Our obsession with looking healthy is no more than an instant gratification paradox where the reward of seeing the scales go down actually contradicts what dictates good health.
High bone density, high muscle mass, and good hydration are all indicators of a healthy body that make up the majority of our weight. Body fat, on the other hand, is light. When stored in excess, it is dehydrated and hidden around our organs so that it doesn’t impede our activity. The scale is, therefore, not a good indicator of health when it can’t measure how much body fat we have accumulated. And yet we depend on the scales to give us the instant gratification that we are getting healthier when we lose weight.
This idea that losing weight is the key to being healthy is misguided advice; for losing weight in the form of bone, muscle or water is the last thing we want to do. This can easily happen if we force the body to diet improperly and depend on the instant gratification of the scales going down for our success. Clothes fitting better, regular and comfortable bowel movements, improved energy levels, better sleeping patterns and healthier looking skin, hair, and nails are all measurable outcomes of a healthy body. Though they aren’t the definitive objective findings like a number on the scale, they are instantly gratifying subjective findings that indicate far better health than weight loss does.
If we need instant gratification to know our diet is working, we need to choose outcomes that reflect true success. Start with bowel movements. Nothing responds faster to healthier eating than our bowels. (See The Instant Gratification Paradox (Part One).) Start tracking your hours between breakfast and dinner versus your hours between dinner and breakfast. If you can consistently keep your breakfast to dinner hours shorter than your dinner to breakfast hours, you’ve increased your body’s time for fat burning and reduced its time for fat storing.
Unfortunately, the instant gratification paradox exists. If we continue to look at weight loss as the best indicator of our health, we are barking up the wrong tree. Instant gratification only works when the results we are getting truly reflect the outcomes we are looking for. Making a shortlist of outcomes as they occur and adding to them as we notice our health improve is a sure fire way of getting the instant gratification we need to keep going in the right direction.