Some would like to lose a few pounds, and those who want to gain weight. Some want bigger muscles, others don’t want to get too big. Whether it’s fat, muscle mass, hair, or skin, few people are completely satisfied with their physical appearance. Because? And to what extent does this objective fact have to do with health and physical fitness?
BEING FIT AND HEALTHY VS. LOOK HEALTHY AND FIT
A slim person with defined muscles is generally considered to be healthy and fit – especially in the Western world. The downside is that those who do not conform to this model are often blamed for being out of shape or unhealthy. The most popular parameter for evaluating “health” is the Body Mass Index (BMI), and the goal would be to reach the ideal weight. That’s why many people step on the scales every day to track their progress. In reality, the one on the scale is just a number and says very little about how healthy or fit you are.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are 5 key factors and habits in a healthy lifestyle:
- Nutrition: A healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole foods, healthy fats, and omega 3 fatty acids. Trans fats, processed and sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and sodium should be minimized.
- Physical activity: Doing 30 minutes of physical exercise a day would be ideal. Take a look at the guidelines of the World Health Organization.
- BMI: According to the World Health Organization, the BMI index for adults should be between 18.5 and 24.9
- Smoking: Smoking should be eliminated.
- Alcohol: Women are recommended to keep alcohol consumption below 15 grams per day, and men not to exceed 30 grams. One drink contains about 14 grams of alcohol.
HEALTHY BODY: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WEIGH MYSELF?
First, it is important to set a goal. If you want to lose or gain weight healthily, it makes sense to keep track of your weight on a daily basis. A scale that also measures body composition can be helpful in this case. Make sure you have the same measurement conditions every time you step on the scale (same time, same place, with or without clothes).
However, the scale cannot give you an accurate measure of your health and fitness level. If you want more information, get a blood test and check your blood pressure. This will give you a clearer picture of your blood sugar, cholesterol, and heart health, all of which are important indicators of your overall health.
There are pretty neat guidelines on how to stay healthy and fit to live longer. Nonetheless, magazines and websites are full of articles on the diets of the moment, miracle formulas for losing weight, and other amazing promises. If this happens it is because our society often equates health and fitness with outward appearance and beauty standards. And the prevailing beauty standard today is minimized body fat, smooth skin, defined muscles – but don’t go overboard, especially for women, as one study shows. For a woman to be considered attractive, she must be slightly underweight says KissAnime.
HEALTHY BODY IMAGE: WHAT IS BODY POSITIVITY?
Cellulite, spots, plus size or not, high or low BMI, with or without disabilities: bodies are different, but there is no ugly body. This movement aims to deconstruct an unrealistic and discriminatory body image and beauty standards. Some studies show that the image each has of their own body or that of others has little to do with health, and much to do with physical appearance. When a person does not conform perfectly to cultural beauty standards, they can have low self-esteem and fall into depression – and this without their body having any health problems. The genetic predisposition to be leaner or more robust does not imply that an individual is more or less healthy.
The body positivity movement has received a lot of criticism in recent years. His detractors believe that good intention aside, the movement is too focused on body image. The body neutrality movement, for example, asks why we absolutely must love our bodies, and why we define ourselves and are defined on the basis of physical appearance. The goal is to feel at peace with your body (without neglecting health) and to define yourself through your personality, rather than through the physical aspect.
It doesn’t matter if you love your body or if you are neutral in relation to it. One thing is clear: the number that appears when you step on the scale, your physical appearance, your diet, and your sporting habits are not the only indicators of your health and fitness. The key is to take a holistic approach to health – that is, looking after your physical and mental health. This is the key to a long and happy life.
- Integrate physical activity into your daily routine with these 4 home workouts.
- Do your mind a favor: keep a mindfulness journal.
- Fill your pantry with these healthy foods.
- Last but not least, take care of yourself and your body – not what others think.