A Pound of What?
by Melissa S. Price, D.C, CCSP
Since the holidays are fast approaching, I would be remiss if I didn't pass along some tasty tidbits to help you through the labyrinth of seasonal woes we all have to navigate. Namely, those extra pounds we tend to put on when we go from party to party, and then to those holiday meals filled with the delicacies we look forward to eating. We often follow that up with New Year's resolutions to drop the weight gained from those festive soireés.
As a practicing chiropractor for many years, I had worked closely with my patients in the all-important adjunct to everyone's health: nutrition. It's an essential tool for your toolbox. In particular, there is a common myth that is important to dispel.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting for businesspersons. The facilitator asked us to give our 30-second elevator speech when introducing ourselves to the group. During one of those elevator speeches, a gentleman stood and introduced himself, which took about three seconds. He spent the following 27 seconds sharing his exuberance about a nutritional product he credited as the method he had used to lose almost 30 pounds ... in a month's time.
I am familiar with this product, since I tried it years ago for its antioxidant benefits. As a doctor, I've always been of the mindset that experience can be just as valuable as academic understanding. Combining experience with knowledge often yields greater results than employing either element on its own. From what I could tell, it was a pretty decent product, and although it is only available through a multilevel marketing company, people seem to respond well to it.
But, back to the meeting. As soon as this man mentioned weight loss, I monitored the faces in the room and the reactions. People applauded his remarkable weight loss results. After all, doesn't everyone who fights a battle with their weight want to be able to lose 27 pounds in a month? However, all I could think was, "If this guy passes out during this meeting, does the facility have a crash cart?"
"Why?" you ask. Because losing more than about four pounds per week is unhealthy and can signal conditions like dehydration and muscle loss. And muscle is what we need to create lean body mass. If you are unfamiliar with the term, simply think about it as having the correct ratio of fat to muscle in your body. Muscle figures prominently into our overall metabolism.
Lean body mass increases our efficiency and our ability to burn the fuel (i.e., food) that we take in. It is with a healthy, lean body mass that we burn greater amounts of fat in our bodies, which is why we don't want to lose muscle. In fact, muscle weighs more than fat, so the number on our bathroom scale isn't always indicative of successful weight loss. Perhaps some of you who exercise have had the experience of dropping a whole clothing size with minimal weight loss.
Let's put this in real terms. If your friend called you from your local supermarket and said, "Hey, get down here quick! They're having a sale ... $1.59 per pound!" and then hung up the phone, what would you think? I'm guessing one of your first thoughts would have to be, "For a pound of WHAT?" And you'd be correct to wonder.
Such is the case with weight loss. The next time you hear someone give a testimonial for having lost seven pounds in a week's time, ask them, "Seven pounds of what?"
You will be surprised at how many people's automatic and erroneous response will be the word fat.
But you will know better.
So, if like many folks, you tend to overdo it a little during the holidays, don't sweat it. Simply take your time afterward to get a little extra exercise, to tune up your dietary intake needs, and watch yourself return to a healthy weight and a healthy body. If you're in doubt about how to do it, work with a healthcare professional to accomplish your weight loss with a safe and steady program. It will increase your chances of getting lasting results.
After all, the holidays will be back again before you know it!