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3 Simple Secrets to Getting Lean While Eating What You Love

Alexandra Redmond shares her secrets.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans try to lose weight every year. According to an Everyday Health survey, 79 percent of people believed that reaching their target weight would make them "happier." However, Alexandra Redmond, a fitness influencer with over 431,00 followers on Instagram, is living, breathing proof that leaner isn't always. In an Instagram post, Redmond reveals that being super lean isn't necessarily the key to happiness. 


Why I Gave Up on Getting Lean and Found My Happy Medium

"Unless you have the genetics, achieving this level of leanness requires more sacrifice than the average person is willing to give," she wrote in the caption of the post. "I used to think that if I looked the part and was 'shredded,' people would trust me more, I'd be happier and more 'credible'. What it actually did was mess with my mental and physical health and had me focusing more on my imperfections than ever," she admits. "I think everyone has a 'happy medium' where they feel their best, can enjoy foods they love AND feel good in their body."


The Hidden Costs of Having Abs


In the video, which she titled "Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting This Lean," she explains that while "having abs might be cool," there are also disadvantages of being at such a low body fat percent. For one, it "can actually hurt your hormone health," she says. 

Related: I'm a Bikini Fitness Competitor and Here's My #1 Rule for Weight Loss


Being Lean Ruined My Happiness and Social Life


And, "being this lean" did not bring her any more happiness than she had at a higher body fat percentage. "I thought it would help my body image, but it actually made me fixate more on my imperfections than ever," she confessed. She also had to sacrifice her social life. "If I went out to eat with my family or friends, I would actually pack my own food," she said.  "This level of leanness is not sustainable and it certainly didn't make me a more qualified coach," she concluded. 


A Study Reveals the Surprising Link Between Obesity and Happiness


Research has found that while weight loss can come with mental health benefits, seriously restricting or avoiding foods can lead to disordered and psychological problems. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are obese were generally happier than those who are thin and also have a calmer state of mind.

Related: What Happens When You Quit Soda, According to a Nutritionist


Finding Your Happy Medium


This doesn't mean you are better off being obese, as obesity is linked to a number of health conditions, including  type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. As Redmond mentions, a "happy medium," a weight where you feel healthy but not deprived, is the ideal goal. 

💪🔥Body Booster: While the majority of people believe that getting leaner and skinnier will make them happier, research doesn't support this. 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more