Weight Loss: All you need to know and how to achieve your goal excellently
Weight loss is a vital aspect of one’s health especially for overweight or obese people. The health implications of being overweight can never be overemphasized. Also, even if you think you have a perfect weight, there are some steps to take to maintain healthy weight.
This article will cover virtually everything you need to know about the human body weight and how it affects our general well-being. It will also show you “the good, the bad and the ugly” of different weight loss programs available. If you can go through this article, then you are likely to get the ultimate motivation needed to succeed. I will be breaking everything down into simple sections for easy understanding.
How does being overweight or obese affects one’s health?
Adding extra pounds of weight that is above the normal weight range leads to a huge percentage of global death. The human weight is a measure of how much energy you pump into your system (the calories from the food and drink you take) and how much energy the body puts into use (number of calories burn).
So if the amount of energy you take in is equal to the calories burn, then you are on the right track of enjoying healthy weight.
On the other hand, if you take in calories much more than what your body uses, your weight value increases. The body converts the excess calories into fat and store them in your body. This is where the root cause of obesity begins.
Also, note that just as we have overweight, there is also underweight. It is pertinent to state this so that you don’t change from being overweight to underweight. How does one become underweight? If the amount of energy (calories) you take is less than what the body uses.
However, there is a study that shows the connection between the brain, nerves and other hormones such as insulin. This connection helps to balance things up, a condition known as homeostatic feedback.
According to the study, if you eat less calories, it makes you hungry and decreases your energy level. This makes you less active. If you eat more, your energy level increases and makes you more active.
So, if this homeostatic mechanism is true, how then does one become obese? In some situations, the food we eat can affect this natural feedback that keeps our weight healthy. High fat and high sugar foods that are palatable and give pleasure can affect homeostatic feedback mechanism.
Classes of food
Food can be classified into three main types. Although there are foods that are a mixture:
Protein: contained in fish, meat, nuts, beans, eggs and meat alternatives
Carbohydrates: contained mainly in vegetables, fruits, milk and grains.
There is also refined carbohydrates. These are processed carbohydrates. They include sucrose (table sugar), white flour, pasta, and corn syrup.
Fats: You can get fats from oily fish, cheese, butter, animal fat, and vegetable oils.
Refined carbohydrates, sweetened drinks and fructose are very tasty and pleasurable. It is quite difficult to get satisfied with such foods, which makes you consume more. Since these foods produce less energy, they hardly burn out. They store in your body and over time accumulate to become harmful substances. This is the beginning of high blood sugar and the pathway to being overweight or obese.
The effect of blood sugar on your weight
Blood sugar has been one of the major factors that affect weight loss, and many people are ignorant of this fact.
The drinks and foods you eat, coupled with the physical activities you engage in determine your weight status. The consumption of high-carb and processed food increases your blood sugar. This ultimately leads to weight gain and leaves you at high risk of life threatening diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
According to Osama Hamdy, MD, director of the obesity clinical program at Joslin diabetes center in Boston and author of The Diabetes Breakthrough, the connection between weight gain and diabetes is so complicated that most people find it difficult to realize.
“The cycle begins when you gain weight,” says Dr. Hamdy. The key is that you try as much as possible to avoid blood sugar issues. Once this occurs, it becomes almost impossible to achieve weight loss success i.e. to slim down. This is the likely reason why most type 2 diabetic patients are obese or overweight. However, shedding some pounds of weight is never impossible as long as you understand the relationship between blood sugar, insulin and belly fat and how to deal with it.
Explaining the complex cycle
There is a hormone that your pancreas produces each time you eat. This hormone is known as insulin. This hormone helps in body metabolism by unlocking your cells. It moves glucose inside each of the cells, where it is converted into fuel or energy.
The problem begins with insulin resistance (a condition where the cells stop responding to insulin). Weight gain eventually creeps in, especially with the addition of visceral fat (a kind of fat found around your abdomen). These harmful fats produces inflammatory chemicals that affects cells’ response to insulin.
