Last night I was having an interesting conversation with one of our members at TF. We were talking about all of the different modalities that are available to help with weight loss. The topic itself is nothing new because I have had this conversation with many people before her. What was intriguing to me was one particular question she asked towards the end of the conversation.
We were talking specifically about prescription weight loss pills and the effects they have on your body. After a little chatter back and forth, she looked at me and asked “Why do people continue to take these pills when they never end up sustaining the weight loss?” In other words, once someone has lost weight from the prescription pills, why do they keep going back to them after they’ve put the weight back on?
I answered her question briefly, but I thought it was appropriate to expound on the topic some more. Luckily enough for you, this is the perfect outlet for spouting out our thoughts. So here it goes…
Another reason why the conversation was intriguing overall was the point of view that the member was giving. She has been a nurse for decades and has worked in many different aspects of the healthcare industry. So her point of view was not simply from someone who was curious about the topic. Her point of view was from someone who has seen countless surgeries go bad and countless numbers of people prescribed pills for weight loss. So her curiosity, considering her background, intrigued me as well.
The truth is, every single one of these modalities works when it comes to losing weight. No matter if it’s a sleeve or staple or pill or injection, all of these things get you to lose weight. It would be naïve of me to say otherwise. However, the often overlooked part of the equation is the connection between weight loss and actual health.
Although being a comfortable weight for your body is important for overall health, losing weight doesn’t actually mean being healthy. Yes, it takes you closer to where you need to be, but weight is not the ultimate predictor of health.
Let me give you a couple of examples. A while ago I wrote an article about health and bodybuilders. Most “regular” people at a gym would assume that the skinny person on the treadmill next to them or the big bulky guy in the free-weights section are healthy. Considering they both LOOK to be in good shape, they should also be healthy internally.
And the truth is, they do look in shape. Most people would look at someone skinny and say “yes, that person is in shape”. But shape is the relative term here. Shape, in the general sense, might mean looking a certain way. So, yes, a skinny person has the shape that a healthy person might have. But that person might be a smoker, have hypertension and be on insulin.
A bodybuilder can be looked at the same way. Bodybuilders typically have high muscle mass and low fat mass. These are both good things (of course, like everything else, there is point of diminishing returns). Most bodybuilders also eat a very specific, bland diet. They typically don’t get high amounts of veggies or fruits or any other nutrient dense foods for that matter. So it’s likely that many big, bulky people you see are extremely deficient in essential vitamins and minerals that our body’s need to function properly.
These are just 2 examples of someone who may look healthy but may not actually be healthy. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to put out the vibe that everyone needs to reach the ultimate pinnacle of health, because that, too, would be naïve of me. These are simply examples.
So health is not simply looking a certain way or being a certain weight. But this is not what we’re led to believe by the our health practitioners or by the news or by the content we see and read on a regular basis. Which is partly why, I believe, people continue take pills and do surgeries and get injections to lose weight. They believe that, if they get to be a certain weight, they will be healthy.
Another, more important reason is that these things take less effort. A pill is much easier to take than willpower is to build. Injections are easier to get than going to the gym 3-5 days a week. Expense is even often overlooked to get something done that may be easier than the alternative. You pay for the level implementation. Think about it, you can buy a fitness book for $20, get a gym membership for $20 a month, get a personal trainer for $200 a month or spend $2,000 (or more) on surgery. With each one of these levels, you are increasing the level of input you are getting from the professional.
For instance, a coach might write a book that you can buy which shows you how to use their program. You try doing the program on your own, but get minimal results. You might then go to the coach and have them take you through their program, which would get you more results because of higher implementation.
So most people want to have the top level of implementation, which requires the least amount of effort from them. This is simply a product of the world we live in. Because everything we want is at our fingertips, we want our healthy to be at our fingertips as well. So we try all the things that take little effort to move as in that direction.
Building lasting health and vitality, however, is something that takes time. We often tell our members at TF that it didn’t take you a month to get where you are, so it’s not going to take a month to get back to where you were. True vitality takes time and effort. And the level of effort that it takes will depend on the level of your standard of vitality. There is a true standard. We all have to decide where it is we want to be on the vitality continuum.
For some of us, we want to be on the far end of the continuum where we love eating chicken and broccoli every day and love walking out of the gym completely exhausted. For others, we may want to be more towards the middle of the continuum where you have a few drinks on the weekends or have some dessert after dinner on Saturdays. Neither of these places is good or bad. It is only where YOU want to be. And where you want to be will define how much effort you will have to put in.
No matter where you choose to be on the vitality continuum, though, it will require effort, it will be hard at times, you will encounter obstacles, but, if you persist, you will be the healthy version of yourself that you want to be.