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Do you Really Need to Lose Weight for Health?

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Learn about behaviours to promote your health.


A common mistake I see as a Dietitian and Fitness Coach is people striving to lose weight to "get healthy". Everywhere around us, the message portrays that to be healthy you need to be thin, not knowing that the pursuit of weight loss can contribute to poor health outcomes. But that's simply not true! First of all, your health is influenced by many different factors, many of them are out of your control such as air pollution, food environment, genetics, access to health care, and socioeconomic status. And second of all, people can be healthy regardless of their weight or size, it's suggested that participation in health promoting behaviours can reduce your disease risk irrespective of weight loss.

Health promoting behaviours are changes that you can make in your life which can improve your health (and none of these have anything to do with your weight).

Try implementing the following into your every day habits to better your health today!


#1 - Eat over 5 serves of fruit and veg


I know, I know this is the same old advice that's been drilled into you since pre-school. Everyone knows that they "should" be doing this, so let me tell you how.

  • Start by adding one extra serve a day. Try it for a week, then the next week try and add a little more. Avoid going all in and then burning out.

  • Add veg into your mixed dishes (pasta, Mexican, stirfry, curry), aim for at least 50/50 veg to meat.

  • Eat the veg you like, don't bother with the ones you don't. Only like a few? That's fine, we all start somewhere. It's better to eat the same veg over and over than to not have it at all.

  • Sneak it into breakfast by adding spinach to your fruit smoothie or making carrot cake oats.

  • If cost is an issue, utilise canned and frozen veg such as corn, peas, beetroot and tomato. It's cheaper, lasts longer, and maintains good quality.


#2 - Move your body


If you already exercise regularly, then great!

If you don't, here are some ways to start:

  • Go for a 10min walk when you get home from work everyday

  • Try a longer walk or run on the weekends

  • Every time you go to the bathroom, do 5 squats.

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator

  • Work your way up to 20min body weight circuits you can do while dinner is cooking

  • If it works for you, join a gym with a friend and try out a workout program.


#3 - Limit Alcohol


It is recommended to reduce alcohol to 1 standard a day (if you are currently over that intake). If you can, switch your choice of drink to a red wine.

If it suits you, you can reduce it even further to every second day or only on weekends, or occasionally on social events.

What you choose to do after reducing your intake down is completely up to you.


#4 - Quit smoking


Fortunately, the trend of taking up smoking is going down. If you currently smoke, it is never too late to quit. There are many helpful programs and tools available to support your journey of quitting. If you are struggling, quit.com can be a great place to start.


#5 - Get a good sleep


Sleep is essential for your brain, body, and emotional regulation. It is when your systems get to rest and clear out the build up of toxic by-products which naturally get created when you're active and awake. Compromising on sleep can compromise on your cognition, memory, emotional state, physical performance, and more.

Make sure you are well rested and prepped for the next day by getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep every night.

A great resource to learn more about the science behind a good nights sleep is the book, "Why we Sleep" by Matthew Walker.


Summary

So no, you don't need to lose weight to be healthier. Though participating in these behaviours is something you can do right now to improve your health.

If you need any support in eating healthier or getting into exercise, contact me or sign up to my coaching plans at https://www.foodfreedomhealthnutrition.com/plans-pricing.

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