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Why Our Fat Loss Obsession Is Ruining Our Health

Apr 27, 2014 at 10:46 PM Chime in now

Joyful exercise

THINKSTOCK

There’s that saying, “If you’re breathing, there’s a hell of a lot more right with you than wrong with you.” This thinking, however, won’t help sell products in an industry that is focused on making us aware of what is wrong with our bodies.
 
There’s a reason HIIT is the number one fitness trend for 2014, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.  We are obsessed with fat loss -- it has become the main reason to engage in exercise.  We are fixated on engaging in exercise to change our bodies, but our obsession has had zero impact on obesity numbers or in reaching the 80-85% of the population that doesn’t move enough to maintain health. 
 
This is not how I want to work with my clients. I am so tired of the industry talk about caloric burning during exercise. Yes there is the optimal way to exercise for fat loss but, I’m much more interested in what will get the majority of our population moving regularly, not in creating six-pack abs. 
 
There’s a major paradox at play that I’ve seen work many times.  If sedentary people drop fat loss as a primary motivator for starting an exercise program, instead find a more fulfilling reason to start moving and sweating, they are more likely to continue moving and improving their health.
 
I’ve witnessed this at home with my partner.  He wasn’t super excited about his regular workouts at the gym (with me encouraging AKA nagging him to keep going).  Then he rediscovered something from his youth that he loved, a martial art called Kyokushin.  Now he can’t stop talking about what it’s done for his life on every level. The changes in his body are just a side benefit.
 
There are many intrinsically rewarding reasons to start moving:
·      Use exercise and movement to wake up and be present in our lives
·      Help transform or shed addictive behaviours
·      Bring light into parts of our bodies (and minds) that are asleep
·      Balance out our bodies after using them in dysfunctional ways all day
·      Find joy in the miracles of our bodies
·      Learn new and interesting physical skills
·      Strengthen our cardiovascular systems so we can go on runs or bike rides with our kids
·      Focus on functional physical resilience.
 
Mark my words: finding joy in movement is where things are really headed. If you’re having a hard time committing to an exercise program, find movement that is more about the feeling you experience as you’re doing it. Choose something that makes you feel excited when you think about it.  Follow your body’s joy and your health – and yes, possibly your waistline -- will follow.  
 
 Read More:
The One Thing Healthy Kids Need Most of All
Monogamy, Polyamory And Getting Your Mojo Back
Stop Your Self-Improvement Kick and Trust Your Instincts
Does Fat-Positive Feminism Help or Harm Health?

    


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