What is a Healthy Weight?
This may be one of the most asked questions when it comes to weight. There is no one simple answer to this because everyone’s body is different, no one person’s “healthy weight” is applicable to another. How you feel, how you use your body and how you fuel your body all need to be considered when determining what a healthy weight is for you.
You have to consider different components that contribute to reaching a healthy weight like metabolism, lean body mass, weight history, as well as BMI and body fat percentage.
When we look at weight alone from a medical standpoint, the ratio of lean body mass to body fat is one of the most important components of body composition. The recommended ranges vary largely depending on both gender and age, and sometimes an accurate body composition measurement is hard to come by. When considering body composition, it’s important for you to work with your doctor and nutritionist to determine what is best for you.
How do you Reach a Healthy Weight?
If you want to get to a healthy weight and stay there, healthy lifestyle changes will work better than dieting alone. These three steps can help:
- Improve your eating habits. It is best to do this slowly. You will be more successful if you work on changing one eating habit at a time. Instead of going on a diet, make healthy changes that you can stay with over time. Eating a healthy variety of foods is a lot more satisfying than following a strict diet that leaves you feeling deprived and hungry. Don’t forget to listen to your body. Young children are good at listening to their bodies. They eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. But adults may ignore these signals. You may keep eating after you’re full, or you may eat because you’re bored or upset. Pay attention to your body signals – Hunger is a normal sensation that makes you want to eat. Your body tells your brain that your stomach is empty. Fullness is the feeling of being satisfied. Your stomach tells your brain that you’re full. Appetite is the desire for the taste and pleasure of food. Some things like stress, lack of sleep, emotions like boredom or loneliness, social situations, certain smells or sights can cause you to eat even when you are not hungry. If you know what eating trigger affects you, you can avoid them. Another important thing to learn is portion control. The portions served in restaurants are usually much larger than what you need. Cutting back your portions can help you reach or stay at a healthy weight without giving up your favorite foods. Choose your foods sensibly, all foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Eat a variety of foods from each food group, unless you need to avoid certain foods because of intolerances or allergies. Remember to limit foods high sugar, sodium and those with artificial fillers and ingredients. Plan your meals ahead of time. You’ll be less likely to grab something convenient that’s not as healthy.
- Get active. Regular activity can help you feel better, have more energy, and burn more calories. Make physical activity a regular, fun part of your life. For weight loss, experts advise doing moderate activity for at least 5 hours a week. If you are just starting, start slow and as you build endurance, you can increase your activity over time. There are many different ways to stay active; Walking, jogging, running, riding your bike, dancing, joining a local gym for benefits of both cardio and strength training are great ways to be active. You can even do different workouts ar home, they don’t take much time and are just as effective and beneficial. Find something that makes you happy and excited to do it for longer than a few days. Switch things up, do different activities on different days that way you are less likely to get bored with your program. It’s good to remember that before starting any new activity, it is a good idea to get a consult with your doctor. Moderate physical activity is safe for most people but it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before becoming more active, especially if you haven’t been very active or you have health problems.
- Change your thinking. Your thoughts have a lot to do with how you feel and what you do. You’ll have more success at making lifestyle changes if you first change the way you think. When it comes to health, weight is only one part of it. Even if you currently carry some extra weight, being active and minding your nutrition can help you lose weight. Developing healthy eating habits and being more active not only help you lose weight, but also can help you feel better, have more energy, and lower your risk for health problems. When you are on a journey to reaching your healthy weight, changing how you think about certain things can help. Don’t compare yourself to others. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Listen to your body and focus on fueling it rather than on being on a diet. When you stick a label like “diet” to your eating habbits you automatically limit yourself because you start thinking of restrictions. You don’t have to restrict yourself to reach a healthy weight, but you need to be mindful of your body signals like hunger, fullness, and appetite (see step number 1.). Have your own reason for reaching your weight loss goals. If you make changes because someone else wants you to, you’re less likely to succeed. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve. Measure your improvements and progress not only with a scale. Take body measurements, take weekly progress pictures, see how your clothes fit, measure your blood pressure, monitor your cholesterol, and your blood sugar levels. Pay attention to how you are improving when it comes to your activity. Can you walk faster, run further in a shorter period of time, lift more weights and so on. Be prepared for obstacles. No journey is easy or smooth. Get support from your family, friends, community or simply find like-minded people in support groups. And most importantly support and believe in yourself.
Like everything else in life, your experience with weight is completely individual to you. It all starts moving in the right direction when you decide to change all aspects of your life, not just one. To reach your healthy weight it takes more than just cutting calories and avoiding certain foods. It takes lifestyle changes, consistency, and most of all, believing in yourself.