We all know the dangers of carrying excess weight. There are all kinds of diseases and ailments that can come about due to those excess pounds. Plus there is the mental health element of it all. Not feeling good about your appearance, not liking the way you look in clothes and being physically restricted from certain activities because of your size can be really tough to deal with. Then there are the general aches and pains and sluggishness that come along with being overweight which you’ll know all too well if you suffer with it. Ready to put an end to it all? Here are some of the ways you can go about making changes and maintaining them for the long run.
Decide to start
It sounds like the simplest thing in the world, but this step can actually be the most difficult. Deciding to start takes courage, it means you’re having to accept your current situation and realise that you’re about to put yourself into a scenarios that might at times feel uncomfortable. Making a plan to do something is sensible, this could involve joining the gym, creating a healthy eating menu, scheduling a visit to the doctors and setting goals for where you’d like to be ideally. Taking ‘before’ pictures and journaling the way you feel can be helpful too, that way you can look back on them when you’re feeling like your motivation is waning.
Get an understanding of your health
If you’re carrying excess weight, chances are you try to avoid things like scales and visits with the doctors at all costs. Not only can it feel embarrassing, but fear of being shamed or spoken down to may have put you off. However, getting an understanding of your current health situation is important. It can really put things in perspective. Being properly weighed, having bloodwork done, your blood pressure and other measures of health is the first step. From here you can accept your situation as it is so that you can work to what you want. You can even have assessments such as a dexa scan for body fat, or scans of your organs to check for things like fatty liver. You can find out if you have, or are close to developing issues like diabetes. As well, you can have your cholesterol checked. There are also other tests to help you to learn more about your current status. If your health is currently still good, this can give you the motivation to prevent any serious issues from occurring. If you’re already seeing negative changes then taking action now, at the earliest stage possible, is your best bet.
Evaluate medical weight management
A healthy lifestyle is usually the first thing recommended for reducing excess weight, and in theory it’s simple. Eat less, move more and you’ll lose weight- however, if it’s really that easy then why do so many people struggle with maintaining a healthy body weight? In reality, our relationships with food and our own bodies are complex. Everything from food addiction to trauma to experiencing food restrictions in childhood can all lead to dysfunctional eating patterns and habits that can be incredibly difficult to break. There’s a strong psychological element to losing weight, and there are physical elements to it too which go further than simple ‘calories in vs calories out’ math. Years of eating poorly can result in hormonal imbalances which affect appetite, digestion and metabolism. These can lead to increased hunger signals. Consequently, keeping portions down and staying satisfied and keeping the weight off is much more difficult.
Those with binge eating habits and other issues can have strong psychological urges to consume more than they need, and so will struggle more than the average healthy person in maintaining weight. We’re learning more and more about these issues in relation to obesity, and it’s now beginning to be seen from a more medical perspective rather than purely based on the need for lifestyle changes. Medical weight loss management can involve prescribed weight loss drugs such as appetite suppressants, prescribed very low calorie diets which are carefully managed by a health professional and weight loss surgery. For individuals that find losing and maintaining weight loss difficult due to psychological or physical barriers (or both!) These kinds of medical interventions can make a world of difference.
Make long term changes
Finally, making changes that will allow you to maintain in the future is crucial. Essentially, there are five main keys to your health:
- Finding a healthy eating plan that suits you.
- Finding an activity you enjoy doing.
- Attending to your emotional health.
- Prioritizing your sleep.
- Ensuring you drink enough water.
It may also be helpful to meet with a food therapist. This can help with working through any issues that you may have that caused you to gain excess weight in the first place.