Achieving or maintaining an ideal weight has become like the search for the holy grail – an almost unattainable goal. And rightly so – every age group, from the youngest children to teenagers to adults, has seen increases in weight over the last 30 years. In the meantime, the weight loss industry in this country rakes in 400 billion dollars per year. Clearly, the focus on losing weight has not been successful.
A New Goal: Your Ideal Weight
While most people will become slimmer getting to their ideal weight, losing weight isn’t synonymous with gaining health. There are many, many ways to lose weight that will not make you a healthier person. Yo-yo diets have become synonymous with failure. Rather than focusing on weight loss, focus on gaining health. If you make the right choices in eating, moving and thinking to bring you toward health, you will also move towards achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. Following the Bonfire recommendations will move you toward a fit, lean, healthy, ideal weight.
What Does an Ideal Weight Look Like?
First, it is important to understand what an ideal weight looks like. Your ideal weight means much more than simply being at a number on the scale. Being at an ideal weight means having muscle tissue capable of supporting functional movement and activity levels. It means not carrying excess fat. It also means having a healthy skeletal system free from the ravages of osteoporosis. It means being properly hydrated. Being at your ideal weight is a component of being truly healthy, fit and functional. It is not just a matter of appearance.
While today losing weight, melting away fat, and avoiding weight gain are the hottest topics in health, historically speaking, until very recently the challenge would have been very different. It would have been finding enough food to stay alive. Our body is designed to burn energy by obtaining food that was often in small supply.
Your body has a powerful motivation to maintain an ideal weight. Hunter-gatherer populations in both ancient times, and current tribes living a genetically appropriate lifestyle, consistently show that humans maintain ideal weight levels outside of the stresses of modern life. The hormonal and nervous system control of body weight are so powerful that when allowed to function properly, your body will regulate its weight within 0.15% over the period of a year. This means that when you consistently make genetically congruent lifestyle choices, your body regulates hunger and activity levels perfectly. Excess weight is a sign of bad health, because a healthy body regulates ideal body weight.
Storage of excess food intake as fat was very rare. Its only purpose was to prevent starvation. Therefore, your body was never designed to carry around fat stores created during periods of excess intake. To find food, we were continuously active, almost never having periods of time when we were regularly inactive. For millions of years, finding enough food to consume to meet the demands of a high activity level was the challenge.
Continuous, incremental weight gain as we age is the result of our modern environment and lifestyle. Therefore, being away from an ideal weight is an abnormal, unhealthy stress on our body. Carrying excess fat stores is not something that our body is designed for. This excess fat, stored around our organs in our midsection, is called visceral fat, or omentum. This specific type of fat creates inflammation in your body that is linked to almost every disease process.
Keep up the right behaviors that support your health. Sometimes patience is a key virtue necessary to achieve your body’s true health. There are important reasons why your body is doing what it is doing; remember that your body is intelligent, and take care of it properly so it will take care of you.