How To Achieve & Maintain An Optimal Weight
Each New Year inspires many of us to focus on losing weight. The year 2017 will be no different – except for the fact that scientists are finding out more about what can help us reach and maintain the optimal weight for our individual body types.
Maintaining an ideal weight is different for everyone. Some want to become healthier while others want to look good in trendy clothes. Since there’s no perfect regimen that fits everyone when it comes to reaching and maintaining the perfect weight and size, it’s imperative that we consider all of the factors in your body type and lifestyle.
For example, you may need to perfect a diet plan and exercise regimen that you can live with for the long term before you jump into what’s trending. If you don’t find a plan you can stick to, you won’t be able to maintain success.
You need to understand various ways of pinpointing exactly what it is that will help you overcome a defeatist mindset when it comes to losing weight. Find new ways to think about your weight and implement a plan for the New Year that won’t leave you frustrated and back to square one by the middle of the year.
Weight Loss Is More Than Just Aesthetics
Sure, it’s great to think about looking in the mirror and seeing the newer, slimmer you. But it’s not always about looking good in a new pair of jeans. The bigger picture includes your long term health and how those extra pounds affect your body.
Simply gaining a better understanding about how obesity can ruin your health should be a major incentive in helping you reach your weight loss goals. Major health problems such as heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes and even depression can occur when you’re overweight or obese.
The good news is that when you lose the weight in a healthy manner, you can greatly reduce the risks of developing these devastating problems. Your weight and your health combine to create catalysts for either a healthy – or an ailing – life.
It may cause you to abandon all hopes for future success – or to look at the future with a positive, can-do attitude. Those with weight issues are far more likely to develop depression or experience negative impacts on their lives, which keep them from achieving what they’re mentally capable of.
Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is a determination of your body fat in relation to your height and weight. It’s a sobering fact that the higher your BMI tests, the more likely you are to develop a devastating disease.
Excess weight can affect all areas of the body – including neurological problems such as headaches, vision loss and stroke – plus depression and eating disorders. You may also develop respiratory problems such as asthma and pulmonary hypertension.
In the Gastrointestinal area of your body, reflux disease, gallstones, colon cancer and fatty liver disease may develop. Within the urological region of the body, excess weight may lead to diabetes and diabetic kidney disease and the pancreas may develop pancreatitis or cancer.
The circulatory system of the body may run into such issues as hypertension, high cholesterol and blood clots, while also causing back issues and joint problems. In women, excess weight can cause issues with reproduction, while men may develop prostate problems or erectile dysfunction.
It’s alarming to realize that excess weight can cause all of the above problems, but knowing what you’re up against can also be a catalyst toward losing the weight and developing healthier eating habits.
Depression is another result that people who are overweight often experience. Some become socially isolated and others may drown their sorrows by eating more or developing eating disorders.
This condition can lead you into a downward spiral of negative mental mindset and alterations in your brain chemistry. You may also see levels of cortisol (stress hormone) increase, leading to fat accumulation in the stomach area.
Resorting to medications to help with depression from being overweight often exacerbates the problem by causing more weight gain. Even a seemingly simple condition such as snoring loudly (sleep apnea) can result in sleepiness during daytime hours and increase your chances of heart attacks and strokes.
One of the most devastating problems that can occur with obesity is diabetes. Those who have a family history of diabetes should be extra careful about weight gain. Health care providers have even come up with a term for diabetes and weight gain called diabesity.
If a high blood sugar level remains uncontrolled, you may also develop kidney failure and blindness – or the necessary amputation of limbs. Diabetes is a major health problem resulting in obesity and claims a huge number of lives each year.
A shorter lifespan is another result of being overweight. When moving around becomes a problem other issues set in and health declines. The fact is that excess weight can not only ruin your health, but also cut years off your lifespan.
Rather than thinking of the aesthetics of losing weight, think about the issues that can occur if you don’t lose those extra pounds. Make a plan now to lose the weight that’s been keeping you from living the life you’re meant to live.
