I eat right, exercise and still can't lose weight.
This is something I've heard from a lot of people, and, as you can imagine it can be a huge source of frustration. Making the effort to choose foods you believe to be healthy while avoiding those that aren't, hitting the gym or making sure to go for a walk or run everyday, and yet for some reason that number on the scale won't budge and you're stuck.
As important as what you eat and how you exercise are, they are only two pieces of the health puzzle. Yes, I said health, not weight. An unhealthy body simply will not release the weight. So, in order to get and keep the results you want, health needs to be your focus. When you get to your optimal health, you'll also get to your optimal weight.
Just as your body is made up of many different parts, there are several components you need to consider when building health.
Say you're a runner preparing for a marathon, and a week before the race you break your leg. Your body doesn't shut down, you keep on living, breathing, talking and eating, but there's no way you'll be up for that marathon. Same with your health, and subsequently, your weight.
There are six components to optimal—health, nutrition, sleep, stress, water, exercise and supplements. Six spinning plates if you will. Like the juggler at the circus who spins plates on long sticks. He's always making small adjustments and moving when necessary to keep them up and spinning, to stay in control and not let them come crashing down. It's a beautiful show.
For your health, if your only ever focus on the food and exercise. As good as you are doing with that, you’re only going to get two plates up and spinning, while the rest will crash to the ground. And no one wants that.
Trying to get all those plates up in the air and spinning and balanced all at the same time can be a bit overwhelming at first. Heck, even the juggler at the circus had to get started with just one plate before he could add any more. The same principle applies when it comes to your health. And when your nutrition and exercise plates are already up and spinning, you're off to a good start.
Are you sleeping well? How much water are you drinking everyday? Do you know what vitamins to be taking? Where's your stress level at? All great questions because each one impacts your health and therefore your weight.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality results in your body not being able to properly metabolize food. Repair, healing and recovery all happen when we sleep. So, not sleeping enough, or well, prevents your body from healing as it should.
Our bodies are almost 70 percent water and every function the body performs needs water to do it. As many as 75 percent of people are living chronically dehydrated. Think of a plump, juicy grape next to a shrivelled up raisin. The grape is what your cells look like when you're properly hydrated, the raisin, not so much. Be the grape.
People always ask, “Do I really need to supplement?” The answer is, “Yes.”.
Can you get all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you need on this planet? Absolutely we can. Do we make a point to do it with every meal, every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year? Nope. Nobody's perfect and you shouldn't expect to be. Just know that filling nutritional gaps is like brushing your teeth. Just because you brushed your teeth today, doesn't mean you can skip brushing them for even a few days and still have good teeth in a year. You've got to be consistent in order to consistently have good teeth. The goes for those nutritional gaps.
And then there's stress. Most people expect it's just something they have to live with and really can't do much about. So they don't. But you can, and here's why you should.
When you're living in a constant state of stress, regardless of what kind of stress it is—you could be chased by a bear, swamped at work, going through a divorce—all your body knows is that there's a danger present and it's stressed. When that happens, your body goes into fight or flight mode.
Circulation restricts blood flow to organs and sends more out to the extremities to help you run or fight, not knowing that you're not likely to do either. Blood flow is life, so extended limited supplies affect digestion, immune function, focus, concentration, moods, and the ability to make decisions. Adrenaline is also released, along with cortisol, causing spikes in blood sugar and blood pressure. There are more physiological responses designed to help your body escape the danger you never escape from. Instead, you store fat and increase your risk of metabolic diseases.
Fat and calories are fuel after all, and your body wants to make sure you have enough fuel when you do actually decide to run away from that bear it thinks is chasing you.
The Bottom line is weight is a symptom of health and hormones. Health and healthy weight absolutely do start with clean, whole nutrient-dense foods and moving your body everyday.
Just make sure you're also addressing the other components of health to get the rest of your plates up and spinning too.
To learn more about your six plates and creating health in your body, watch Tania's free training video.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.