Imagine your body as a car, says David G. Marrero, PhD, president of health care and education at the American diabetes association. “Fill the trunk with 500 pounds of gravel and it’s harder to run. It needs more gas and it wears out the engine to get the same level of performance.” That’s obesity. “Now think of insulin as the gas line between the fuel tank and the engine. Insulin resistance squeezes it, so that when you need more fuel, it’s harder to get.”
Now, because the insulin-resistant cells find it difficult to use glucose from your blood, it builds up sugar level. When this sugar accumulate over time, it is likely to cause diabetes. This condition can harm your blood vessels and in turn leads to weight gain. The body even stores the extra sugar as fats.
As an overweight person, for every pound of weight you loss, you are reducing the risks of weight-related diseases. Although obesity can be hereditary, timely weight loss can help prevent it in most cases.
How to know if you are overweight or not
Most people are aware of the health implications of being overweight or obese. The only issue they face is how to find out if they are overweight or not.
If you are trying to find out your weight status, there are two parameters that are mostly used: your body mass index (BMI) and the circumference of your weight.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The body mass index is the most common way to check if you are overweight or not. There is a little mathematics that helps to determine this value. To get your body mass index, you will divide your weight by the square of your height.
I’m going to Use myself as an example. I weigh 72 Kg and my height is 1.8 meters. So calculating my BMI below:
Square of 1.8 i.e. 1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24
Therefore, my BMI = my weight/square of my height
So my BMI is approximately 22.
So how do I know if my BMI value is normal? Below is a chart that will guide you.
|BMI Value||Weight Status|
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal weight|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 or above||Obese|
So with this information giving above, you can easily calculate your body mass index and also know if your weight is normal or not.
As in my case, since my BMI (which is 22) falls within 18.5 – 24.9, I can say that my weight is normal.
Waist circumference is another way of determining whether your weight is normal or not. Some experts think that using BMI is not enough because it doesn’t measure body fat. Where you store fat matters greatly for your health, and fat is mostly found in the waist region. Hence, your waist size is an important factor when determining your weight status.
To measure the size (circumference) of your weight, place a measuring tape around your stomach slightly above the hip bone. Just relax, exhale, and take the measurement.
After taking the measurement and you discover that your waist size is above 35 inches, this may not be too good for your health. At this point, it is advisable to talk to your GP. He/she is likely to tell you to tweak your lifestyle for weight loss or prevent additional weight.
The health implications of obesity
Obesity is a health condition that has cost many people their money and ultimately their lives. In the United States alone, over 150 billion dollars is spent each year on obesity. About 300,000 people also die prematurely due to this condition and the figure is increasing on yearly basis. Below are the major health implications associated with obesity.
- Diabetes – type 2 diabetes is mostly the end result of obesity. This health condition is mostly seen in adults. However, it’s getting common with children now. Obesity affects a hormone called insulin. This hormone is responsible for regulating blood sugar. When there is insulin resistance, the blood sugar level increases, thus leading to diabetes. It is essential to tackle this condition before it starts occurring because even the slightest obesity can cause diabetes.
- High blood pressure – This is another health challenge that is likely to affect obese people. In the human body, extra fat tissue needs nutrients and oxygen to function. To get this fat tissue functioning, the blood vessels needs to pump more blood to it. This process makes the heart to overwork because it must distribute more blood through additional blood vessels. Circulating more blood implies high pressure on the walls of the artery. The high pressure on the artery walls causes the blood pressure to increase. Also, adding more weight can increase the heart rate, thus causing the body to be less active in transporting blood.
- Joint problems such as osteoarthritis – Since obesity is mostly a reflection of extra weight, this can affects the hips and knees. Most people opt for joint replacement surgery, but it is not advisable for overweight people. This is because artificial joints is at higher risk of causing more damage.
- Heart disease – Hardening of the arteries (Atherosclerosis) is a common condition among obese people. Another condition common with overweight people is coronary artery diseases. This is caused when fatty deposits accumulate in the artery that supplies blood to the heart. This reduces blood flow to the heart thus causing angina (chest pain) or heart attack. It may even lead to stroke if blood clots form in the narrow arteries.