Optimal Weight Is Not One Size Fits All
Unfortunately, we all have to march to the tune of a different drummer when trying to lose weight. There’s not a one-size-fits-all plan to adjust your weight to your best and healthy level.
Your body and how it reacts to food and other stimuli is different from everyone else’s – just as your genealogical makeup is different from others. But if you begin by assessing your BMI health and stop focusing on the number on the scale, you’ll achieve your weight and health goals much easier – and faster.
A BMI test is easy, painless and you’ll be able to tell a great deal about your body – plus make a goal-oriented plan to lose those excess pounds. Sometimes referred to as the Quetelet index, BMI is the result of knowing the weight (mass) and height of a person.
The actual BMI is derived from the body mass divided by the body height, which results in a BMI. There are also tables and charts which can fairly accurately let you know how much tissue mass – determined by fat, muscle and bone – you have on your body.
Too much body fat can be an indicator of how prone you are to related diseases. The BMI test is an inexpensive, non-invasive method to screen yourself for your weight category.
The test doesn’t technically measure body fat, but it does give a fair indication of how your body fat may be a precursor to some metabolic diseases associated with obesity. It’s best used as a screening tool rather than a diagnostic determination of your weight.
If you think you might have a higher than normal BMI, a healthcare provider can assess the rest of your indicators. They may use diet evaluation, skinfold thickness, amount of daily physical activity, genetic background and other methods to determine if you’re at risk for BMI-related illnesses.
Some ways to reach your optimal weight by paying attention to your BMI are to eat healthier foods, concentrate on performing some physical activity each day and change the bad habits that contribute to weight gain.
It doesn’t take trendy diets or starving yourself to become healthier and reach and maintain a healthy weight goal. Eventually, the habits you change and the way you live your life will become easier and part of a routine which will improve your weight and health.
Another way to set weight loss goals that will help you reach a healthy BMI is to concentrate on losing five or ten percent of your present weight over a time span of six months. That loss alone will greatly lower your risk for heart disease and other health issues associated with obesity.
Also, it’s easier to reach that goal and maintain it rather than losing a great deal of weight all at once. When you’ve lost a small percentage of weight and have maintained it for a few months, you’ll be better able to lose additional weight.
A balance of healthy diet and physical activity will also help you maintain optimal weight. It’s easy to understand that if you’re eating the same amount of calories and expending the same amount of energy each day – your weight will remain the same.
When you change that dynamic to eating fewer calories and expending more energy, you’ll lose weight. If you eat the same or more calories and expend less energy, you’re bound to gain weight.
Rather than concentrating on the latest diet trend to help you lose and maintain weight loss, emphasize a healthy diet regime. One that features fruits, veggies and low fat dairy products can help you lose weight much faster and healthier than one that starves you or doesn’t provide enough vitamins and minerals.
Physical activity is another way to get your weight under control and also improve your health by lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes and giving you more energy to meet daily challenges.
Keep your BMI in mind when embarking on a plan to become healthier and lose weight. If your BMI is where it should be, you can relax and keep doing what is keeping you successful at maintaining a healthy and active body.
Pinpoint the Problems with Your Weight
Perhaps you don’t move your body enough – or binge eat high calorie foods. Those and other lifestyle issues can wreak havoc with maintaining a healthy weight. Your ideal weight may have been out of reach your entire life and you’ve never been able to figure out exactly why.
Before setting goals to lose and maintain your optimal weight, you should attempt to find out what’s been keeping you from achieving it before. Two things to ask yourself are, “Do I exercise on a regular basis?” and “Do I live basically on a healthy diet?”
Be brutally honest with yourself when asking these questions. Among other things to consider in the beginning are whether or not you have trouble sleeping. Sleep has a major connection with obesity. When you don’t sleep well at night, you’re not able to function at your best during the day.
