As you age and your metabolism begins to decline, maintaining a healthy weight becomes increasingly difficult. Putting aside the natural desire to preserve a youthful physique, weight management is important for many other medical reasons. If you are able to keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) between approximately 20 and 25, this helps reduce your chances of developing conditions such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis (particularly in the back, knees and hips), and fatty liver disease. The bigger questions then become: 1. How to lose weight to achieve a BMI within a healthy range and 2. How to maintain this weight. The short answer to these questions is that it differs for each person.
Developing a weight loss plan that is tailored to your needs and personal goals is incredibly important. Losing weight isn’t just about being on a “diet”. Ultimately, the objective is to help you achieve a healthier number on the scale by living a healthier lifestyle. To a certain degree, weight loss is a fairly concrete concept: if you consume more calories than you expend on a daily basis, the scale is unlikely to move in a favorable direction. The challenge is determining the best way to achieve a negative calorie balance for you, because what works for one person may not work for you. Countless diets have been publicized for weight loss. Should you choose to follow one of these, be mindful that they are not necessarily healthy for everyone.
General Tips for Healthy Weight Loss
- Make your diet and lifestyle modifications sustainable. If you choose a plan that you know you will only be able to adhere to for a short period of time you run the risk of gaining the weight back quickly. Anything “extreme” is not healthy or sustainable.
- Be rested! Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation alters your cortisol secretion and can cause you to feel hungry even with adequate food intake. It also suppresses Leptin, a hormone produced by the body’s fat cells. Leptin communicates with an area of the brain that regulates when and how much we eat. Deficiency of Leptin can falsely suggest that we need more fat storage.
- Move more! Supplement your diet modifications with daily exercise. It is very challenging to lose weight without any added exercise. Studies have shown that trying to get 10,000 steps daily helps with weight loss and overall fitness
- Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and all forms of soda (both diet and regular)
- Eat slowly. Allow your body time to recognize that it is full.
- Small wins can lead to big rewards. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to a nearby store instead of driving. Instead of watching your kids run around, run around with them.
- Mind your portions. Bigger is not necessarily better. Consider splitting dinner with someone instead of eating it by yourself. Ask your waiter to pack half of your order and only bring out one half at the table to avoid overeating.
- Try 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in 4 to 6 ounces of water daily
- Drink water with chia seeds to help with fiber intake, keep your bowels regular, and also help with feeling satiated.
In the end, remember that there is a distinct difference between being overweight and being obese. The key feature of obesity is excess body fat leading to a higher than desired weight. Obesity has become a nationwide epidemic, and by engaging in healthier diet and lifestyle practices you are doing your part to battle this disease. Come visit us at Pandya Medical Center to discuss weight management with one of our knowledgeable providers. Along with doing comprehensive blood work to help with weight loss, we have a registered dietician, Parul Shah, on staff who comes to both the Johns Creek and Cumming locations. You, your provider and Parul can work together as a team to create a plan that you believe you will be able to follow and more importantly maintain in the future.