and actions, and closer achieving our weight loss goals. If When these are too big to handle alone—Trust me, they are—seek a combination of support systems. Friends, prayer, personal training or lifting buddies, counseling, support groups, educational reading, positive affirmation and other coping skills… go for it! Even if it seems silly, do the most simple things you can think of and start there. Remember, I’m all about them baby steps to make big things happen.
Special thanks to Ryan Castro, MS, PC/CR and his colleagues a well as Glenn Alves (hi, dad!) for the information and insight that inspired the content of this article.