Doing the Things Right or Doing the Right Things: Body Health vs. Body Positivism?

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You may be well aware about the trending body positive movement. The chief goal of the body positive movement is to challenge unrealistic ideals about beauty and promote self-acceptance of “outside of beauty norm” body sizes. Many corporations started capitalizing on this movement by offering and promoting products for this population. Although, I appreciate the movement, I also know that excess weight leads to bad diseases, including cancer, and premature aging. A few years ago, I reached my maximum body weight when my BMI hit 35, as a result of a hectic life and aging. My sizable overweight made me feel unhealthy and unhappy! That time, I did not even think about accepting myself in this state. I knew for sure it was a path to a gradual decline of the quality of my life. I did not care about “positivism” of my body image; I did not struggle with self-confidence but my health. I certainly tried to manage my weight myself but did not succeed much as aging made it harder to achieve and maintain healthy weight. Finally, I decided to employ a professional fitness instructor and practice a whole foods diet. Today, I enjoy and work hard on a daily basis toward my healthy weight. I would like to introduce my fitness instructor Jay Petersen, who helps me exercise correctly and effectively manage my weight.

A gym instructed with arms folded, standing in front of gym

Jay holds M.S., ACSM-CPT, Pn1 and works as Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Metabolic Technician at LifeTime, Omaha, NE, USA. I asked Jay to share his expertise about weight management. Jay graciously gave me his interview.

Q: What are some common misconceptions individuals have when first starting a weight loss program?

A: Most individuals who start on their weight loss journey feel they need to make extreme changes in their diet and exercise. Often, they will follow whatever fad diet is currently popular, which may cut out certain food groups, is an extremely small amount of calories, and is unhealthy and unsustainable in the long-term. As a nutrition coach, the focus of my coaching is to put together a balanced diet that is healthy for the long-term and is sustainable for the client’s lifestyle, dietary preferences, and needs.

When it comes to exercise, clients often feel they need to exercise very frequently and look to follow the newest high intensity workout that will burn the most calories or make them feel as tired as possible. Usually, individuals will only focus on a certain type of exercise and will only do cardio or only use weights for their workouts instead of utilizing a balance of the two. As a trainer, my goal is to put together a balanced workout regimen that utilizes the appropriate amount of cardio and weights that will not only burn a much fat as possible but will also build muscle and strength while using the appropriate intensities for the individual.

Overall, clients often expect immediate results from their weight loss efforts that will somehow last forever. A 6 or 8 week crash diet and workout routine are often marketed to them to make them believe that it is all they need to make them look and be as fit as their favorite celebrity, when in reality it take slow and steady progress over time to make big changes in one’s body composition and fitness that are sustainable and long lasting. As a fitness professional, my focus is to incrementally instill small habit changes in a client’s daily lifestyle over time. These small changes lead to big lifestyle changes that make healthy eating and exercise part of their life, which will help them keep the weight off in the long run and improve their quality of life.

Q: What are individuals looking for when coming to you for help and what questions do they have?

A: “The majority of individuals who approach me for help are lost and are looking for a program that will give them everything they need to have success. Many questions pop up such as “what should I eat and how much?”, or “What kind of exercises should I be doing and how much?”, as well as “what is the proper way to do a certain exercise without it hurting me?”. Thankfully here at Lifetime, we have the ability to answer these questions utilizing our various metabolic assessments. When getting a client started with a weight loss program, I begin by assessing the individual’s goals, needs, exercise experience, and movement quality. Then I begin by performing metabolic assessments to determine what intensities the individual should be exercising at to achieve the maximal fat loss and fitness gains as well as measure their resting metabolism to determine how much food and what kinds of food the individual should be consuming. Once all of this information is gathered, I put together a balanced and individualized program for the client so they can achieve significant and long-lasting results.

In conclusion, I can say that doing the things right is not the same as doing the right things. Maybe “body positivism” is the right thing to do for self-acceptance and self-confidence, but “healthy body” certainly requires doing the things right. Referring to a specialist for successful management of body weight is the right thing to do. Qualified experienced specialists know how to do the things right. I wish this simple wisdom and Jay’s expertise help those people who commit to their health.

Jay Petersen

P 402.334.3000 | C 712.249.1186

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