Pilates is in the media all the time, with actresses and supermodels claiming it as their secret to sculpted, fit bodies. In our busy lives, we’re all looking for the best hack to obtaining a beautiful body of our own. So how do we use Pilates for our own fitness goals?
Why Pilates Doesn’t = Weight Loss
In Joseph Pilates’ book, Return to Life, the Pilates creator claims that if you follow his method and perform it faithfully up to four times a week, it will give you the toned and strong body you want.
When Pilates wrote his book in the 1940’s, our culture had not yet grown in to its acceptance and obsession with sugar and fat, super-sized meals, and rampant sugar addiction. Obesity rates were much lower. There was no such thing as the “fat acceptance movement.”
Current estimates classify over two thirds of American adults as being overweight. This tells us the pursuit and for weight loss isn’t just a matter of ego, it’s a matter of health and longevity for our entire society. Carrying excess body fat can lead to an increased risk of disease and health concerns. Being overweight increases likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and structural issues requiring surgery.
Benefits of Pilates
The Pilates method can uniformly develop your muscles and give you strength in underdeveloped areas of your body. If you start doing Pilates, you’ll notice your body change and lengthen, and see differences in the way you carry yourself and the way you wear your clothing. Because Pilates develops core strength and awareness, you’ll feel taller and more balanced, and your posture will improve. Your friends and family members will notice a difference and remark on the changes. All this can be true, but that doesn’t necessarily equal weight loss.
Another side effect of the Pilates method is the way it affects your movement pattern. Changing that pattern will bring fresh blood and oxygen to parts of your body that may have not been receiving it as readily as other parts. Doing Pilates correctly means using your mind to execute this new movement pattern, which will wake up dormant areas parts of your brain, and bring new awareness to body and mind.
How to Really Drop the Weight
The truth is, doing Pilates alone won’t promote weight loss. Pilates should be thought of as a tool in your weight loss toolbox. Weight loss is always going to be a matter of combining diet and exercise. If you exercise but continue to eat unhealthily, you may gain strength and notice a different distribution and organization in your structure, but you probably won’t lose any weight. On the other hand, if you change your diet without exercising, you won’t build healthy strong muscle, and still won’t be fit.
Pilates will help you shine the light on your whole and complete self, and help you find the motivation to make the changes where you need to gain your fit, healthy body.