For the health of it

Understanding weight loss and health results is like picking the right bike for you.

We’re all different. “Of course we are,” you say. “Everyone knows that.” And while that may be true, when it comes to weight loss and body type, most people compare themselves and their results to others. Some even go so far as to beat themselves up mentally if their results don’t measure up.

Seems irrational doesn’t it? And yet people continue to do it. So, if we know and accept that we are all different in a variety of ways, doesn’t it makes sense to consider that your health, fitness level and yes, even weight loss, could also look different for you than for those around you? Let’s take a look at what makes that so.

You don’t have to go far or look very hard to find ads, pictures, posts, etc., on how to create the “perfect body.” Let me just say that nobody is perfect and therefore nobody’s body is perfect either.

And if we’re honest, I believe most people would not only agree, but be quick to point out what they don’t like about their body. Whether it be an injury or illness, size, weight, health or the way we look, we’ve all had moments where we’ve all been a little hard on ourselves.

And that’s OK if it’s done in a way that motivates us to make healthy changes and take back control of our health. What’s not OK is comparing our bodies and our results with others, picking out all the negatives and marinating in them. It’s toxic. And the only thing it will get you is frustrated.

The reason many people get frustrated and often give up on their health and weight-loss goals is they simply don’t understand the extent to which our bodies are different. There are three distinct body types a person can be born with — ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph.

An ectomorph is that person who is naturally lean, lanky, has a high metabolism and has difficulty gaining weight. An endomorph is the opposite. Often described as “big boned,” the endomorph will often say they have a slow metabolism and have to work at it to lose weight. And as you might expect, the mesomorph falls somewhere in the middle.

I like using the bicycle analogy. The ectomorph would be a road bike – sleek, light and fast. Mesomorph is like a mountain bike – not as fast, needs a little more energy to get where you want to go, but still pretty effective. And the endomorph would be the beach cruiser. One speed, not the fastest ride out there by a long shot, but it’s a comfortable ride.

Regardless which type of bike you ride through life on, one thing is for sure, it will get you to your destination as long as you don’t give up.

Granted, the beach cruiser is not going to get you there nearly as fast as the road bike, but if you keep pedalling, you will get there. Same with our bodies.

Although we may not be able to change our body type, we can always make changes and improvements to the one we have. And small changes done consistently over time equal huge results.

This works in the positive and negative.

Lifestyle diseases by definition are the result of poor choices in food and lifestyle maintained over an extended period of time. Fortunately, most can be reversed, also using diet and lifestyle. Over 65 per cent in fact, according to Dr. Hans Diehl of Loma Linda University. And many experts believe that number to be even higher.

Years ago, I attended a health conference in Utah and one of the speakers, Paul Zane Pilzer, said something that has stuck with me: “There’s a small demographic of people getting healthier as they age.”

As someone who worked continuously to improve not only my own health, but that of my family as well, I am happy to say that it’s not an exclusive club. I am healthier and stronger in my 50s than I was in my 20s.

My daughter had a serious digestive issue as a toddler that through dietary changes and natural supplements, we were able to clear up. And last month my dad told me he’s started jogging again. Something he hadn’t been able to do for decades due to a back issue. He will be 80 in November.

Regardless where you are in your health and/or weight-loss journey, making positive, healthy changes and sticking with them will allow you to make improvements and see results at any age.

So now go back and consider the three body types and which bicycle you’re ‘riding’ as you navigate your personal health journey.

I’m sure you have a pretty good idea which one you are. Knowing where you are will allow you to set more appropriate expectations, avoid the frustration and continue long enough to see results.

And remember, no matter which body type you are, regardless how long things take, that ‘bike’ will only get you to your destination if you get on a start pedalling. Creating health is not much different from anything else of value we work towards in our lives. It takes some effort, you have to be willing to make a few changes, and the only way you won’t see results is if you give up.

Tania Gustafson is a nutritionist and fitness coach. On the web: fuelignitethrive.com. Email: tania@fuelignitethrive.com.