Changing the Definition of “Fit”

Redefining healthy and fit

Every day, we are exposed to images of what a “fit” body looks like. On screen, we see celebrities who are the current beauty standard — a standard that feels impossible for the average person. 

It feels that way because it often is unrealistic. And more importantly, it doesn’t always mean health. We are trained from a young age to define ourselves by what we see in the mirror. But what if, instead of trying to look a certain way, we aimed for happiness and health instead? 

Here’s what that might look like: 

  • Doing moderate physical activity that strengthens our body and brain
  • Learning how to choose food that fuels and nourishes us
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and BMI for our body shape and size 

A healthy or “fit” body for the average person rarely looks like Barbie and Ken. Instead, it’s about making choices that make your body feel good. From the things you eat to the physical activity you do, you have the power to feel like your best self. 

Why weight still matters 

In choosing what we feel like over what we look like, weight is still an important part of the conversation. Being either underweight or overweight can impact your health. But here in the orthopedic space, we most often see the negative effects from carrying too much weight for your body. 

Orthopedic patients tend to suffer from musculoskeletal (MSK) pain, which is pain associated with joints, bones or muscles. MSK pain affects our ability to move freely and comfortably, which is why patients with chronic MSK pain frequently turn to orthopedic care for procedures such as hip and knee replacements. 

According to a study conducted in 2023, nearly one-third of adults in the United States are overweight based on Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI measures the ratio of body fat to height. While BMI can be an imperfect measure in some ways, it is still a useful place to start figuring out if you are a healthy weight for your body. The 2023 study confirmed what many in the orthopedic space had already started connecting: that a high BMI is often an indicator of MSK pain. In other words, doctors are seeing a higher rate of overweight patients seeking orthopedic care. 

Being overweight can be a key driver of MSK pain. Your joints support your ability to move, and the more weight you carry, the more difficult that becomes. Imagine being asked to carry a heavy backpack a long way. Your shoulders and back might feel sore and your feet might feel heavy. But you feel relief when you get to take the backpack off. Being overweight for a long period of time is like never taking the backpack off. It can strain your joints and muscles, contributing to the pain you feel. So as we start a journey to a healthier lifestyle overall, weight has to factor into the equation — not because of how we look, but how we feel. 

The many benefits of lifestyle management 

Here at Prescribe FIT, we approach weight as part of a greater lifestyle health perspective. It goes back to what we said earlier: the goal is to be happy and healthy. We partner exclusively with orthopedic practice and patients, and our programs are designed to help you reach optimal MSK health by making holistic, non-surgical changes to your lifestyle. 

Approaching orthopedic pain from a lifestyle health perspective helps us adjust treatment for your unique body and needs. We believe that by working closely with you and your orthopedic provider to identify the types of activity, nutrition and other factors that you can benefit from, we can give you the tools to positively change how your body feels. You may still need orthopedic surgery — but even if you do, the changes you make can help create more positive surgical outcomes and a healthier, more painless life in the long run.

Over the course of our work, we have found that patients who signed up with the goal of reducing their MSK pain see so many additional benefits to changing their lifestyle, many of which are related to weight loss. For example, patients who go through our program and learn to make healthier choices for their bodies often experience the following non-scale victories along the way:

  • Reduced pain
  • Greater mobility 
  • Increased energy 
  • Better sleep
  • Better mental health
  • More confidence 

We believe that fitness doesn’t mean becoming a long-distance runner or powerlifter. It doesn’t mean restricting yourself from eating everything you love, or starving yourself. It means finding the lifestyle that allows you to live life to the fullest. And it may even help you live that life longer, as research shows that a high BMI can lead to a shorter life expectancy.

Don’t believe us? Hear it straight from our patients:

“Before Prescribe FIT, I was very depressed. I had problems with my back and I was tired of hurting. After starting the lifestyle health coaching program, all my numbers have improved, all my blood work has improved, I have more energy, and I feel like doing more. I’m getting back into my hobbies. I’m gardening and painting again. Prescribe FIT is different than other programs. I like the fact I have someone I can talk to if I run into a problem. I like that I can eat my own food, and by tracking my meals, it makes me realize what I’m eating every day. I am proud that I’m doing it on my own. I’m not taking pills and didn’t have to get surgery. This program works really well for me.”

-Bonnie Sofranek, down 37 lbs after first four months of Prescribe FIT

Taking small steps toward sustainable lifestyle change can help you make a lasting impact on the body you live in and on the life you live. We’re here to help every step of the way, but in the end, you hold the power to change your own life. Why not start today? Contact us to learn more.

Published on June 11, 2024