Exercising Well Limited by Weight
What if the gas gauge in your car measured the level of every fluid—the oil, water, windshield fluid, and gas? It would be completely ineffective. You would have no way of knowing if you needed gas!
The same goes for the scale—it’s an all-in-one gauge. It measures everything in your body all at once, not just fat, but muscle, water, bone and everything else in your body at that moment. If it goes up, you have no way of knowing what increased. If it goes down, you have no way of knowing what decreased. Yet those numbers going up or down can send you into a tailspin of thoughts, worries, and guilt.
If you want to lose weight to improve health, this fact about the scale matters a lot. For example, if you lose weight, up to thirty percent of it could be muscle loss.1 According to the research, what that means for your future is less independence as you age and a lower life expectancy.2 Not exactly what you had in mind when you set out to lose weight!
Your Body Weight and Exercise
Your body weight is used to help predict if you will be healthy in the future. But does it really predict your health? Over the past two decades, there have been increased pleas for medical professionals to use fitness as a measure of health along with body weight.3 That’s because there is mounting evidence that being a normal weight may not be enough to be healthy and that being fit plays a major role in health.
For example, people whose body weight puts them in the obese or overweight category but are also in the moderate to high fitness category, have a significantly lower risk of dying from any cause and a 50% lower risk of developing depression than people who are thin and unfit.4, 5
Age does not seem to be a deterrent to this power of exercise either. Older people who tested high on a muscle power test lived nine years longer, no matter what their weight, than people with a lower muscle power level.6 Clearly, the focus for health should not be on how to lose weight, but on how to improve fitness at every weight.
Learning to Be Well Now
The new and improved way to exercise for weight loss starts by knowing how to exercise in a way that keeps you out of chronic stress and supports your self-motivation to continue exercising no matter what the scale says.
This mindset reset about exercise from a way to burn calories and fat, to the foundation of your whole-person health means you don’t have to wait to feel better or be healthy. You don’t deserve to be in pain, suffer through tough workouts, and feel embarrassed about how your body moves just because you are carrying extra weight. You deserve to Be Well Now.
When you want to be healthy in your whole person, but your weight is keeping you from exercising, learn how to move to Be Well Now. This is the simplified, science-based way to exercise in the body you are in right now, so losing weight is not stress-producing, and exercising strengthens your self-motivation skills that have a carry-over effect to other habits for your whole-person health.
Exercising Well Guide to Weight Loss
1. Cava E, Yeat NC, Mittendorfer B. Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss. Adv Nutr. 2017;8(3):511-519. Published 2017 May 15. doi:10.3945/an.116.014506
2. Phu S, Boersma D, Duque G. Exercise and Sarcopenia. J Clin Densitom. 2015 Oct-Dec;18(4):488-92.
3. Ross R, Blair SN, Arena R, Church TS, Després JP, Franklin BA, Haskell WL, Kaminsky LA, Levine BD, Lavie CJ, Myers J, Niebauer J, Sallis R, Sawada SS, Sui X, Wisløff U; American Heart Association Physical Activity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; Stroke Council. Importance of Assessing Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Clinical Practice: A Case for Fitness as a Clinical Vital Sign: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016 Dec 13;134(24):e653-e699.
4. Ortega FB, Ruiz JR, Labayen I, et alThe Fat but Fit paradox: what we know and don’t know about it British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:151-153.
5. Katie M. Becofsky, Xuemei Sui, Duck-chul Lee, Sara Wilcox, Jiajia Zhang, Steven N. Blair, A Prospective Study of Fitness, Fatness, and Depressive Symptoms, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 181, Issue 5, 1 March 2015, Pages 311–320,
6. The ‘fat but powerful’ paradox: association of muscle power and adiposity markers with all-cause mortality in older adults from the EXERNET Multi-center Study, Julian Alcazar, David Navarrete-Villanueva, Asier Mañas, Alba Gómez-Cabello, Raquel Pedrero-Chamizo, Luis M. Alegre, Jose G. Villa-Vicente, Narcis Gusi, Marcela González-Gross, Jose A. Casajús, German Vicente-Rodríguez, Ignacio Ara