Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Weight Loss Should NOT be your Primary Goal

39weeksThe thing that catapults many of us into embarking on an exercise plan is weight loss.  The numbers that those scales thrust back
up at us when we hesitantly stand upon them is taken as gospel.  Unfortunately, though, they measure so much more than just our weight – they can measure our self-esteem, our self-worth, our confidence levels, and our motivation – or lack of.


Why do the scales mean so much to us?  Why do we build such a close relationship with them, so close in fact, that often the relationship can end in heart-break?  The answer is simple – it’s because we’ve been conditioned to be affected by the number on the scale.  Media portrayal of the perfect body is governed by being a certain weight or a certain BMI (Body Mass Index).  Further, if we can make that number on the scale smaller, then we have supposedly succeeded – no matter what radical extremes we may have gone to to reduce it.


The good news; we can undo this negative and harmful conditioning, and we can relearn various healthful habits that are going to enable us to have a healthier and more successful relationship with our bodies, and that will make us happier and healthier minded too.


My recommendation to you – break up with the scales.  Take the batteries out of them, put them up in the attic or in a difficult place for you to retrieve, or if ends must, take them to the dump.  You do not need them, and the first thing that will make you happier and healthier is to quit having such a close relationship with them.  A relationship with the scales is almost guaranteed to fail.


Being firmly implanted in the health and fitness industry for twelve years I have seen the damage that scales can do to one’s mental health, their confidence, and in their drive to succeed.  Our health and fitness successes should not be governed solely by what the scales reflect back to us.  Instead, we need to let weight loss, body-fat loss, and overall conditioning of our bodies be one of the many positive by-products of implementing healthier habits in our lives.  That’s right; when our bodies are healthy, and when we have an abundance of healthful habits secured in our day to day adventures, only then we will lose weight – the healthy way!  As Dr Libby Weaver is renowned for saying ‘We don’t have to lose weight to be healthy; we need to be healthy to lose weight.’  And that sums it up in a nutshell.  We need to take our focus away from weight loss, and instead place that same amount of focus on creating healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits.


dsc01348So, when I say you need to implement healthy habits into your life what sorts of things do I mean:

  • 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Regular exercise at least 5 times per week (some fast/heavy i.e. weight training, interval training, or some slow and peaceful i.e. yoga, walking)
  • Eating as little processed foods as possible, and trying to eat as clean as possible
  • Lean meats, lots of coloured vegies, and good fats.
  • Adequate hydration – in the form of water
  • Limited coffee and alcohol
  • Having more ‘me time’ and reducing your stress load (you’ll be surprised at just how much stress plays a role in your weight and the storage of body-fat).
  • Balancing out your hormone levels (diagnosed with lab tests, and remedied with vitamins, minerals, and herbal concoctions)
  • Enjoying life, and having happiness as your most-used emotion


Once some (or most) of these are regular fixtures in your life, only then will your body begin to make the changes you have longed for.   It’s no longer just about calories in versus calories out.  The equation is actually far more complex than that – in fact, if it was drawn out it’d probably resemble some awful calculus formula.  If your body is under stress – any form of stress, be it from trying to identify chemicals from processed foods, inadequate or poor sleep, over-consumption of alcohol or caffeine leading to a loaded-up liver, or multiple other foundations of stress – then it will not be in a healthy state, and it will not be able to lose weight.


Weight loss supplements or the latest detox is not the answer either – this is us calling for desperate measures, when it actual fact your body is simply just asking for you to take notice, and for your to restore the best level of health you can.


So, if you’ve embarked on a ‘Get Fit, Tone up, and Lose Weight’ adventure, I’d like you to look at how you have framed and tackled the ‘lose weight’ part of this equation.  Instead of putting your emphasis here, I recommend instead that you put your emphasis on tackling the various elements of improved health.  Seek professional advice, talk to friends, read reputable literature on the health topics you would like to know more about.  Success in the form of weight loss will come by focussing on that which will help you to lose weight; and that comes in the form of a healthier, happier body.