You don’t have to be thin to be healthy. You don’t have to be thin to be fit. You don’t have to be thin. If your genetic heritage, body type, and metabolism make you susceptible to gaining weight very easily, don’t feel bad. You could be one of evolution’s triumphs, successes. In prehistoric times, the people who fared the best through times of sporadic food supply were the ones whose bodies made the most efficient use of energy and stored away as much as possible for tough times. Scientists now know we evolved to succeed in an environment when food supply was unreliable and the physical activity demands of life were high.
Imagine yourself in prehistoric times, pitted for survival against that skinny fashion model with no apparent body fat. Who would live longer? To paraphrase Darwin, it all comes down to “survival of the fattest and yes, the fittest.” But, you might be saying “I don’t want to be the fattest guy in the cave. I need to go on a diet and get some of the excess weight off before I survive a stroll through the jungle.” That’s where you are wrong – dead wrong. Fitness and thinness are not the same thing. They are not connected. Sure, you probably know a lot of fat and unfit people. They got fat in large part because they are unfit, because of their emotional disconnections, maybe because of their low energy. But it is possible for a person to be fit AND fat and perfectly healthy. Fitness correlates to how well your engine is running, not to streamlined fenders or narrow tires.
The Heart Zones program – HAL – is built on just several foundation principles:
• It’s not about fatness – it is all about your fitness.
• It’s not about thinness – it’s all about your healthiness.
• It’s not about weight – it’s all about your energy.
The program’s very foundation is to focus on fitness not weight. Weight takes care of itself easier as you get fitter and fitter. The majority of weight loss programs focus on food intake, food composition, food consumption, food types, and weird plans like dieting based on the color of your eyes. Rather than focusing all of the time on food, the focal point of the Heart Zones Weight Loss Program is about being healthy and active in the zones. And, this is not just one zone methodology – but putting together all three: emotional, physical, and metabolic (energy) zones into a HAL lifestyle. HAL stands for Healthy Active Living and you’ll learn a lot more about putting that altogether in the final chapters.
FAT IS NOT THE PROBLEM
Fat is a symptom of overweight or obesity, not the cause. That’s so important I’ll repeat it – fat is a symptom, not a cause. It’s like looking at a case of measles and calling it “skin lesions,” when we really know it is a respiratory infection caused by the measles virus. The spots are just a symptom.
Defining overweight or obesity by one of the physical symptoms ignores what goes on inside the body. In truth, obesity is the condition by which the complex mechanisms of appetite and satiety (how your feel and how the body converts the food you eat into energy, that’s called metabolism, have, quite simply, become messed up. Our body’s weight-regulatory system has gone haywire, usually because of disruptions and disturbances in the metabolic, physical, and emotional abuse of the body. And your genes, your DNA are involved too.
An all too common example of metabolic abuse is serial dieting, weight cycling. The body fights periodic starvation by making key metabolic changes that make sure you gain the weight back when you eat even a normal, healthy diet. The metabolism can become so dysfunctional that the body can function only by grabbing and storing all the energy that comes its way – and it stores it very efficiently.
We commit a form of physical abuse when we don’t perform the basic physical activity we need to stay healthy. Amazingly, we readily accept that our dog, our Labrador Retriever needs exercise to stay trim and healthy, but we don’t insist on the same for ourselves.
Finally, and long overlooked by weight and fat loss specialists, we subject ourselves to emotional overload, such as stress, anxiety, anger, and depression that can throw the body out of sync and disrupt its weight regulating system. Because of the emotional connection with the brain and your genes, this emotional overload results in changes to the brain structure that results in neurotransmitter sensitivity – and hence changes in the release of hormones.