Proper weight management is about much more than simply focusing on a single number, your weight. There are other, very important, objective measurements to add to your intellectual toolkit – BMI, waist circumference, body fat percentage, muscle-to-fat ratio and others – in order to achieve a physical result.
That physical result, too, should be more than just reducing a number. Your fundamental goals are to look attractive and optimize your health. Everything else is a means to those ends.
The first step to achieving those interlocking twin goals is to recognize that there are no short cuts, no easy and safe ‘miracle cures’. There are aids that modern nutritional and exercise science can supply. By all means, take advantage of them.
But along with proper nutritional supplements, appetite suppressants and the like, it’s still essential to have a proper diet and adequate daily exercise. Some appetite suppressants, when used under a reputable doctor’s guidance, can be a helpful short-term addition to the overall program.
But when you stop taking them, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the weight will quickly return unless they are only part of an overall strategy. That strategy has to include good nutrition and proper exercise.
There are hundreds of fad diets around. The ‘low carb, high protein’ diet is one of the latest. People following them often experience rapid weight loss, initially. But the long term benefits are few and the costs are high.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body. When the body has a shortage of available carbohydrates (chiefly glucose) to use to produce energy, it turns to other sources. One result of that, though, is often muscle loss and not just fat consumption.
Low carbohydrate diets reduce the amount of glucose available in the muscles and liver. That leads to muscle fatigue and less tone. At the same time, that fatigue also makes exercise more difficult and less pleasant. It also leads to a lower basal metabolic rate, which means fewer calories will be consumed per hour than would otherwise be the case.
That’s an unhealthy trade off for a rapid, short-term weight loss.
What’s needed instead is a disciplined, long-term commitment to lifestyle change. That, admittedly, is much more difficult than simply changing a few things on the menu. It requires learning more about nutrition, and more care in the selection of things to eat. It may mean substituting whole grain brown rice for potatoes. It means substituting fruits for ice cream and candy as dessert.
At the same time a person is struggling to change eating habits, something very difficult to do when the body is urging a return to the old items, another hurdle needs to be overcome: beginning a regular exercise program. Regular exercise is the second factor essential to proper weight management.
It isn’t necessary to become a fitness fanatic, but a regular series of vigorous running or weight lifting or other form of age-appropriate exercise is critical. That requires great willpower, to be sure. Most people give up too soon, because they try too hard at first. That results in injury and abandoning the program.
Think long term, make changes slowly but permanently, and you’ll find that weight is the last thing you have to think about. Your general appearance and health will improve. Those are the ends to keep in mind.