Why being healthy is more than losing weight
Over the past few years, I've learned that health is not simply fitting into clothes better or being confident in our bodies. It is a part of it, yes, but not the whole story. More often than not, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of health is to adjust the way our body looks. That's normal, I thought that too. Eventually, I learned that health isn't all about getting in shape alone or fitting in your calories for the day. Health is when we feel energized in the mornings, digest our food smoothly, and sleep soundly at night.
There's nothing wrong with starting with weight loss or a desire for physique change. But hopefully, the sustainable route is taken and doesn't stop with weight loss alone. With weight loss as the starting point, there are a thousand ways to do this wrong. Some may try starving themselves, doing crash diets, take magic pills, or even have several "detox" juice cleanses that are not even real detox. What usually happens is, people lose weight here due to the calorie deficit that happens but then they'd also gain it back as fast and even more. This is dangerous, unsustainable, and frustrating for anyone.
The only reason one may see "progress" with these quick-fix approaches is the sudden caloric deficit, meaning the calories being exerted out is more than the calories going in. But is it healthy? Definitely not. The right way to weight loss is one that is sustainable, nutrient-filled, and best of all, makes you feel good with full vitality. If your method causes you to starve, get sick, or even have a bad relationship with food, then think twice and switch to the sustainable route instead.
So what is true health and why is it more than losing weight?
1. Health is a holistic journey.
When we don't feel well, it's often not caused by a single factor alone which means a single pill to fix it all is also not the real solution. In Integrative or Functional Medicine, we look at health in an overall holistic approach. This means taking a look at gut health, sleep cycles, emotional balance, stress management, and more.
For example, skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, skin dermatitis and the like are not only treated on the surface level by applying cream or ointments. More often, these skin issues are connected to gut health as well as the immune system. I have skin dermatitis since I was 6 and back then, I was in search for the perfect lip balm and lotion for my chapped lips and dry legs. But no matter what I apply, it can only relieve my skin rashes for a while but not really get rid of it long term. Eventually, I noticed that my skin would dry up so much whenever I sleep late or eat certain foods. This just shows how seemingly unrelated factors affect our skin!
2. Nourishing our bodies is not the same as fitting in calories
If calorie deficits can make one lose weight, the same calorie numbers alone aren't enough to nourish our bodies. Nourishing our bodies means giving it the vast rainbow of nutrients to keep it strong and healthy! We've always heard the saying, "eat your vegetables." But why should we?
It's because these vegetables give so much nutrients to our bodies. More often, we're obsessed with knowing the right mix in macros that we forget the micronutrients. Take a look at this example. It's 2.5 pcs of Kisses chocolate compared with 1.7 cup of Kale. They may both have 56 calories. But check out the micronutrient it gives. Kale provides 559.2mg of potassium, 569.5% of vitamin A, 136.7% of vitamin C, 170.9% of Calcium and so on compared to a few pieces of chocolate!
So yes, the chocolate may fit the calories, but it doesn't nourish the body the way kale does. This doesn't mean chocolates are 100% off the picture. As always, the keyword to rebalancing health is BALANCE!
3. Good nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle will naturally lead to a healthy weight
When we incorporate more greens or the colorful nutrients into our lifestyle combined with daily movement and exercise, it's surprising how smart our body is. Our bodies will reach its healthy weight, without us even trying too hard or starving ourselves.
The reason behind this is healthy whole foods aren't filled with extra ingredients that fill up calories and make us feel bad. There are no unpronounceable ingredients, extra flavorings, colors, or preservatives. The next time you go grocery shopping, aim to go to the unpackaged section. That's where most of the nutrients lie-- just open and ready for us to consume.
Having good nutrition is not simply another diet, it's a way of life. It may sound cheesy but it really is. Say goodbye to binging, feeling guilty, and doing restrictions over and over again. Unlike the countless diets many do just to achieve weight loss, seeing health as holistic will naturally lead towards a healthy weight. And no, you won't gain all what you lost right back. It's the healthiest way to get in shape!
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Now more than ever, immunity is sought after by most. A common question asked is, how can I improve my immune system? How do I ensure I'm healthy?
One of the surest ways to up the immune system is by ensuring the gut is in top shape. It may seem like a far correlation but there's really a close connection between the immune system and the gut. Let me explain how that connection goes.