Beyond looking good, maintaining a healthy body weight helps to significantly reduce the chances of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Excess body fat alters your endocrine system, i.e. your hormones; it clogs up the proper functioning of your body's organs and triggers a number of physiological modifications setting the stage for chronic diseases.
See here 8 reasons I suggest to convince you to learn about and include lifestyle habits that will bring you closer to your ideal weight.
Why do You Want to Reach Your Ideal Weight
- Improve your daily physical mobility
The human body is designed for physical activity. During activity, your muscles are activated, transporting oxygen and nutrients to the body while strengthening and maintaining your good posture and full range of motion and body plasticity.
People who gain weight lose mobility and become more sedentary, inducing further weight gain.
- Protect you from age-related diseases
Knowing your ideal weight and maintaining it, or at least being close to it, protects you from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, but also from others such as chronic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cognitive decline and cell damage.
- Improves your quality of sleep
Excess fat, especially in the abdominal area, prevents the lungs from fully expanding. This prevents you from breathing deeply, reducing the chances of a restful sleep. Being overweight also increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnoea, which is when you stop breathing several times during sleep.
- Being at your ideal weight motivates you to exercise to stay fit.
Adults who maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) are more likely to want to stay healthy by exercising and participating in physical activities that appeal to them or are easy for them.
- Improves and maintains good mental health
Inflammatory chemicals produced by excess body fat not only interfere with the substances that make us feel good, but also increase stress-related hormones.
In contrast, a sense of well-being and calmness has a biological basis in that the body produces chemicals or hormones that help it cope better with stress, stimulate good feelings and optimism.
It is not surprising then that obesity increases the risk of depression. It has been found that more than 40% of adults with depression are obese, so staying close to your ideal weight is as important for your emotional health as it is for your physical health.
- Improves libido
Excess weight seems to be inversely proportional to sexual desire. A high body mass index (BMI) has been found to reduce sexual appetite. Sexual health, among other factors, depends on balanced hormonal patterns and if hormones are out of balance, sexual desire is likely to be dulled.
- Better sexual performance
Being overweight is a factor that can affect sexual relations and sexual performance. In men, obesity is an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition that interferes with the ability to develop and maintain an erection. It has been observed that obese men are much more likely to suffer from ED than men with a healthy BMI.
- More energy and better sports performance
Being overweight is simply an extra burden that makes it harder for the body to perform and use energy efficiently. Just carrying a few bags of groceries makes it difficult to move smoothly, now imagine the stress of carrying a few extra pounds around.
Decreased energy levels make it difficult to feel good and exercise, and lack of exercise leads to further weight gain making it a vicious cycle that is increasingly difficult to get out of.
How to Calculate Your Ideal Weight
When calculating your ideal weight, you will find that it is not an exact number but lies within a range. This is because your ideal weight depends on several factors that must be taken into account, such as your age, gender, body build (thin, medium or broad-boned), genetics, medical history and lifestyle habits, mainly.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) measures standardised weight for height and although it does not directly measure body fat or body composition, research has shown that the BMI measurement is closely related to other methods that directly measure body fat.
In the link below you will find a calculator of your ideal weight according to various methods used since the last 50 years. However, I recommend that you go with the BMI method as it is the most up to date and takes into account the range I am talking about between thin, medium and thick-boned people, which makes the calculation far more accurate.
How to lose weight safely
The process should be slow but steady. According to the Harvard University Journal of Health, people who lose about 1 kilo of weight per week are more successful in maintaining their ideal weight. This allows the body to adapt to the change and can reduce the risk of developing strong cravings and feelings of deprivation that often accompany faster weight loss.
Ongoing monitoring and personal management. This refers to setting achievable daily or weekly goals through journaling or meal planning that provide you with information and accountability for your eating behaviours. This category also includes problem solving, such as having a plan for "relapse" if you gain weight due to stressful life changes, holidays or work demands.
Create a support system. Research suggests that maintaining frequent contact with others for support (e.g., a trusted family member or friend, doctor, health coach, registered dietitian) can help give you encouragement and strength to take on your challenge.
