Let me tell you a story. It’s a story ’bout a man named Ted. Well, technically it’s about Ted and his house.
Ted built a beautiful house. It was constructed well and designed perfectly for his family. But over the years, the house began to wear and run down. It wasn’t going to be condemned or anything like that, but it was showing the normal signs of wear and tear.
The paint on the outside was dull and faded. The carpets were worn and stained. A small leak in the roof was dripping down into the laundry room. You get the picture. You see, Ted hadn’t been keeping up with the maintenance the way he should and now the beautiful home that he loved was looking pretty shabby.
The first thing that Ted did was run out to the hardware store and buy some flashy yellow paint. Then he painted the living room. It gleamed. It glowed. The house was beautiful again. Sort of…
After a week Ted really found that the yellow paint in the living room wasn’t making the house beautiful. So he ran on down to the hardware store and looked at paint chips. “Wow,” he said. “This neon orange ought to do the trick!”
So he repainted the living room in neon orange. It gleamed. It glowed. In fact, it hurt your eyes just to look at it.
And so the cycle repeated itself. Every couple of weeks Ted would run out and try a different colour of paint for the living room. It made him feel better about his house for a while, but then it would start to look shabby to him again. Nothing that he was doing was making the house better. In fact, the house was getting worse.
Weight Loss is Like a House
I’m sure that you’ve recognized that the story of Ted’s house is an allegory. No one who was looking after their house would think that repainting the same room over and over would be sufficient to maintain the whole house.
Yet when it comes to weight loss we often fall for the trap of focusing on one aspect of our body. We join a gym and go nuts on the exercise equipment, usually focusing on either cardio workouts or strength workouts. But we neglect other areas.
The fact is that you need to take a more inclusive approach to losing weight. Just cutting back on the calories you consume will help us lose some weight in the short term. But it affects your body in ways that make further weight loss difficult and even cause health problems.
There are 4 major areas that you need to look at in achieving your healthy weight.
Your body is a well designed machine. But it has been designed to be efficient at the tasks that it is asked to do. If you do not exercise then the muscles, joints and even bones will atrophy. Your lungs and heart will be weaker since they are never called upon to work hard.
Exercise is an important part of making your whole body stronger. You also need to remember that different types of exercise are important. Focusing on cardio at the expense of muscle development (or vice versa) has serious health implications. You function at your best when you have a good balance of both.
The biggest benefit of building up your muscle mass (at least from a weight loss point of view) is that muscle burns energy. It increases your metabolism and helps you to burn off the fat. So just burning or reducing calories has less effect than increasing your metabolic rate.
This is another area where people tend to get out of whack. Fad diets that eliminate one type of nutrient (low fat/low carb) or focus exclusively on a special food (grapefruit diet) fail to take into consideration the balance of nutritional needs of your body.
Fat and protein often have a bad rap today. They have more calories per gram than carbohydrates. That is an undeniable fact. But they also contain vital amino acids, proteins and other building blocks that your body cannot grow without. Your body does not break the fat and protein down for energy unless there is more building blocks than it needs. So the caloric content of fat and protein is not the most important fact to consider.
You do need to keep in mind that not all fats (nor all carbohydrates for that matter) are good for you. Some will affect your health negatively and are best to be avoided. Just don’t fall into the trap of eliminating all fat/protein/carbohydrate from your diet. Your body needs all of them.
There are two important things to remember about rest. The first is that you need to get enough sleep every day to allow your body to function at it’s best. Sleep is the time that your body and brain work to repair damaged tissue amongst other things. If you don’t get enough sleep then your body will not be able to rebuild itself properly. Over time you will begin to see the effects of this.
You also need to consider the resting time that you provide for your body between workouts. People get fooled into thinking that if a little bit of something is good then a lot is better. Your body needs to rebuild damaged muscle tissue after a serious workout. It is very important to give your body the time it needs before another workout.
Finally, you need to consider your spiritual self. I’m not talking just about religion here — that is part of it though. I’m talking about spiritual and emotional factors here.
You need to take some time to get in touch with your inner self as well as being in touch with God. We all have different notions about who or what God is (or if there is such a thing) but regardless of your concept of God, it is important that you spend time connecting spiritually.
Your spirit is the source of joy and peace in your life. It is the place where you can combat stress. And you’ll be learning a lot more about how harmful stress (and other negative emotions) can be to your physical body. Learning to deal with them in a positive way will help your body to be healthier and stronger as well.
So, if you want to lose weight and stay healthy, then you need to focus on many different areas of your life. You need to make some serious lifestyle changes.