- Respiratory disorder and sleep apnea – Sleep apnea is a condition that causes your breath to cease for a short period. This interrupts your sleep during the night hours and causes you to feel sleepy in the day. It also makes one to snow heavily. Sleep apnea in a way also causes high blood pressure. The extra weight in the chest region causes the lungs to squeeze and in turn restrict breathing. This respiratory disorder is associated with obesity.
- Cancer – Women who are overweight are at high risk to certain cancers such as breast cancer, uterus, gallbladder, and colon. In men, being overweight exposes them to prostate cancers and colon cancer.
- Psychological effects – In most cultures, people who are overweight or obese suffer some kind of disadvantages. Most people see fat people as being lazy. While this may not be true, these wrong perceptions have a way of affecting one’s psychology. Most times people blame obese people for their conditions and this condition can also be hereditary. All these bias and discriminating acts can affect one’s confidence.
- Metabolic syndrome – According to The National Cholesterol Education Program, metabolic syndrome is a high risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Metabolic syndrome is made up of 6 main components: elevated blood cholesterol, abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevation of some blood components that shows inflammation, insulin resistance, and elevation of some clotting elements in the blood. One-third of Americans who are obese or overweight manifest metabolic syndrome.
Why is weight loss so important?
At the beginning of each year, one of the top resolutions of most people is to lose weight. While this is important, if you don’t know the purpose of a thing, frustration sets in easily.
According to studies, about 80 percent of people trying to lose weight find it difficult to run the race to the end. This is mainly due to ignorance and lack of determination. Take note of the word “DETERMINATION” because it’s going to be used several times in this article. I strongly believe it is the keyword to any weight loss programs.
Having said that, let’s first of all have a full understanding of why you need to lose weight.
Weight loss keeps you Healthy
The number one reason why you should lose weight is related to your health. In the US, weight loss is an issue taken seriously due to its negative impact on the people’s lives. About 30-35 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. This conditions have contributed greatly to mortality rate yearly. Among the sickness and diseases related to being overweight or obese include diabetes, high blood pressure, some certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.
A lot of people have died of cancer and doctors were even unaware of the root cause of the cancer. A recent study carried out has helped the health sector know that certain cancers are actually related to obesity.
So, no matter how small the number of pounds you shed, it goes a long way in improving your health.
Weight loss keeps you in good shape
With due respect to all the fat people, it is rarely possible to see one that is happy with his/her stature. If you’ve ever come across a successful weight loser, the words they use to describe their experiences include “Awesome”, “Amazing”, and “Wonderful” etc. There is this inner joy you feel each time you stand at the front of a mirror. You look sweeter in your clothes, and this can even lead to having more friends. Of course, everyone wants to have good looking friends.
Note: When we talk about weight loss, it doesn’t mean that you must have a letter “I” stature before you are deem healthy. Once your body weight falls within the normal range of the BMI (Body Mass Index), then you are good to go.
Weight loss boosts your confidence and makes you smarter
One of the most important characteristics of fulfilled people is being confident about themselves. Having a healthy weight can boost your confidence. You look smarter when you lose weight and you may even get more admirers from the opposite sex. I know some married women may think there is nothing to worry about their weight. But I tell you, apart from the health benefits of weight loss, your spouse will be ever ready and happy to present you to his friends.
Weight loss allows you to engage in physical activities
Maintaining a healthy weight boosts your energy level. As an overweight or obese, you find it difficult to move your body. This is not healthy for you because blood circulation is not effective. Also, with a healthy weight, you can run, hike, skate, ski, bike or participate in lots of other exciting physical activities.
Weight loss boost your mood
Having a sweet and wonder sleep is another reason why you need to burn some fat. Whenever you have a good sleep, it boosts you mood and makes you happy.
Two misconception about weight loss
In the quest to lose weight, a number of people have tried out different ways that are not acceptable. Although these unacceptable weight loss tips may produce some good results at the initial stage, the end result is not worth it. Let’s consider some of these unacceptable ways.
