Weight Management (1): Introduction
Some people -- the lucky ones -- eat a little extra today and a little less tomorrow and seem to effortlessly manage a weight within a healthy range. The rest of us struggle and with varying degrees of success, we mimic what they do naturally.
Since this blog is about food, eating, and health; it is only logical that I talk about weight and weight management too. I thought it especially important since the information on this topic is so confusing.
While gung-ho on a new weight-loss diet; I always think: this is it! This is the perfect plan, and I promise myself that I'll always eat this way. During that honeymoon period, I'm so thrilled to be losing that I can't see clearly through my euphoria that the diet is certainly not sustainable.
Increasingly, we all seem to be giving lip service to the fact that diets don't work. As I've watched the numbers on the scale go up and down over the years, I guess you could say I've been systematically proving that theory over and over.
Before we start into this series, I'd just like to say two things. (1) This is more complicated than we think and (2) it's not our fault. Rather than dieting, we need to find a way to eat day in and day out that sustains us physically and psychologically while we work on becoming the healthiest versions of ourselves.
Where are we?
By way of Introduction, let's go over a few definitions so we know where we are. Then we can figure out where we need to go and how we're going to go about getting there.
We traditionally measure whether we are overweight by looking up our weight on a table that tells us that at a certain height, we should weigh a certain amount. I suppose that's as good a method as any. It does give us a rough starting point.
So, the result is a number that tells you what you should weigh. By definition, overweight would start at the weight just above that normal range.
Obesity, on the other hand, is when you pass overweight and think you'll never get back to it again. In my mind, that's the emotional definition anyway.
In the world of numbers, obesity is measured most often by computing your BMI (body mass index) score. BMI gives you a score of your body makeup using your height and weight.
Here is the meaning of your BMI score:
Below 18.5 = underweight
18.5 - 24.9 = normal weight range
25 - 29.9 = overweight
30+ = obese
Those are the numbers. Your BMI will give you an objective idea of where you are. Remember that weight is just one measure of health, but it is important to note that obesity is a predictor for diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart disease; and these are the real reasons to pay attention to weight management.
Don't just look at weight and BMI as the only measures of health though. Certainly, how you feel, your energy level, the results of your blood work, and your ability to move around are also measures of how your weight is affecting you on a functional level.
So, as we start this series, please take an honest look at where you are. That's the best first step.