It’s not the number, it’s the benefits
Obesity is by no means only a difficulty in the U.S. of A. As more of our planet has found its way to a more affluent lifestyle, faster food, and less exercise, the collective global waistline has expanded. As of this time, approximately 1.6 billion people on planet Earth are overweight. Of those, 400 million (more than the entire population of our country) are obese. Despite the urgency, the problem grows. In five years, it is estimated that more than 2.3 billion people will be overweight, with almost 3/4 of a billion being obese. (Note: the standard definition of “obese” is more than 20% above normal body weight or having a body mass index – “BMI” – over 30. A normal healthy BMI is considered to be between 21 and 25.)
Let’s put this in perspective. When the baby boomers started being born shortly after World War II, the entire population inhabiting this third rock from the sun was 2.3 billion. Therefore, if we lived in 1947, and we were facing this same predicament, every single, solitary, person would need to be on a diet.
While we’re playing “interesting facts to quote at cocktail parties,” let me toss you another: NOBODY diets to lose weight.
Anybody who has ever tried to trim a pound from a pudgy mid-section, whether by changing the way she eats or by increasing her exercise level (or both), has not embarked upon that path to weigh a certain number or to drop X pounds. She launched into the process to achieve the BENEFITS that the weight loss will provide. Lifestyle change – in this case eating healthier – is simply the vehicle she has chosen to obtain an improved life; henceforth referred to as the “benefit.”
Moreover, how she chooses to define “better” is up to her: healthier, happier, more attractive, self-confident, more active, or anything else that tickles her fancy. But the bottom line remains that weight loss unto itself is not what drove the change, the results of it set the motion forward.
It might seem like we’re picking nits, but the cool thing about understanding benefits is that we can see them almost immediately, and that’s inspiring. However, waiting for the scale’s number to drop can appear to take forever, making the process feel much worse and more difficult than necessary. Restated, if I focus on benefits, the effort it’s taking to lose weight seems lessened.
For example, even if I am just starting my diet today, several benefits kick in even before one ounce has been lost. There is a sense of relief about overcoming procrastination, pride for moving forward on a goal, and my energy will probably spike due to the healthier combination of foods I’m now consuming. Conversely, if my sole measurement of success is a number on a scale, there’s one long road to hoe before I get any strokes from the process.
If I focus on the benefits received, which are plenty; rather than the effort it requires, which in reality is not really that much; not only will the end results be the same, but life will most likely be more rewarding and fun. Dare I say it: yet another benefit of being healthy.