While some never worry about gaining an inch or about what they’re going to eat, most of us always have one or two extra kilos we want to get rid of, and some have important weight problems that need to be managed.
What is Weight Management?
As the words clearly state, it is the approach we take to keeping our body weight at a healthy level so that we avoid both excesses and deficiencies.
While most Weight Management programs deal with overweight people who have excess body fat, there are individuals who are medically underweight and they also need improve their eating and exercising methods.
There are several Weight Management plans, most of which include exercise, balanced diets, stress and sleep management as well as relaxation techniques. They all depend on whether you need to lose, gain or maintain your weight.
How is body fat determined?
Healthy weight level depends on a person’s height and built. Most nutritionists measure what is called the Body Mass Index, which determines the percentage of fat in your body. BMI is equal to your weight divided by two times your height in meters.
Try it and see. The result you get is explained as follows:
- If BMI is less than 18.5, you are underweight
- If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is normal
- If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight
- If you BMI is greater than 30, you are obese
You are healthy when you eat the exact amount of calories and fat that your body requires to handle your daily activities. While being overweight is caused by you indulging in more calories and fat per day than your body is using, being underweight is the result of not eating enough or having an eating disorder.
What are the main causes of being overweight?
- Over-indulging in food, especially junk food and unhealthy desserts, binge eating or other eating disorders
- Lack or limited physical activity including exercise
- Genetic disposition
- Hormonal imbalances, especially those to do with the thyroid
- Slow metabolism or metabolic disorder from going through different eating cycles
- Stress, which either can cause you to overeat or it releases a hormone called cortisol, which slows your metabolism
- Withdrawal from an addition, which leads to binging or overeating
- Sleep disorders, whether not sleeping enough or not sleeping well
- Medications, such as tranquilizers, sedatives or antidepressants
What health risks are related to being overweight?
The life we lead today, eating junk food, sitting in front of our screens and a number of other factors, result in an ever increasing number of people who are overweight if not obese. The fat that is stored in excess in the body is the primary cause of most heart diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, some cancers and other conditions.
What are the main causes of being underweight?
- Malnutrition and eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia
- Mental or physical issues
- Hormonal imbalances, especially those to do with the thyroid
- Gastrointestinal or liver problems
- Stress, shock or trauma, which can cause you to stop eating
- Lack of sleep or bad sleeping habits
- Toxins and vaccines
What health risks are related to being underweight?
It is important to note that being medically underweight is different than being aesthetically slender underweight, and this can lead to a number of health problems, including:
- The exaggeration of simple diseases, such as diarrhea, that can become fatal
- Mental and emotional problems
- Decrease in energy
- Weakening of the immune system, which can lead to a number of infections
What are the main elements of Weight Management?
If you have a weight problem, or if you just want to manage your weight in a more organized and planned way, you should seek the advice of a trained professional nutritionist or dietician. After discussing your history and getting a good feel about your lifestyle and activities, they will provide you with a customized plan that involves the following basic guidelines:
- To eat a healthy and balanced diet on a permanent basis
- For losing weight, the importance is more on lessening the fat intake than on calorie reduction. For gaining weight, you should do it gradually by increasing the calories of healthy food and not by eating junk.
- To exercise on a regular basis
- To sleep well
- To avoid alcohol or drink moderately
- In some cases, certain therapeutic treatments can also help in establishing a long term healthy lifestyle
- Managing your mental wellbeing
You will most probably have a target set for you within a specified timeline and with regular follow up visits scheduled, so that your improvements are monitored, or your plan altered when necessary; they also give you the necessary motivation.
What are Balanced Diets and Exercise as part of Weight Management?
The two elements are extremely related, because there should be a balance between the energy you are consuming and the one you are using up. You may need to turn around your lifestyle in order to achieve your ideal weight, by establishing a daily exercise routine and learning how to reduce your caloric intake.
In general, although you should have a customized nutrition program for yourself, you should have three meals a day with one snack. Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetable a day. Use mono-unsaturated oils, such as olive and canola. Eat less red meat and more chicken and fish. Mix your diet, do not eat the same thing every day.
While toning your muscles and removing excess weight is the ultimate goal of exercise, it has the additional benefits of putting you in a good mood, boosting your immune system thus promoting your overall health and wellbeing.
The intensity and type of exercise routine you follow depends on whether you are seeking to lose weight, maintain your weight or gain it. You can maintain your weight but lose fat and gain muscle in specific places.
What is Mental Weight as part of Weight Management?
What Mental Weight ultimately means is that you are what you think you are.
Maybe that’s a little too much of a simplification, but deep down you know it’s true. You might be really overweight and dieting to reach your ideal weight. However, if you don’t work on mentally changing your weight and starting to perceive yourself as thinner, you have lost half the battle. You will most likely either drop out of treatment or fail to reach your target.
Weight Management programs not only help you physically, they also offer you a way to treat the underlying cause of your weight problem and your psychobiological behavior, so that you end up with the mental foresight and emotional willpower to achieve positive results.
If you eat because you love food; or when you are upset about something or with yourself; if you sometimes hide what you are eating, or hide when you are eating, from others; if you have uncontrollable cravings at times; you have a problem with Mental Weight. In that event, make sure you mention it to whoever is planning your Weight Management program.
What is Stress Relief as part of Weight Management?
First of all you should know how stress can make you gain or lose weight:
- Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which slows down the metabolism and encourages fat storage primarily around the waist line. As long as your stress is not relieved, your cortisol levels remain high.
- Stress causes some people to binge eat or crave certain foods so that they don’t think about what is stressing them out, while eat causes others to stop eating completely
- Stress can increase the level of sugar in the blood, which leads to higher insulin levels and more body-fat storage
Exercise is one sure way to relieve your stress. However, there are some other non-physically challenging pampering techniques that alleviate stress, such as a massage, a manicure or pedicure, a facial or a bubble bath.