Perhaps a medical condition such as a thyroid problem or diabetes is keeping you from achieving your ideal weight. But what if you do stick to a healthy diet plan and exercise and you’re still not losing weight.
Then, there are other possible problems you need to assess to find the reasons why you keep the weight on. Could you be consuming hidden calories? It’s so easy to pile on the calories (and pounds) without ever realizing you’re doing it.
For example, drinking wine in the evening or that little donut at work first thing in the morning seems harmless, but that, along with sodas (even diet sodas can trigger your appetite for more) and other snacks can increase your caloric intake and put on the pounds.
Do you normally eat more when stressed? Sometimes our motivation to watch calories and eat healthy wanes and you could find yourself eating mindlessly when you’re under a lot of pressure at work or during stressful times in your life.
You wouldn’t think a little thing such as changing the size and color of the dishes you’re eating from could reduce your calories – but it’s true. Research has proven that when you reduce the size of your plate, you’ll eat smaller portions, but if you put a small amount of food on a large plate, you’ll feel deprived.
Mindful eating is also a huge advance in understanding how and why we eat too much. Habits you may have formed in childhood may still ride your coattails and cause you to eat when you’re not even thinking about what you’re doing.
For awhile, it might be helpful for you to record every morsel you put in your mouth to eat or drink. Online food diaries are available and can help you organize and record what you eat and you’ll soon see if mindful eating is a problem you need to work on.
Sleep deprivation also has a great deal more to do with your weight than simply being tired the next day. You may be unable to make healthy choices during the daylight hours and your metabolism will also slow, making it difficult to burn the calories you consume.
A recent psychological research plan revealed that lack of sleep can increase the desire for higher calorie foods. Your body senses the need for a pick-me-up and wants you to reach for the sugar or high carbs for energy. Consider sleep deprivation when assessing the lifestyle habits that may affect your weight.
Do you know the status of your current health? If you haven’t had a medical exam lately, you may want to make an appointment – especially if you’re exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.
One medical condition that can contribute to weight gain is depression. Feelings and emotions can play a huge role in your weight issues and your motivation to lose weight. And as if that isn’t enough, prescription antidepressants can cause you to gain more weight. Be sure you’re drinking enough water – especially if you’re taking medications that can impact your weight.
It’s a vicious circle that you don’t want to get into unless you have to. Other medications can also play a role in weight gain. The birth control pill and other hormonal therapies may also have an impact on your weight.
Medications such as those for heartburn relief, antihistamines for allergies, steroids and beta blockers are culprits in weight gain and should be avoided if possible. It seems that treatments for certain medical conditions can be your worst enemy if you’re trying to lose weight.
Choose a Diet Plan That Won’t Make You Quit
After a complete assessment of why you may have difficulty losing weight, it’s time to choose a diet plan that you can live with. Choosing a plan that’s right for your problems and lifestyle is important for long term maintenance.
Choose a plan that won’t leave you feeling deprived. If you live on a high carbohydrate diet now, you’ll feel out of sync and deprived if you suddenly switch to a high-protein diet plan to live by.
The sheer number of diet and weight loss plans is enough to intimidate even the most motivated person, so you’ll need to evaluate a few before choosing one that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle.
Shun the gimmicks to lose weight. They exist everywhere you look – websites, magazines, bestselling books and more – but the advice they offer can cause even more problems.
Each trendy plan claims to have found the secret to losing weight with one gimmick or another. Some may eliminate carbs or fats and others may claim to know all about superfoods or supplements that will magically bring you to your desired weight – and with no or little effort.
One of the best ways to choose the correct diet plan for yourself is to consult with your physician. She can assess your past medical conditions and the medications you may be taking and then guide you to a plan that’s just right for you.
If you have physical problems that prevent you from certain exercises, your physician can help you with that too. Be sure and discuss your previous diets with your doctor – especially if you’ve been yo-yo dieting or have been on a highly restrictive diet plan for awhile.
