Write down a few of your other health goals now and keep them in mind during this course. Put them up somewhere where you will see them. Be proud of this decision – well done for prioritising your health and happiness! There is a good chance the recommendations in this course will help these too.
June’s real people real health story: The benefits outside of weight loss
I had a lovely patient called June, 45-year-old woman who was an office worker. She was 92 kg and overweight, but this was not her major concern. Her major concern was her severe and chronic back and knee pain. It was constant and she was already seeing a pain specialist with a variety of medications and procedures to help. It caused her a lot of suffering and depression which further exacerbated her weight because she would comfort eat. This is common and makes sense if you think about it – when life is rough for any reason, we need some pleasure again to balance things out and keep us afloat. For many people that is unhealthy food and overeating which leads to being overweight, which then further exacerbates your depression, pain or other conditions. And the vicious cycle continues.
So we had to break this cycle.
Though many of the techniques, information and activities I have given you in this course we helped reduce her weight by 12-15kg over 6 months. This included moving well, eating well, improving sleep, socialising again and finding sources of joy in her life including learning how to cook real and healthy food and other sources like art and gardening.
Whilst she lost the weight, that was not OUR primary goal. Our primary goal was to help her mood and improve her pain. And that we did. Her pain improved significantly, to some days being pain-free and other days the pain was there but less. Her mood was significantly better and this is what we would expect. Randomised controlled trials have shown that a healthy diet alone can reverse over 30% of peoples moderate to severe depression, and that exercise is as effective in reversing depression as medication.
So keep in mind that this is more than just about your weight and your appearance. This is a whole body, mind and social improvement course. I want to you be healthier and happier in every respect.
Surprisingly the number one principle I am bringing up is not about just losing weight. Losing weight and looking better is great, but this is not a hyped TV show, this is real life. The actual goal is for you to be happier and healthier.
What is happy? Happy in health is to feel clear-headed, feel strong, feeling energetic, feeling joy, feeling well, feeling supported and supportive. If we are happy in health, our weight matters much less, but the thing is people think that by losing weight they will be happy. Sometimes, yes this is definitely true but also sometimes it isn’t true because we may be thinner and still not happy nor healthy.
So whilst losing weight is great, there is far more to it than just that – I want you to be happier and healthier.
We know that being overweight increases your risk of almost everything bad which I talk about later, but what a lot of people don’t know that only losing 5-10% of your weight, perhaps that is 5-10 kg or 10-20 pounds, which is very achievable you get massive benefits to your overall health. And this should not be ignored. To keep it simple part of the reason for this is there are two types of obesity – visceral and subcutaneous. You can be none, one or both. Subcutaneous fat tissue is what is around your abdomen, thighs etc and makes you look classically overweight. Whilst this is not necessarily healthy, the really unhealthy fat is the visceral type that stores around our organs, our liver, our muscles, our pancreas and so on. The reason losing such a small amount of weight, just 5-10kg, is so good for us is because that is often the fat tissue we lose first.
I have seen people lose maybe 10kg in 6 months, which I think is a good goal, they report their pain is less, their energy is better, their reflux resolves, their leg swelling goes, their headaches resolve, their sleep improves and they are happier – this is major stuff. Yes, they are not yet at their ideal weight, but they are getting a taste of success and liberation. Once we get that initial taste, we often want more, and that spurs us to continue our journey.
When it comes to living longer in better health and reducing your risk of really nasty conditions like cancer, heart disease and chronic pain disorders like arthritis – a lot can be gained by eating well, moving more and other healthy behaviours – even if your weight changes only a little.
Even small reductions in your weight like losing 3-5%of your weight can have benefits in Cholesterol, BSLs, and reduce DM risk. Reductions >5% does all of that plus reduces BP, reduce medication requirements and overall mortality rate. A number of studies show that losing only 5-10% of your body weight can be as effective as some diabetic medications.
For osteoarthritis, a common painful condition of the joints, if you reduce your weight by only 5 kg you reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis by about 50%, that is huge.
A 2017 study of 30,000 in the BMJ showed that by only losing 5% of your body weight you reduce your risk of premature death by almost 20%. Again – massive results. Plus you have more energy, you feel better and all the other benefits.
So whilst the aim of this course is to get you to your goal weight remember that any weight loss is good and fundamentally if you have learnt to eat well, move more, stop smoking, be happy and be more social then this course was a success.