Before we get into a specifics, let’s clarify some basics. Most of you are probably used to the term “weight loss” and are ready to do whatever it takes to see that number of the scale drop. Your body is composed of fat, muscle, water, bones, connective tissue and other organs. You are overweight because you have more fat stored than is optimal. So when you say you want to lose weight or look better, what you really want is to lose the excess fat. Not the water or muscle or bones or organs but the fat. So weight loss is not what you should be looking for. “Fat loss” is.

But let me ask you this – why do you want to lose fat in the first place? For some of you it probably is doctor recommended, for some others it’s about becoming healthy as a preventive mechanism and for the rest it’s about look good for someone or something. In essence, the point of fat loss is health. Even if looking good is your goal, why do you think you want to look good? Because, as nature intended, looking good is an indicator of feeling good. If you look good, it is assumed that you are healthy and hence are preferred over someone who doesn’t look good. Be it to find a mate or scare a predator, looking good is about health.

But is fat loss all there is to health? Absolutely not. If becoming healthy was as simple as losing a few kilos then you wouldn’t fall sick every few months or find 40 year old diabetics commonly.

Health is much more than fat loss. Health is about look, feel and function. Let me explain. Health is about feeling awesome all day every day. This means that everyday you wake up refreshed, don’t have any aches or pains, don’t have pills to pop, are able to digest and excrete easily, are full of energy throughout your day, are able to focus and stay productive and don’t need to struggle or pop pills to fall asleep. Health is about functioning at your optimal best all day everyday. This means that you are able to carry out activities of your daily life without whining, don’t find the need to sit every few minutes, have no problem walking for a couple of hours, don’t strain or hurt yourself carrying objects or doing chores, possess enough strength and energy to last through the work and domestic day and are, in general, happy to live through a typical day.

And finally, health is about looking like someone who feels awesome and functions at his/her optimal best.

So next time you fearfully look at your weighing scale, next time you whine about not losing
enough weight, tell yourself that that number is too insignificant to stress you out. Instead, ask yourself how good you feel and how well you’re able to function. If you feel and function well, it’s only a matter of time before you look well.

Note: This post was originally published in The Hindu MetroPlus

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