Develop healthy eating patterns. To this day, calorie reduction remains the most effective approach to weight management. There are many dietary strategies (e.g., high-carbohydrate and low-fat versus low-carbohydrate and high-fat versus intermittent fasting or a Mediterranean diet). Choose which strategy works best for you or suits you best and start on your way to your ideal weight.
Stay active. Exercise is one component of maintaining a healthy weight and preventing weight gain, but it also plays a key role in wellbeing and mental health.
Some people need more exercise and others less to maintain their ideal weight. The amount needed will depend on one's genes and lifestyle. In addition, doing different types of exercise can further extend the range of benefits.
Mindfulness or mindful eating ¿Are you the type of person who eats too fast or while distracted by watching TV or scrolling through your phone? Do you eat because of stress or even when you're not hungry?
Mindful eating addresses these behaviours associated with weight gain. Increasing awareness and appreciation of food can provide greater satisfaction, physically and mentally, which can help reduce overeating.
Prioritise self-care. In a society full of rushing and endless demands, taking care of our bodies can quickly fall to the bottom of our priority list. Taking time to attend to our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs can promote a healthy weight.
Self-care can help improve mood and sense of well-being and increase motivation and energy levels. This allows you to accept yourself, understand your mistakes, rethink your dietary choices, and give yourself the strength to continue.
What NOT to do If You Want to Reach and Stay at Your Ideal Weight
Obesity has been identified as the true pandemic of the 21st century and part of the culprit lays in the sedentary lifestyles we all are leading today. We all suffer from higher levels of stress than in previous years and often adopt unhealthy behaviour patterns due to changes in eating habits or other risky behaviours.
In other words, the number of people with metabolic syndrome has increased and they are much more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems that will shorten their life expectancy.
Wegovy, Rybelsus or Ozempic are drugs prescribed for people with a BMI over 27%. These drugs have the same ingredient: semaglutide; and the same purpose: blood sugar regulation and anti-obesity.
Some studies have been conducted on obese people and people with diabetes and have had a significant effect.
However, you should be aware that side effects include,
nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation, abdominal pain, indigestion, headache, fatigue, dizziness, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, gastroenteritis, and flatulence.
In addition, Wegovy or Ozempic come with other warnings:
Risk of parafollicular tumours of the thyroid.
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Gallbladder disorders such as gallstones
Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eye)
Altered heart rate.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviour
Along with the weekly injection of one of these medications, it is recommended to eat whole, nutrient-rich foods: Opt for foods that are minimally processed and contain a variety of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. For example, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Stay hydrated because - as the instructions in the booklet or your health care provider has probably prescribed- drinking enough water is essential for a well-functioning body. So, in principle, you should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and limit sugary drinks.
The question is, how many people who inject this medication follow this protocol?
According to an article by Dr Joseph Mercola,
"The crux of the problem is that this drug does nothing to address the cause of obesity. It is simply manipulating brain chemistry to artificially suppress appetite, potentially becoming suicidal in the process.
Meanwhile, research has shown that processed foods affect the brain in detrimental ways, causing anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment. So, basically, many are eating processed junk that deregulates their brain, and then taking a drug that just deregulates their brain even more."
What are considered ultra-processed foods?
Ultra-processed foods include:
- Carbonated soft drinks.
- Sweet or savoury packaged snacks.
- Chocolate, candy (confectionery); ice cream.
- Mass-produced packaged breads and pastries.
- Margarines and other spreads.
- Biscuits, cakes, pies, tarts, and cake mixes.
- Breakfast cereals.
- Precooked cakes, pastries, pies, and pizzas.
- Poultry and fish "breading", sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs and other reconstituted meat products.
- Soups, ramen noodles and "instant" powdered and packaged desserts, and much more.
There is also an alert on foods containing vegetable or seed oils, such as corn, sunflower, canola, cottonseed, soybean, grapeseed, and safflower oil.
Seed oils are commonly used in cooking, even at home, but if you want to lose weight and improve your health, they should be strictly avoided as they are high in omega-6 linoleic acid, which more and more research is finding to be a major cause of chronic disease.
Your path to your ideal body weight and staying there is based on the acquisition of good eating habits, choosing above all healthy and good quality food, as well as good hydration and exercise. No magic pill or injection can do what only you, with awareness and dedication, can achieve.