Fit not thin in 2018

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Many people will make a resolution to lose weight in 2018. To be fair lots of us made the same resolution on January 1st 2017…and 2016…

What if we’re looking at it all wrong? What if a better resolution was to get fit in 2018? Fit not thin.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim to lose weight. If your knees buckle when you try to stand up and you have a family history of cardiovascular disease maybe you should. But maybe that family history of cardiovascular disease should prompt you to think more strategically.

Obesity is linked to cardiovascular disease but that’s not the whole story. Lack of fitness also plays a role. Tackle the fitness and a side effect may be that you also tackle the obesity. And seriously, getting fit is way more fun than dieting. A friend once told me about the shift in her mindset when she decided to focus on fit not thin. “As I got fitter I became more than I was before. Whenever I’d tried to lose weight in the past I’d focussed on being less. That was the main difference for me.”

Personally I think that if society paid more attention to fitness rather than weight loss, we’d actually have less obesity. If we (especially women) focussed on how far we could run or cycle, or how many push-ups we can do, we would naturally be more active and less obese because focussing on fitness actually makes weight loss easier. The fitter you get the more you view food as fuel and the more you want to eat high quality nutritious food because it helps you get fitter. It’s positive reinforcement.

And let’s be honest, society is horribly biased against fat people. But if fitness was the Holy Grail we wouldn’t automatically assume that not-thin equates to not-healthy. We need to stop being obsessed with weight-loss and thinness. If we get involved in more conversations about fitness rather than how to lose extra pounds, our fat-bias would diminish and maybe more overweight people would feel comfortable joining the gym or that exercise class they always fancied.

Both fat and thin people would be healthier if they aimed for fitness rather than thinness. Even if overweight people stay overweight weight, they still get all the protective benefits of exercise. And there are many thin people who are terribly unfit and are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Thin does not always or even often equate to healthy, in spite of popular myth.

It’s not an either-or situation but if you only aim to end 2018 thinner you might succeed, you might not, but you’ll still be unfit. If you aim for fitness you will probably lose weight, gain confidence, friends, a new skill or two, and in the words of my friend be more than you were by the end of the year. I know which route I’m going to take.

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