Your lifestyle also plays a big part in the diet plan that you choose. For example, if you eat out in restaurants a great deal, you’ll need to learn how to choose from menus wisely and not be tempted to fall off the plan.
If you work in an office where everyone brings snacks and baked goods to munch on, you’ll need to consider that factor and how to handle the temptations. Finding a balanced plan you can live with is key to weight loss success.
Think about diet plans you’ve chosen in the past and assess what you liked or didn’t like about them. Do you prefer to diet alone or join a group of dieters for support? Also, consider your budget when planning a weight loss diet plan.
Some clinics, supplements and pre-packaged meals can be quite expensive and could be prohibitive in the long run. Most diet plans require a long-term commitment that can break the budget if the expense is too high.
There are so many weight loss plans available that it can be overwhelming to sort through. Some include detox, mindful eating, low carbohydrate, watching calories and point systems. All have been successful for certain people, but many aren’t suitable for you.
Again, consider your lifestyle, medical conditions and likes and dislikes before deciding on the best plan for you. Some plans are flexible and nutritionally balanced while others may emphasize quick loss by deprivation or changing your eating patterns overnight.
Most people do best on a plan that doesn’t make them feel deprived, but that can work for them on a permanent basis. Fad diets such as detox, grapefruit and raw foods affect the glycemic index and aren’t nutritionally balanced.
You may lose weight at first, but when you begin eating normally again, you’ll put the weight back on – with more pounds to boot. High protein and low carbohydrate diets are very inflexible and limit your intake of certain foods. These types of diet plans aren’t usually sustainable for the long term.
If you’re a big meat eater, choosing a vegetarian diet plan isn’t the right one for you. And, if you’re a vegetarian, a high-protein diet plan won’t last very long. Take time to choose the correct plan before jumping into one that will make you frustrated and cause you to gain even more weight.
Tips on Sticking to a Diet and Maintaining Your Weight
Mindset makes all the difference when following through with a diet plan and maintaining your ideal weight for the long run. When you choose a particular diet plan that could be restrictive to your lifestyle, you could risk failure and disappointment – including extra weight gain.
Keep in mind that diets that are going to be difficult for you to stick to may also be unhealthy. You also risk the feeling of being , which leads to food cravings you may not be able to resist.
After indulging your desires for food because you feel deprived, you likely will consider giving up on losing weight. Most diet plans aren’t conducive to permanent weight loss or healthy changes in your lifestyle.
Considering that, you should make permanent changes to your habits in regards to eating and exercise habits. You should work long and hard to discover a weight loss plan that you can manage for the rest of your life.
You want to take into consideration that there will be times when you indulge in cravings and influences. That’s just a fact of life and you need to be able to bounce back from indulgences and get back on track.
That’s the key to successful weight loss – keeping on track, even after you’ve strayed. Your mindset has a great deal to do with how successful you’ll be in sticking to a weight loss plan for the long term.
Mindful eating techniques should be combined with other influences to lead you to your optimal and most desired weight. Weight loss isn’t just a few weeks or months of diligent healthy eating – it’s the continued watchfulness about what it will take to realize your weight loss goals.
While it may be tempting to latch on to a trendy plan that promises rapid weight loss results, your best bet is to follow a slow and determined weight loss plan for permanent success.
A long-term commitment is necessary to make permanent changes in your eating lifestyle. You should strive to stick to the plan, but be flexible when your lifestyle dictates indulgence from time to time.
Also, strive to find a diet plan where the required food substances are easily found in your local store. If you have to mail order or travel to stores you don’t usually shop at, you could rapidly lost interest in the pursuit of your weight loss goals.
You should also like the diet you choose. If it becomes boring or you feel that it’s too restrictive, you’re likely not going to stick to it. Food items on the diet plan should be readily available at all times and during all seasons.
Be sure to include an exercise program in your weight loss plan. It’s an important factor in reaching and maintaining your weight loss goals. It’s also a known fact that those who include exercise are better able to maintain weight loss.