It’s May, and you’d have to be living in a cave not to notice the constant, anxiety-inducing reminders that bathing suit season is upon us.
Too often, we all try to look like the skinny celebrities we see in tabloid magazines. That’s unrealistic (and often unhealthy), so put all that nonsense about itsy-bitsy bikinis out of mind for good.
I’m here to tell you about the real ideal: what I like to call your “magic number.”
Each of us has a weight range that is ideal for our body. It’s essentially the weight that your body wants to be, or in my words, your magic number.
Essentially, your body has a pre-determined weight range that it’s programmed to maintain. All on its own, your body works to keep your weight in a stable range, commonly known as a “set point,” despite over-indulgence one day or under-exercising another day. Pretty cool, right?
Our bodies fight each day to remain within this set point range, pulling out all the stops to do so: hormones, chemicals, hunger signals—all of these work together elegantly.
This remarkable feat is likely evolutionary, this set point allows our bodies to efficiently protect against too much weight loss when faced without enough food (think: a harsh winter); or conversely, to prevent sudden weight gain in the face of too much food (think: holiday feasts).
So, how can your magic number help you maintain a healthy weight?
Quick weight-loss schemes are unhealthy. Period. End of discussion. They wreck havoc on our self-esteem and they are usually unsuccessful. Plus, they can reset your body’s set point and actually make it higher!
Overeating and under-exercising is just as bad. When you store too much weight for too long, your set point starts to rise. Your body is then fighting to maintain a higher weight than is healthy.
Fortunately, though, we can work with this complex set-point system; it’s not just genetics. Our set points are also influenced by our lifestyles, meaning the foods we choose to eat and the exercise we choose to engage in. In other words, you have everything you need today to tweak your set point!
The two most important factors are eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients (from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins) and low in processed foods and fat, as well as exercising (meaning any and all movement. I don’t care if you run around your dining room table, lift that large bottle of laundry detergent ten times or go to a spinning class. The name of the game is to move!). Both can help lower your set point and more importantly, maintain it.
We are not all created to be the same size or the same height, but we are all created with a set point. Don’t fight it (or sabotage it). Instead, embrace it today: eat well and exercise to help your body maintain its natural set point.
Then revel in the magic!
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