For many people, weight management is the most challenging aspect of their overall wellness. More than 1/3 of the adult population in the United States alone are considered obese, and it is an increasing problem globally. Diabetes is on the rise, as are deaths from cardiovascular-related conditions. Weight management is a critical tool for people to protect their long-term health and achieve their personal wellness goals.
What is a Healthy Weight?
Every individual body is different, so there is no universal healthy weight. However, Body Mass Index (BMI) is a widely accepted measurement for general wellness and relies on your height and weight to determine whether you are a healthy size. The size of your waist is another contributing factor in this calculation.
BMI is determined by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height squared (in centimeters).
The “low” range for BMI is anything under 18.5, which can be just as dangerous as being overweight. This may require dietary alterations, or a visit to the doctor, in case your lack of weight is due to a medical condition.
The “normal” range for BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, but this requires healthy eating habits and proper physical to maintain the same.
The “high” range for BMI is 25-29.9, which means that you are edging close to obesity, but can still get your weight back under control with some short-term weight management solutions.
Obesity is anything over 30 and will require long-term dedication to proper dietary changes and a higher level of physical activity if you want to prevent chronic diseases and return to the normal BMI range.
What is Weight Management?
By definition, weight management is the long-term commitment to healthier living through a combination of proper dietary choices and physical activity, which will help maintain your weight or help you slowly shed the extra pounds in a healthy and sustainable way. Unlike other dietary methods, such as fad and crash diets, weight management focuses on the slow and gradual improvement of your overall weight through realistic goals and methods.
Proper weight management techniques promote a permanent change in your lifestyle and approach to wellness, rather than a temporary fix. By promoting better dietary habits and demonstrating positive results, weight management is often the most successful and longest-lasting strategy for a better health.
Methods of Weight Management
The best methods for weight management include focusing on lean muscle, increasing exercise time, reducing screen time, eating meals regularly, and managing portion sizes, among others.
If you are trying to control your weight, replacing fat with muscle is a good strategy, but remember that muscle weigh more than fat, and bulking up may not be your ultimate goal if you want to keep your weight under control. Focusing on lean muscle development, through the use of weights, rather than a pure cardiovascular diet, will increase your metabolism of fat since muscles require a more consistent delivery of energy.
If you are already an active person but want to improve your weight management techniques, try increasing your exercise time by a few minutes every day. Even an additional five minutes can help you get past that calorie bump into a deficit, so you can begin seeing gradual weight loss over the course of a few weeks.
Our modern world is overflowing with visual distractions, particularly from mobile devices like tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Despite being mobile, the use of these gadgets is often done while in a sedentary position, impacting not only your posture and activity levels but also encouraging poor eating habits. Mindlessly snacking on the couch while watching hours of television each night is just as bad; in general, be more active and look at the screens less.
Although cutting back on calories may seem easier if you simply skip a meal every few days, this dearth of nutrients can slow down your metabolism and leave your body lacking the resources it needs to keep you energized. Instead, choose a balanced meal plan that keeps your caloric intake under control, without requiring you to go without nutrients for longer periods of the day.
Rather than forbidding yourself from eating certain foods, simply reduce your portion size. Denying yourself the foods you love will make it much more difficult to maintain your diet, whereas reducing the volume of those foods will keep you motivated and encouraged to stay on track with your goals.
Diet and Weight Management
One of the two critical components of weight management is your diet, so if you are overweight, obese, or simply trying to shed a few pounds to reach your goal weight, you will need to adjust your diet accordingly. The best pieces of advice for your diet include always eating breakfast, weighing yourself daily, keeping a food journal, shopping smarter, boosting your fiber intake, and avoiding processed foods.
There is no replacement for a solid breakfast to start your day. Experts recommend a high-fiber breakfast, in addition to Greek yogurt, fruit, granola, nuts, and other healthy breakfast options. This will not only give you an energy boost at the start of the day but will also keep you feeling full, thanks to the fiber, thus preventing overeating and snacking between meals.
This is a point of contention for many experts. On more strict diets, it is best not to look at the scale every day, as it can be discouraging if you haven’t seen immediate results. However, with weight management, you want to ensure that you are maintaining a consistent weight or a consistent reduction in weight, to know whether you need to tweak your more permanent diet changes.
Your dietary intake begins with what you purchase and ends with what you have in your house to cook. If you plan your meals ahead and buy your groceries accordingly, you’ll be less likely to order take-out or binge on snacks when you can’t find the right ingredients for a healthy meal.
As a general note for all diets, increasing your fiber intake is crucial, considering that most adults do not consume an appropriate amount of fiber each day. This key nutrient will help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, keep hunger in check, and improve the efficiency of your digestion.
Avoid processed food whenever possible, particularly candies, junk food, fast food, and frozen meals. These may be simple and delicious options, but they are packed with preservatives, additives, saturated fat, and trans fat, none of which will help you in your weight management goals.
Keeping a food journal may seem like an annoying and time-consuming practice, but it will provide an honest picture of your nutritional habits and trends over the course of weeks or months. It can help point out areas where your weight management strategies need adjustment, rather than having your strategies not work, leaving you mystified as to what the problem is.
Weight Management Products
There are countless weight management products and supplements on the market that can help you along the way to a healthy BMI, including caffeine, green tea extract, conjugated linoleic acid, and raspberry ketones, among others.
These four compounds, which can be taken in supplement form, primarily engage the metabolism and increase the fat-burning potential of the body. Most of these effects are due to the stimulation or inhibition of hormones within the body, including norepinephrine and adiponectin. By affecting hormone levels, you can increase the energetic demands of the body, resulting in more calories being burned and more weight being lost. However, if you are attempting healthy, long-term weight management, it is unwise to become addicted or dependent on these types of products, as they can have unwanted side effects. The natural approach is the best!