Weight management – Tips & Benefits

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Weight is always a factor of judgement. People wish to have an ideal weight due to peer pressure. Being overweight influences an individual’s emotions, confidence, self-esteem and physical and mental health. 

To avoid being a victim of bully, people want to maintain a normal weight, and thus the need for weight management programmes arises. 

Weight management

Unhealthy weight also has a negative impact on health. Weight loss is more than just physical appearance, and it improves the quality of life.

Weight management is a set of practices and behaviours that are primarily required to maintain a healthy weight.

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Weight loss and weight maintenance together form the weight management programme. 

Exercise forms the core of the weight maintenance programme, while diet is the critical component of a weight loss programme. 

BMI

BMI is an indicator of overweight and obesity. The BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (kilogrammes) by their height (metres) square. 

BMI estimates the body fat content and predicts the risk for diseases associated with excess body fat.

Category BMI (Kg/m2) 
Underweight < 18.5 
Normal 18.5 – 22.9 
Overweight 23 – 24.9 
Obese  25 – 29.9 
Severely Obese ≥ 30 

The higher the BMI, the higher is the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 Diabetes, breathing problems, gallstones and certain cancers.

Health effects of overweight and obesity

Being overweight and obesity brings about a risk for various lifestyle diseases. According to CDC, the following are a few examples of the effects of excess weight:

Preventing Weight Gain

Self-management is the most effective way to prevent weight gain.

Healthy eating plan 

It is remarkable that most disease-preventing foods also help with weight control. Foods to include in a healthy diet plan are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

A calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, so the best weight-control method is limiting portion size and exercising more.

Physical activity

There aren’t any clear guidelines for physical activity recommendations. The 2008 federal guidelines for overall health recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity and aerobic physical activity per week. This is significant for preventing unhealthy weight gain.

Self-monitoring

Self monitoring

Who else can take better care of an individual than themself? Self-monitoring is very crucial. It is the process of observing and recording one’s food and exercise patterns and analysing them. 

Self-monitoring aims to increase self-awareness of a person’s behaviour and outcomes. This serves as a warning if problems arise and can also track the success rate. 

Self-monitoring techniques that are commonly used include:

  • Food journals
  • Regular self-weighing
  • Exercise diaries
  • Pedometers, accelerometers and metabolic devices 

Healthy eating for a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight with an unhealthy eating pattern is no good. Healthy eating requires a balance of macro and micronutrients like protein, carbohydrate, fat, fibre, vitamins and minerals in our diets. 

There is no need to exclude certain food groups from the diet. Instead, choosing the healthiest options from all the food groups helps achieve a healthy weight.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. 

Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can naturally give fullness and help cut down unhealthy food intake. 

A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or vegetables. Most of us need to eat twice as much as we do now.

Fruit and vegetable intake can be increased by

  • Including them in all the meals
  • Taking fruits as a dessert
  • Replacing an oily side dish with a vegetable salad.
  • Snacking on vegetables like carrots, cherry tomatoes and peas

Calcium-rich foods

Calcium helps in boosting metabolism, which allows the body to burn fat. People aiming for weight loss can take calcium-rich foods. These include,

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products – Milk, curd
  • Seeds – Chia seeds, Sesame seeds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Amaranth
  • Almond

Meats

Meat can be included in a healthy weight-loss diet. It is advisable to consume lean meats that are high in protein and low in saturated fat. One should avoid eating processed meat since they are high in sodium and saturated fat.

Leans meats that can be a part of healthy eating are

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Salmon
  • Turkey

Comfort foods

Comfort food is defined as simple foods that have a nostalgic or sentimental value for someone. It is usually associated with one’s childhood or home cooking and gives a comforting feeling.

Comfort foods can be distinguished by their high caloric and carbohydrate content. The nostalgia may be personal to an individual or cultural.

Curd rice, khichdi, bissi bele baath, tamarind rice, dal chawal, rajma chawal and dosa are a few comfort foods in India. It can vary with each individual. Coffee is also a comforting food for many. 

Consuming these foods helps release dopamine that relieves stress, gives pleasure and provides a warm feeling, indirectly affecting weight management. 

Water and healthier drinks

Water is very vital for the body’s functioning. Adequate water is required to metabolise the food we eat and helps in weight loss.

Healthy drinks include vegetable juices, green tea, apple cider vinegar and fruit-infused water. These can also help in detoxification which is required for maintaining and losing weight. 

Planning meals

The first step in planning meals would be to decide on the calorie count. Calorie restriction is necessary to lose weight, and normal calorie is required for weight management. 

