reimagine weight

The Gravitational Pull Between Two Masses (You know, “Weight”)

“Excess weight is often accompanied by high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and other health problems.”

from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf

The word “excess” in the above statement is key.

The health implications of excess weight is key.

This is the “why” behind this conversation.

Weight is how we store extra energy. If we take in more than we use, we store it.

Consider this: Back in the day, before agriculture and refrigeration helped make sure we had access to food year ’round, this was a different conversation. Efficiently storing calories was a bonus to help get through tough times, and it was fashionable.

Or, let’s say you were the Wright Brothers and trying to build a plane. They wanted littler amounts of weight to get the airplanes off the ground as they were considering how to help people fly. Check it out:

Mass = the amount of matter in an object

 Weight = the amount of force of gravity on an object

If you lived on the moon, your mass is the same but you would weigh less.

I’m not suggesting we all move to the moon. I’m not suggesting we build our own plane. I am suggesting we rethink our relationship with the word and meaning of “weight”.

Pretty sure I can’t convince everyone to stop using the word “weight” and start saying “metabolic storage capacity”. It’s not about the words. It’s about the meaning.

Today, we are faced (in this country) with an abundance of food. You can hardly go to the lumber yard or clothing store and not be faced with some sort of edible enticement. It makes it a huge challenge for all of us, especially those with a genetic predisposition to store fuel/energy really efficiently. Constantly having to say no to foods we may love.

Let’s change our perception and our approach and focus on how we feel.

“Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees.

So a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees; if a person is 100 pounds overweight, that is 400 pounds of extra pressure on his knees.

“So if you think about all the steps you take in a day, you can see why it would lead to premature damage in weight-bearing joints,” says Dr. Matteson.”

Copied directly from: https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/obesity-arthritis/fat-and-arthritis.php

That’s the context. That’s hitting the reset button on how we think and talk about weight. Now, what do we do about it in the world we live in, surrounded by food? Here are three things to consider and try on for size:

Are you easily able to maintain the pull of gravity (your weight)? If your spare moments are caught up with gaining/losing weight within a 5-10 pound range, stop.  Bodies are not static. You will not weigh the same exact amount from moment to moment. Give yourself a range that you can easily and happily maintain.

Are your metrics right? Forget clothing size as a guide. These numbers ebb and flow. Not the right thing to judge yourself. Instead, look at your health numbers. How is your blood pressure, your blood glucose, your cholesterol profile? These are your jam when it comes to numbers to consider.

Are you able to work in socialization with party foods? That unexpected donut in the break room. The holiday buffet. Wine Wednesday. Eat sensibly most often and allow room for the other reasons we eat and drink. Food expresses our culture, our family heritage, so many things. Consider your intake on a daily basis. Are you getting foods from each food group? If not, why? That’s the place to start. If you choose not to eat a certain food group, get familiar with the nutrients that group is known for and come up with a plan to get them.

Allow yourself room for the individuality of bodies and genetic makeup. Allow yourself room for all the interesting foods we have available to us. Enjoy the choices you make, and if you don’t, ask yourself why you are making them. Reach out to a dietitian like me, or a behavior change specialist. You don’t have to go this alone. You do have to care for yourself, and you deserve to.

choosemyplate.gov
Use this as your guide at each meal and snack. How are you doing in terms of balance? What foods are you missing?  Start with your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies for fun (and nutrition), and pair them with your favorite protein, grain, dairy. Boom. You got this.

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