Pros and Cons of Weight Loss

I’ve created two previous posts about my experiences with self-sufficiency as they apply to health benefits: Health Benefits of Self-Sufficiency and Health Benefits of Self-Sufficiency (Part 2). A number of people have read those posts and come away with some ideas that might not reflect the reality of my weight loss or weight loss in general. The five biggest concepts in my weight loss program are:

  • I never specifically set out to lose weight.
  • There wasn’t any dieting involved, the weight came off naturally as a result of the techniques I used.
  • The motivation was to become self-sufficient, which means eating food we grow ourselves.
  • Growing your own food involves a lot of exercise, but it isn’t the sort of exercise one gets from a gym.
  • Part of the solution involves getting proper rest and following the cycles of sun availability throughout the year (for example, we get up 2 ½ hours later in the winter than we do in the summer).

It’s important to step back at times and review how a specific set of actions has affected you, which is something I have done as part of this weight loss adventure. The person who crafted the statement, “There is no free lunch.” hit the nail on the head when it comes to weight loss—at least in my case.

Those previous posts stated a lot of benefits for losing weight. Getting rid of my medications, gaining stamina, lowering my blood pressure, controlling my diabetes through diet alone, and increasing my flexibility are all incredibly positive reasons for losing weight. Even though I have no way of proving it, I have probably increased my lifespan and I’ll be able to enjoy more of that lifespan. Just the decrease of pressure on my joints would be worth the loss of weight.

I keep getting asked whether I feel better. People seem disappointed when I tell them no. I actually don’t feel better—I feel different, but not better. When I weighed as much as I did, I was no less happy than I am today. I didn’t walk around constantly sad and I didn’t feel fat. A better word would be that I felt robust. The fact of the matter is that I was still quite active, even with all that weight in place. So, I would consider the whole issue of feeling better as a neutral element of weight loss for me.

There are negatives to my weight loss and there are people who seem surprised that I would have any negatives to express. The obvious negative is that I’m not able to eat all of the foods I used to enjoy. I’ve replaced those foods with healthier alternatives. To say that I don’t occasionally eye something that would absolutely trash my body and still feel a desire for it would be absolutely incorrect. I sometimes indulge, just a little, in those old habits, but they’re no longer part of my daily life. The reason is simple—I don’t want to spend my hard earned cash on those products (an answer that many find surprising). I do greatly enjoy my new food choices, but anyone who is honest about the matter of diet will tell you that the old food choices really do retain some level of appeal. I resist those options because they simply cost too much to attract my attention and I’ve grown used to the taste of better alternatives.

An interesting negative, at least for me, is that I can’t stay out in the cold as long as I once did. My body, sans the blubber that used to insulate it, simply doesn’t deal with the cold as well as it did in the past. The fact that I can work faster and that I’ve gained flexibility tends to overcome some of this limitation, but there are times when I would like to stay out longer, but simply can’t because my body won’t allow it. Observing nature is one situation in which I find the lack of durability in the cold to be an issue. I’m also having to be more concerned about the potential for frostbite when I work outside.

My work strategy has had to change. I replaced muscle and weight with flexibility and stamina. A log that I would have easily moved when I weighed more is no longer easy to move. I now have to apply other techniques to move the log and those techniques have to rely on my new fortes. A number of people have wondered why the muscle hasn’t been replaced since my weight stabilized. I don’t have an answer to that question, but I do know I have less muscle now than I once did, despite working hard to increase my muscle mass. I do have the muscle required to perform common tasks. For example, lifting 100 pound sacks of feed doesn’t present any sort of problem.

After talking with my doctor for a while, we decided that I do need to keep a little extra weight on for times when I get sick. I was finding that I would get incredibly weak quite fast when ill after losing weight. When I weighed more, I’d hardly notice any effect from being ill, except the actual illness (such as stuffy nose). The weakness afterward is a new wrinkle that I’m having to deal with. That said, I don’t get sick very often and the amount of extra weight is quite small (about ten pounds). Given the amount of weight that I have lost and the level of activity that I experience, the doctor and I both felt the trade-offs were acceptable.

The point is that any sort of major body change is going to involve choices and consequences. To gain the things that I have through weight loss, I’ve had to accept the consequences. Before you embark on a journey that involves a major body change, make sure you talk with your doctor and do some research. Be aware of the consequences of your actions and make sure you are willing to live with those consequences. Let me know your thoughts on weight loss at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.