Laxative for weight loss
Laxatives are over the counter drugs meant to take care of constipation. These drugs make you use the toilet frequently. Because it makes one to use the toilet frequently, many people believe it will be great for weight loss.
To be honest, this practice is not good for potential weight losers. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) consider the overuse of laxatives for weight loss as a myth because it doesn’t work in the real sense.
Laxative is not good for weight loss because it acts on the large intestine long after calories have been absorbed by the small intestine. This causes loss of water, minerals, indigestible fiber and electrolyte.
Some of the effect of overusing laxatives for weight loss include severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and laxative dependency (your body becomes resistant to laxatives, which makes you increase dosage).
Starving yourself to lose weight
Starving yourself to lose weight is never an acceptable weight loss tips because it does the body more harm than good. When you starve, the following takes place in your body:
Firstly, the body goes into starvation mode when you eat very little or no food at all. What this cause is that it slows down metabolism and causes the body to start storing body fat. You now leave the body on survival mode. This is certainly not the best for the body.
Secondly, you place yourself in an awkward condition. Anytime your body needs energy (food), it sends signals to your brain letting you know that you’re hungry. This process makes your urge to eat very high. And because there is so much to eat in your kitchen and refrigerator, it’s pretty easy for you to be tempted.
Then lastly, your body reacts differently when you stay away from food for a very long time. This reaction causes decrease in metabolic rate, thus making your body to store food (calories) instead of burning them.
So far, we have looked on the health implications of overweight or obesity, benefits of weight loss, and some weight loss practices to avoid. Now, let me round up this article by writing on the different ways to lose weight.
What are the different ways to lose weight?
This article will not be complete without talking about the different ways to lose weight. If weight loss is an achievable feat, then what are the ways to achieve it? This may just be a brief explanation, but I believe it will guide you in taking a bold step towards having a healthy weight.
The type of food you eat
Diet is one of the keys (alongside exercise) to weight loss. As a potential weight loser, you must have a very high level of discipline and determination if you truly want to achieve results. Surely, there are some foods to avoid if you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, this foods are so appetizing and tempting. But since you are more concerned about your health than what goes inside of you, then you need to sacrifice.
I know that virtually all fat people don’t play with their stomach, and they want to eat anything edible. The words “Discipline” and “Determination” can’t be over said. To serve as a guide for you, low carb fruits and vegetables are the best to eat for weight loss.
Other weight loss foods include tuna, beans and legumes, boiled potatoes, salmon, chicken breast, lean beef, whole eggs, cottage cheese, avocados, nuts, some whole grains, full fat yogurt, coconut oil, etc.
Exercise and the type of food you eat are the two safe ways to lose weight. There are different types of exercise to engage in to experence weight loss. It doesn’t have to be rigorous. Just walking, hiking, running, cycling can help you drop some pounds.
Weight loss surgery
Losing weight through surgery is another method of weight loss. However, this method is not convenient for some people because they hate being operated on.
The three types of weight loss surgeries include;
- Restrictive surgery (reducing stomach size and slowing down digestion). Gastric banding falls under this category.
- Malabsorptive/restrictive surgeries (makes it difficult for your body to absorb calories)
- Implanting an electric device (latest of all)
Weight loss supplements
There are hundreds of weight loss supplement that are available in the market today. This large number makes it quite daunting for potential weight losers to choose. It is advisable that you talk to your doctor before using any drugs. Some of these drugs may have side effects and may not be suitable for certain groups of people.
Additional Info: Calorie counter apps and websites
Using a calorie counter app or website can have a significant impact on your weight loss process. What does these apps do? They keep track of records for you and guide you on the kind of food to eat. Through these apps, you can know how many calories you have burned. This helps you to know if you are succeeding or not.
Below are the five best apps you can make use of. Most of them are free while some have premium version.
These are some of the important things you need to know about weight loss. If you have any questions or contributions to add, feel free to share them below at the comment box. Remember, any useful information you share is capable of saving lives.