The next step is to schedule the meal timing and choose healthy food options. Nutrient-dense meals from all food groups make an ideal meal plan for both managing and losing weight. 

Portion size is an essential factor to be considered while planning meals. 

Calorie restriction

Calorie restriction refers to reducing average daily caloric intake below the usual consumption without the deprivation of essential nutrients. It is advised for a person looking for weight loss. 

It is advised to reduce 500 calories per day from the current intake to lose one kg per week. 

Healthy recipes

Outside foods are frequently high in calories, unhealthy fats and sugars, which add bulk to the body and wear down the bones and organs. They also deprive the body of essential nutrients.

Healthy cooking and healthy recipes are nutrient-dense, which is very much required for weight management.

Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke and heart disease are leading causes of chronic illnesses that can be avoided through healthy cooking. 

Healthy cooking keeps the immune system strong and protects the body from infections. Eating healthily improves mood and keeps a person active, ultimately lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

A few healthy recipes for weight management include,

  • Oats Idli
  • Broccoli paratha
  • Ragi dosa
  • Poha
  • Oats and matar cheela
  • Mixed bean salad

Physical activity for a healthy weight

Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. 

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, especially after a significant weight loss, one may need to engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.

Walking, running and sports are examples of structured physical activity. Daily activities include housework, garden work or dog walking. Choose a mix of structured and daily activities to get benefitted. 

Why is physical activity important?

Along with a balanced diet, physical activity is essential for weight management. Studies show that physical activity helps in weight loss and weight management. 

A physically active lifestyle burns calories and also has numerous other benefits.

How much physical activity do I need?

To maintain weight 

150 minutes of moderate-intensity workout or aerobic exercise per week and 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity per week are ideal. An equivalent combination of the two also works best.

To lose weight and keep it off

Physical activity requirement is increased when a diet plan is changed, and calories are cut down. 

Regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan are required to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Moderate-intensity exercises

Moderate-intensity exercises include swimming, brisk walking, gardening and dancing.

Vigorous-intensity exercises

Vigorous-intensity activities include running, aerobic dancing, hiking uphill and jumping rope. 

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is vital for weight loss as well as weight maintenance. Consistent self-monitoring aids in weight maintenance by assisting individuals in adhering to daily caloric intake goals.

Tips to help children maintain a healthy weight

Children can maintain a healthy weight with the help of their parents. When the parents practise a healthy lifestyle, children develop it as a habit. A few ways to help children with weight are

  • Let them be physically active at least for 60 minutes a day
  • Cook healthy meals at home
  • Keep a child-sized plate for them to control their portion size 
  • Lessen their screen time 
  • Ensure adequate sleep

What are the benefits of weight loss?

An overweight or obese person need not lose excess weight. Studies show that a mere 5 % to 10 % weight loss can help improve overall health.

Losing weight may imply:

  • Decreased risk of lifestyle diseases like cancer, Diabetes, stroke, heart disease
  • Decreased risk of joint pain and back pain
  • Improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels 
  • Lowered blood pressure

Weight loss can also boost an individual’s confidence, thereby reducing stress. 

Conclusion

Weight management helps individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Strategies are planned with the help of a nutritionist or dietitian for long-term weight management. 

Weight loss and weight maintenance form the core of weight management. A balance of diet and physical activity is vital for reaching the goal. 

FAQs

1. What is the importance of weight management?

Maintaining a healthy weight is significant for good health. It can reduce the risk of many different cancers and lower the risk of Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

2. How can we reduce weight without exercise?

Controlling the portion size can help reduce weight without exercising, eating slowly, and taking plenty of water.

3. What is the weight management formula?

The magic formula for weight loss is a calorie restriction of 500 to 1000 calories per day. A calorie deficit of 7000 calories is needed to lose 1 kg of weight. 

4. Can I lose weight by walking?

Walking is proven to be beneficial for weight loss because it helps burn calories. Adding 30 minutes of a brisk walk to the routing could burn about 150 calories per day. The faster a person walks, the more calories they burn. 

5. Does coffee reduce weight?

There is no definitive answer as to whether coffee aids or hinders weight loss. There have been studies that support the idea that drinking coffee promotes weight loss, but not enough of them to make it a widely accepted fact. Furthermore, there is no evidence that coffee can target fat in specific areas of the body, such as the stomach.

6.  What is the normal weight in kg?

The following is the Devine formula for calculating ideal body weight in adults:
 Male ideal body weight (IBW) = 50 kg + 0.9 kg (height (cm) – 152)
Female ideal body weight (IBW) = 45.5 kg + 0.9 kg (height (cm) – 152).


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