Another “classic” podcast I’d love to discuss today! Jen and Annie at Balance 365 don’t specialize in physique athletes or others who might be looking to influence their performance with weight changes, but I still think they have a lot to offer for those of us who have physique elements to our athletic efforts.
So lets jump in. Jen and Annie ask some tough questions, encouraging anyone considering weight loss to do some serious self-assessment. Are you always trying to pursue weight loss? Is this a good time to do it? I love that they discuss that this isn’t something that is appropriate for everyone at every time in their lives. How do we know if it’s a good time for us?
Is it realistic for you physically? This is the first overarching question they ask to help someone assess if weight loss is an appropriate goal for themselves. They want us to ask ourselves whether or not we have weight to lose or if we’re simply at the higher end of healthy body weight for ourselves. Chronic weight loss efforts can become a habit, and we are enculturated to believe it’s always a worthwhile goal. For those of us who love showing off our muscles, we see them better when we’re leaner. But, our leanest weights aren’t usually the best weights for gaining muscle. And I love the question “overweight for what?” from Annie–pointing out that we are often comparing ourselves to our leanest weights and that this might not be the healthiest weight for us to maintain.
The conversation then goes into their philosophy that there is a healthy weight range for each of us. It is not a comment on someone else’s body size when it isn’t right for us and vice versa. What is the healthy weight range we can maintain “without losing our damn mind.” This comes with goal weight ranges rather than a single goal weight, acknowledging the flux that is normal day to day and week to week. I like the emphasis away from a goal weight and towards a goal lifestyle and seeing what weight that creates. I also think we can do that work, see where it lands, and then decide if there are further changes we want to take on, or if further change is more than we’re willing to do.
Jen poses the following questions to determine if you are at a healthy weight range:
Do you struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality and behaviors?
Do you have chaotic eating habits?
Do you have binge eating episodes?
Do you graze on food?
Do you frequently eat out of habit instead of out of hunger?
Do you frequently eat until you are stuffed?
Is emotional eating something you find yourself struggling with?
Do you have poor sleep habits?
Do you eat out regularly, do processed or refined foods make a large portion of your diet?
Does life feel very stressful?
Are you mostly sedentary?
Are you physically uncomfortable in your body (ease of movement with everyday tasks)?
If we find ourselves saying “yes” to a lot of these questions then weight loss may be a realistic goal for us, and indicates we are likely participating in overeating patterns. What I love about this is it points to unhealthy mindsets and behaviors rather than the resulting weights from these behaviors. How many bros do you know who intermittent fast or eschew most carbs and then go absolutely batshit one meal a week or one day a week or for a few weeks at a time? They may look awesome, but honest answers to these questions would show the cracks in their patterns and would hopefully point them to another way.
Back to the podcast, the discussion of “applause” for endless efforts of further leanness is sounds so familiar to me in this community; our physique focus can make it more common that we celebrate “results,” even when folks are unhealthy and underweight. I don’t want to celebrate unhealthy choices or the consequences of unhealthy lifestyles. We can’t tell how healthy someone is by looking at their bodyfat, and that goes for very lean as well as much less lean. I like that these questions point to the actual lifestyle rather than the body composition consequences.
The next overarching question Jen asks to help determine if weight loss is a reasonable goal for someone: Is it realistic for you emotionally? She emphasizes the importance of learning to not see body fat as an emergency. We can’t make good decisions out of a place of panic. And that’s what I want for folks in this community–to get away from the place of panic about our body sizes and learn to find our healthy perspectives on the pursuit of our goals. It’s just bodybuilding! The goal is to be comfortable and proud of our bodies regardless of the number on the scale or how ripped we are.
Finally, Jen asks: Is it realistic for you socially? We need to find sustainable ways to approach these choices that don’t isolate us and to build skills and habits that help us to navigate our lives without undue hardship. I hear the folks over at 3DMJ talk about this all the time, that even during a contest prep, they want it to feel as easy and unobtrusive as possible to their athletes. For me, I think I can only imagine that being possible by learning the skills and mindsets that the ladies at Balance 365 teach. Make it adaptable, flexible and not “your life’s purpose.”
I really love this episode. I hope you’ll take the time to give it a listen and then please leave me a comment below and tell me what you think! If you enjoy this post, please share it with a friend and take a moment to find and follow Progressive Strength on Facebook! Thank you!