It happens whenever New Year’s Resolutions or summer is coming around — Suddenly, there’s a renewed commitment to weight loss, healthy eating, fad diets, or ongoing, purposeful physical activity. A summer body and “new year, new me” mindsets get people into the gym by the droves. People dream of healthy weights, flattering swimsuits, slimming down, and bulking up.
But then January fifth hits. June sneaks up. And those gyms are about as empty as before. There are a few that hold to their determination and commit to the healthy habits and lifestyle changes needed. But regaining health isn’t done with a fad diet; it’s done with healthy habits that are built and grown over time. Getting healthy shouldn’t be based on a weight goal for summer or the new year. It should be about building a body that will help you enjoy life and feel better. There are several ways to do that.
A SUMMER BODY OR A HEALTHY BODY?
Most people have a two-fold strategy for this new year or summer body. First, diet and weight loss. The key for most people is to lose weight. Only then will they be happy with their body. They pay too much attention to the number on the scale. But what if your body isn’t prepared to let go of the weight? Maybe the weight is there because of an underlying imbalance you aren’t aware of. You need to know what the roadblocks to weight loss could be.
If you take the time to get healthy, often, the weight comes off too. One thing to be sure of, there are plenty of unhealthy ways to lose weight. Some people try diets like keto or paleo when their body isn’t ready. Others will decide something about certain food groups. Whole grains, carbohydrates, low-fat, dairy products, lean meats, and more may be good or bad. People make sweeping decisions based on what they read. Other food choices revolve more around supposed health benefits. Maybe it’s to reduce or increase caloric intake or lower the risk of heart disease. It may be to avoid processed foods and lower your blood sugar and blood pressure. But there are plenty of consequences for your body when you try to achieve wellness the wrong way.
Healthy foods, eating habits, and supplements can be good for your body as long as they’re the ones your body needs.
How can Healthy Foods be bad for you?
The key to a healthy diet is realizing that every body is at a different place. What might help the health problems of one might hurt someone else. While ketosis may help one person, it won’t help everyone.
Yet, this is the approach public health takes when they say everyone needs whole grains or legumes for this or that reason. Registered dietitians and nutritionists talk about the health benefits of certain foods. So, when we’re in the grocery store and see this or that “superfood,” it goes into our cart.
But what happens if you’re allergic to that superfood? What happens if your body needs carbs, and your chosen fad diet is no carbs? What happens when your body needs healthy fats, and you pick a low-fat and lean meat diet? These choices will have effects. They’re not side effects; they’re negative effects.
This is why it’s critical to know how your individual Swiss watch is working. What eating patterns are best for you, that might not be optimal for someone else? How do you take care of your mental health while eating? Do you listen to, or ignore your cravings?
This is also why the food pyramid didn’t work. It didn’t show you how to eat to support your body. Your brain is made up of fat. Good, healthy fats are needed in other places throughout your body, too. Yet, the food pyramid said these were not necessary for health and shouldn’t be consumed every day. But it did promote eating things full of sugar—like fruits—5 to 7 times a day. MyPlate, which outlines the new dietary guidelines, is an improvement, but still has plenty of problems.
This is why we rely on testing to help us guide people in their food choices.
How to Exercise for a Summer Body
The second part of the strategy most people use is exercise. No one is more motivated than someone with a new gadget to keep track of the calories they burn. Add to that a new gym membership card and squeaky-clean running shoes? Yeah, this person is ready to sit down and shed all ten pounds today.
But is the “quick fix” or short-term weight management the best strategy for your body? Have you prepared your body to run miles on an elliptical? Lift massive amounts of weights? Lunge the length of the gym? On the first day? Without proper instruction? It may be time to slow the roll and consider what we are asking our bodies to do.
How to Exercise for Healthy Living
Remember step one. Are you fueling your body appropriately? You wouldn’t expect a jet to take you across the country with the same fuel you put into the family minivan. That is one quick way to cause more harm than good to the body you are trying to show off. If you’re eating your food allergens to fuel your workout, what’s happening? You’re forcing your body to work harder while it’s fighting inflammation. That’s going to drain your energy quickly. It’s also going to diminish your body’s ability to fight true invaders.
Learn to exercise the right way. Doing it wrong can hurt muscles, joints, and other structural parts of your body. It can cause those hormones to tank pretty quickly, too. You would hate for your body to get worse while you’re trying to do something to benefit it. Especially since exercising doesn’t automatically mean weight loss.
Most people make the mistake of either jumping in too fast and hard or not getting started at all. Don’t scorn humble beginnings—take those new shoes for a walk. Get the family involved in a dance party while you make dinner. That can be a way to conquer the hesitation that needing to prepare a healthy meal causes, too. Figure out the best way for your body to exercise. That may take a little guidance from someone who knows about both fitness and health.
Achieving a “new body” for the summer or the new year isn’t a healthy lifestyle. Don’t go for the “summer bod,” go for the “year-round bod.” Get your allergies and hormones tested before starting your new fitness adventure. Figure out what healthy living looks like for you. Contact a Wellness Way clinic today!