A media report came out recently declaring how exercise may not play a role in weight control. Remember all those news reports a while back questioning breakfast as the most important meal of the day? The reason boiled down to weight, and the failure to find a link.
The obesity epidemic — and media reports — has placed weight front and the center of the health debate. In other words, it has made weight the holy grail of health, when it’s really just one piece of the puzzle.
What these reports leave out is that exercise makes us feel good, increases muscle mass, keeps the brain sharp, and lifts mood. A recent study showed it mattered more for lowering heart disease risk regardless of weight. And eating something in the morning provides fuel for our brains, helps kids learn in school, and adds another opportunity for nourishment.
This reminds me of a 2014 article published in Scientific American: “What if We All Just Stopped Trying to Lose Weight.” It makes this point that has always stuck with me:
“Why do we obsessively focus on a very-hard-to-affect risk factor (body weight) that yields no better results than easier-to-adopt habits, that provide clear health benefits?”
Nothing makes health more of a struggle than focusing solely on the scale. So this week, let’s be mindful of where our focus is: A battle with weight or a culture of health? I’ll leave you with this quote from the Scientific American article:
If we were to shift the conversation towards a culture of health–one that values healthy eating and regular physical activity as ends unto themselves, we may be happily surprised to find that not only are we living longer, happier lives, with less disease and fewer health costs, but also, we may need to drop a collective pant size or two. Or not. Either way, we’re better off.