That’s a lot in a single title, isn’t it? Weight management, eating disorders, nutrition, and fitness – all in one post. These all go hand in hand, whether you realize it or not. When you get into managing your weight and focusing on that, it can be easy to develop an eating disorder, we want to focus on nutrition and fitness to support overall health and wellness. I want to talk about a few things in this blog article including:
- Why Weight Management is Important
- How to Lose Weight Healthily
- How to Maintain Your Weight
- Healthy Ways to Gain Weight
- Disordered Eating – Know the Signs
- Successful Fitness Programs
- The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Why Weight Management is Important
It’s no surprise really as to why maintaining our weight is important. A healthy body weight (healthy meaning healthy for YOU) reduces the risk of diseases and conditions that can come with being either underweight or overweight. Society often fails to mention that being under your body’s ideal weight is unhealthy too. But how do you know your body’s “ideal weight” to be able to maintain it? That can truthfully be extremely complex depending on your activity and individual self, but a good place to begin is assessing your BMI. BMI calculators can be vastly different because they do not take into account enough information but can be a suitable place to start. My BMI is assessed to be 22, putting me in a “normal” health range. Converting that to body fat consists of doing some math:
FEMALES: 1.2 (BMI) + 0.23 (age in years) – 5.4
MALES: 1.2 (BMI) + 0.23 (age in years) – 16.2
Where these numbers come from, I forget exactly. But my body fat is estimated to be:
1.2 (22) + 0.23 (29) – 5.4 =
26.4 + 6.67 – 5.4 = 27.67
And that, my friends, falls into the healthy Body Fat range of 21-32%, which I would say is accurate enough.
How to Lose Weight Healthily
If you are looking to lose weight or gain weight, I urge you to drop all diets and healthily do this. Losing weight healthily requires you to strive for a reasonable weight. That’s where I made my first mistake. I wanted to look like “her” and be as lean as “her” instead of striving for my healthiest me. Do not restrict, do not cut out food groups, this will end in potentially harmful results or disordered eating. Diet hypes are not sustainable. Instead, DO:
- Eat more vegetables – at least half of your plate
- Incorporate more fruits – replace sugar with these!
- Consume more fiber – fruits and veggies both have fiber!
- Add more protein – lean meats and fish
- Eat healthy fats – these will keep you satiated longer
- Increase physical exercise -replace your after-work soap opera with a light walk
How to Maintain Your Weight
Once you have lost or gained that weight, roughly 90% of people cannot maintain it. Why is that? While some of it is a lack of motivation, it can also stem from setting unrealistic expectations or not actually breaking bad habits and creating new, healthier ones. Maintaining your weight will require you to keep journals and logs and dedicate to this 100%. It will be harder before it gets easier, but if you can create a new routine and new habits, you will succeed.
Healthy Ways to Gain Weight
If you are trying to gain weight, it’s just as important to do that healthily as it is to lose weight. I think this is usually positioned differently in society, but it’s so important to remember that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to gain weight. Instead of going out and eating high-calorie, nutrient-sparse fast food, you should focus on healthy fats that are nutrient-dense and whole-grain, complex carbohydrates. When working out, increase your weights and focus on strength training more than cardio.
Disordered Eating – Know the Signs
Disordered eating can already exist in a person, or it can stem from a restrictive or overly indulgent diet. For example, as I started my weightless journey years ago, I acquired a lovely (sarcastic) eating disorder called BED, or Binge-Eating Disorder. I also have a history of Bulimia Nervosa, where even as a pre-teen I was obsessive about dieting, purging, etc. A lot of this stemmed from my male donor who commented negatively about a 10-year-old’s “thunder thighs” and “bodacious” body. This did not procure a healthy image and when I hit the fitness and diet world hard at about 24, I fell into a spiral of total disorder.
Disordered eating can be used to describe a variety of conditions, including anorexia. It usually contains a pattern of abnormal eating habits which can include purging after you eat, restricting and then eating large quantities, not eating much at all, and many more. Signs of eating disorders may include:
- Excessive exercise
- Refusing to eat
- Obsession with food, dieting, etc.
- Diet pill or laxative use
- Hair loss
- Refusal to eat around others
- Loss of menstrual cycle in females
If you or someone you know is at risk of an eating disorder, seek help. I would suggest you contact a therapist immediately or contact the national helpline.
Successful Fitness Programs
A successful fitness program will include improving endurance, muscular strength, resistance training, flexibility, and body composition to sustain your cardiorespiratory system, build muscle, and decrease chances of injury. A good physical fitness program will include a variety of training to target all of these, from running and yoga to lifting weights and stretching properly. I advise that you talk to a personal trainer if you are brand new and be cautious about online fitness program fads as these can be unbalanced programs and solely used for hype.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition, especially when coupled with a fitness program, is crucial to overall health and recovery. I highly suggest you refrain from cutting out food groups unless directed to do so by your doctor. Proteins help the body build muscle, carbohydrates produce the energy necessary to sustain your high-intensity workouts, and healthy fats sustain lower-intensity workouts and maintain blood glucose levels, leading to fewer cravings and sugar crashes. All of these are designed to work together in the body and if you restrict or cut out a food group, your body will be imbalanced and lack nutrients, leading to overall decreased performance and recovery.
I hope this helped, I realize it’s a lot to process. The biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to trust your body. This is not instantaneous but requires consistency and patience, whether losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining your weight. If you feed your body properly, it’s smart enough to get where it needs to be.