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Losing weight is on the mind of a lot of Americans and it is a very heavy burden.

By definition, losing weight is associated with loss, but the loss involves far more than the shedding of unwanted pounds. Perception has it that you must also suffer the loss of eating enjoyment, eating comfort and a certain social pleasure.

The negative associations of losing weight are legion: abstinence, deprivation and torture, failure, guilt and the imagined prospect of being on a diet for the rest of your life. A heavy burden indeed!

It is understandable that many people simply give up. And yet in their resignation they find neither peace nor happiness.

Often when things aren’t working, it is helpful to look at them from the inside out. A different point of view usually leads to a fresh understanding which in turn can lead to a new and better approach, increased motivation and greater confidence.

Shift Your Perspective.

Consider that perhaps your real goal should not be weight loss but the much broader and more important objective of good health. Remember, obesity and good health cannot co-exist. Also, it is very easy to be thin, unfit and unhealthy.

It is far more positive and uplifting to pursue a goal of vitality and vigor than to dwell in a mindset of lack and suffering. As contradictory as it sounds, the best approach to losing weight is to “grow” your body lean, strong and healthy.

To understand this better, compare different ways of approaching the old standards of diet and exercise.

Eat to Live…. Not to Lose Weight

Eat to grow strong, build your immune system and increase your energy. Eating well is as essential to life as breathing.

The traditional method of losing weight is to restrict calories, put yourself into starvation mode and force your body to scavenge its fat reserves. Although unpleasant, this seems to make sense until you recall the fundamental purpose behind eating.

Food provides the building blocks for growth and tissue repair, supplies fuel for energy and vitamins and minerals as catalysts and to boost the immune system. Don’t forget cool, clear water, the medium in which these miracles occur.

If the quality of food is good, there is nothing you can cut out if you want to live and flourish.

The alternative to dieting is to embrace a style of eating that is nutrient rich but not calorie dense. Coincidentally, the foods that meet the first requirement also fill the second. Additionally, they are tasty, filling and allow eating satisfaction without putting on the weight.

These include lean meats, fish, non-starchy vegetables and fruit. This is not a “low-carb diet” but grains are restricted because they pack far too many calories and, compared to non-starchy vegetables, are lightweights in the nutrient and fiber department.

Unless you know you have the nutritional background, I recommend you consult a dietitian. In one or two sessions they can help you create a satisfying plan that meets the requirements above. Then get ready to thrive while you eat well, get lean and grow strong.

Get Physical and Grow Lean

Get moving, not to burn calories, but to “grow” your heart and lungs, build some muscle, stimulate your immune system, increase bone density, relax, improve your attitude and have more fun in life.

The traditional approach to exercise and losing weight is “cardio”, often for long periods, indoors on a machine. There are gyms, classes and programs and although they get the job done if you stick with it, it’s a chore and it seems to take a lot of sweat to lose a little weight.

Physical activity is natural to mankind; for our ancestors it was unavoidable; as children we called it play. Now that we are older there is no reason to be physical sloths. Because we are “civilized” doesn’t mean that our only physical activity has to be a monotonous, artificial means to lose weight faster.

Walk whenever and wherever you can. Look around and enjoy your surroundings. Take the stairs…. always. Get off the sofa. Plan week-end outings, to scenic destinations, that involve walking and climbing hills. Ride a bike. Begin or revive a hobby that keeps you on your feet…. the more active the better.

Shoot your TV. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least be very selective about what you watch. This villain wastes your body and numbs your mind.

Go out and use a rake to rake leaves and a walking mower to cut the grass. Breathe deeply, feel your heart, savor the movement of your body. Know that you are growing stronger. Take a shower, rinse off the sweat and feel great.

If you work at a desk, elevate it so that you can work standing up. Have a tall stool available for when you have to sit. Take a quick walk several times a day. This will clear your head and increase your productivity.

You get the general idea. You are moving away from deprivation and imposed obligation to engage life fully, with vigor and vitality. If you are like most people, you will find that you are also growing character and self-mastery.

You will also find that your weight is no longer an issue.

“Be Strong…. Be Lean” Howard McGarity “Coach Mac”

Howard McGarity has studied human physical performance for most of his fifty-five years. He leads a program designed to help people get off of their perpetual diets so that they can get permanently lean, strong and healthy. For more ideas go to:

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