Thursday, January 6, 2011

Losing Weight vs. Getting Healthy

I was talking with friend yesterday about the new Weight Watchers points plan and I was sharing my concern with the notion that all veggies and fruits are considered 0 points.  I think that there is danger in the concept that certain foods don't count or for that matter that all fruits and vegetables are created equal.  When people don't have a problem with food, self-regulation is automatic.  They know how to listen to their bodies cues that tell them they have had enough.  They can be one and done.  People who need to change their relationship with food have long since learned to ignore those cues.  We can eat until our stomachs are ready to burst.  "One and done? What's that?"  Now, it's better to eat lots of grapes rather than lots of cookies but LOTS of anything suggests that hunger is not the issue and that food is being used inappropriately.  Basically, it doesn't promote the development of a healthier relationship with food.  I must say that I'm not on Weight Watchers and I have not read all of the material on the new system, so if lots of attention is paid to servings, portions, eating until satisfied, etc. and not just calculating points that would alleviate my concern.

Then, later in the day, I was talking with another friend who is involved in a 30 day challenge about healthier living.  We began to discuss how there were other people involved in the challenge who had weight loss goals...some where 50 pounds, some 100, some just 20.  The interesting thing about the challenge is that it is sponsored or encouraged by Lean Cuisine and Skinny Cow.

My friend is using this challenge to change some of her eating habits...she's not really looking to lose weight, although she does want to get rid of her "mommy pouch," but she already sees that the products involved in this challenge do not necessarily promote health.  She looked at the Skinny Cow products and saw that they contain 18 grams of sugar in one serving of a little ice cream treat. That's from a product called "Skinny Cow".  If I'm someone who does not looks at nutritional labels and I buy this product thinking that I'm doing better by eating this than something else, I will be wondering in a few weeks why I'm not losing weight.  But that wouldn't be the products fault.  While it's deceptive there comes a point when, as consumers, we have to ask ourselves what our goals are...we have to ask ourselves the deeper questions about what we want for our lives.

I'm not sure at what point I internalized that my journey was to become more healthy and fit instead of just losing weight but it is a concept that I recently had to remind myself about.  The mindset is completely different. Losing weight is easy, you just have to use more calories than you take in.  In all honesty it doesn't matter HOW I do it...if I use more calories than I take in, I will lose weight.  That doesn't mean that what I'm doing is healthy, sustainable or will give me the actual results that I'm hoping for.

If I'm eating Lean Cuisine for every meal, as a couple in my friend's challenge have decided to do, the amount of sodium and chemicals that I'm ingesting is unimaginable.  I may lose weight, if I can truly stick with just eating a Lean Cuisine and not get hungry and eat other things as well but I will not be helping my body.  Further, if I'm someone who has a lot of weight to lose and I'm not considering fitness, I guarantee you that I  will not like the results of my weight loss.  I've been working out since I started and doing toning and I know that I need to do even more.

This is the time of New Year's resolutions.  We've all made them.  Some of us probably made some this six days ago and have already given up on them because change is hard.  We want to see results but we don't think about what we actually need to do to make it happen.  We lie to ourselves and say we just need to lose weight when in actuality we need a life overhaul.  I encourage everyone who is on a journey to lose weight to think about changing that goal to a journey to good health...the weight will follow if you are doing the things that will help you become healthier.  Health is about exercise and drinking enough water and controlling what you put into your body.  It's about getting enough sleep and reading nutritional label and paying attention to how your body reacts to different foods.  It's about establishing routines and systems that allow you to make healthier choices instead of choices of convenience.  It's about making your health and wellness a priority in your life regardless of the obstacles.


  1. Hmmm, I don't know about 0 points for veggies and fruits...after all potatoes are veggies, and I can eat the a-hole out of them for every meal. On top of that, I could probably sit and eat half a pineapple without blinking-400 calories can fill in the rest. For me, a very small part of my problem in getting obese was not reading ingredients, taking 'low fat low cal' as bond, and yet the major part of my problem was not reading what a 'serving' actually constituted. I ate ALOT of healthy food-3/4 pound of chicken, two cups of potatoes, a monstrous salad, half a pineapple, etc, and thought I was doing good. Fifty+ pounds later...I agree with you and think what it comes down to is taking responsibility for what YOU put in YOUR mouth, educating yourself about nutrition, and planning ahead. Good post.

    Polar's Mom

  2. I really like this post. Thank you. For me, while trying to lose weight for the nth time, eating healthy has been the secret. All those diet/heavily processed foods just didn't satisfy me and I was always hungry. So, I either couldn't stick with a diet or would gain back the weight. By trying to achieve good nutrition, I've been able to lose weight and feel great at the same time.