Why “Fat Loss” is a Bad Idea
These days, there’s much ado in the fitness/movement world is about “fat loss.”
There are pictures of six-pack abs in advertisements for short intense workouts that will,
“Get you a washboard belly in just 6 weeks!”
Yes, I know that obesity is a growing (no pun intended) health hazard around the world so who am I do say that fat loss is a bad idea? First off, I am fully aware that many people would be healthier and probably happier if they were not overweight or obese. The problem with fat loss though, is that it’s about loosing something instead of gaining something. Many of the ads for exercise programs promise to “torch your body and kill those fat cells.” One ad said, “Blast Your Fat, Carve Your Abs and Build the Best body of Your Life!”
Ouch! I never liked carving my own abs.
Where to focus instead?
Your efforts at self-improvement need to be focussed on moving better, gaining ability/strength and most importantly, feeling better/healthier. Because there’s a lot of fat shaming going on through advertisements that try to make you feel inadequate so you consume more, it’s probably easier to sell by harping on your guilt than it is to encourage you to feel better.
If you want to change something, say get in better shape, feel healthier or even the way you look, you’d be much better off gaining something rather than trying to lose something. Many people who want to make changes but haven’t been active would benefit most from learning to sense themselves and move better. A Feldenkrais Method, Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class combined with some regular walking would be an excellent “fitness program” if you’re starting to become active again.
Then you’ll begin to feel better, make healthier choices in other areas of your life (more sleep, less junk food perhaps) and enjoy life more, which is a great deal more important than torching those fat cells. If you want, you can go on to other activities that are both challenging and hopefully enjoyable.
Now you might be thinking, OK, that sounds reasonable but what is my ideal weight?
An online article, “Victory V’s Don’t Always Mean Victory,” from Outside Online on the topic of 6-pack abs being useless, gives a pretty good definition of ideal weight.
A good description of healthy weight,” Haubenstricker says, “is where you have the lowest risk for death and illness, and where it’s maintainable within your lifestyle.” That means you’re not overweight, which can set you up for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, among other things. And that means you’re not underweight either.
So the next time you’re eyes are assaulted by a photo-shopped model’s abdomen in an advertisement, just think of how good you’ll feel after your next walk or ATM class, and go on about your day.
Enjoy playing, walking or whatever makes you feel more alive!
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