Contrary to myth, focusing on weight loss does NOT lead to eating disorders, body image problems and poor self-esteem to the great extent that it’s believed by many influencers.
The health at every size supporters paint the focus on weight loss as something sinister and conducive to psychological distress.
When I was a personal trainer, I had clients who were thrilled to see the fat coming off, and of course, for most personal training clients, fat loss is the No. 1 goal. Nothing at all wrong with that.
I also need to emphasize that what we really want to lose is FAT weight, not muscle weight.
“The human body simply functions at its best, within a range of weight that we would consider ‘low-risk’ by body mass index,” says Richard Kelley, MD, a practicing physician in Texas for 20+ years, and author of “The Fitness Response,” “The Three-Hour Appetite” and the ebook, “The Fitness Response ‘Diet’ for Women.”
BMI is a value relating body weight to height.
“I see it over and over again, that an individual who has high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or type II diabetes, are able to completely reverse these trends, when excess weight is lost,” says Dr. Kelley.
“Orthopedic issues improve, sleep apnea often resolves, asthma has been shown to improve.
“These are not insignificant findings. Weight loss in individuals who reside at ‘higher risk’ BMI, simply results in improvement in health.”
There are scores of women and men who report that their self-esteem skyrocketed as they dropped pounds, and that once they closed in on their fat loss goal, they felt so much better about themselves. They did this by focusing on losing weight.
The health at every size approach is that the self-esteem and depression problems arise when the excess pounds are not lost.
In other words, focusing on losing weight, but being unable to take off the pounds, is a detrimental combination that can wreak havoc on a person’s mind – this is the flawed reasoning of those who believe that a person with obesity can be healthy.
If you want to lose weight, you must focus on this as well as on health and fitness, because if you don’t focus on this, you will lose sight of your goal, and you will drift away from the correct techniques for permanent fat loss.
Dr. Kelley is a fitness enthusiast who is passionate about helping men and women lose weight with his program.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer for Bally Total Fitness.