Most people usually rely on a weight scale to determine their success in weight loss. We rely on the numbers displayed on the weight scale and often get frustrated when we see the pointer didn’t budge.
We feel as if all the sacrifices like exercising to the point of exhaustion and food deprivation are in vain. We start asking ourselves what went wrong. Why is our body not losing any weight at all? Before you get stuck in these negative thoughts, the health experts assure you’re still making progress. Rather than depending on numbers, they recommend you focus on having a healthy lifestyle first, and then weight loss will follow.
The Metric System
According to the Center for Disease Control, the recommended number of pounds to aim for weight loss is around 1 pound per week or an average of 4-5 pounds per month. The family medicine expert Susan Besser, M.D., also says you should aim to reduce your calories down to 500 calories a day to achieve your weight loss goal.
According to her, a 500-calorie deficit in your diet is a manageable, sustainable, and safest method to lose weight in the long run. However, most weight loss programs offer more pounds to shed than 1 pound per week.
Did you know your afternoon coffee latte already contains 500 calories? Skip drinking your latte and you’re already halfway in accomplishing your weight loss goal.
This causes the public to undergo an aggressive and extreme weight loss diet in a small amount of time. One way to lose more than 1 pound per week is by slashing additional calories in your diet.
This means you need to cut down 500 or more calories if you want to lose more weight. While this method is manageable short term, the health experts warn it won’t be sustainable in long term. Not only is it difficult to maintain, but drastic diets cause muscle mass loss which triggers chronic diseases. Aside from that, you’ll have a hard time controlling food portions because of food deprivation which leads to binge-eating.
A Long-term Solution
While having a definite weight loss goal such as “shedding _ _ pounds in a month’s time” can help you keep motivated and inspired, Besser warns against being addicted to numbers. According to her, this numbering or metric system fails most of the time.
She also says the number on the weight scale doesn’t reflect your body’s status. For example, you might not have lost some weight but in reality, you’re shedding fats and developing more muscles.
Instead of relying on a weight scale, take a picture of yourself (before and after) to see your progress.
Since muscles are denser than fats, your weight scale will still reflect the same weight but not the changes in your body. However, you may notice your body gets leaner and fitter and the dress you couldn’t fit before becomes loose when you wear it again.
This is concrete evidence of your weight loss progress. Rather, she recommends concentrating on living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, choose healthy foods over processed ones, eat in moderation, get enough sleep, avoid stress and weight loss will come in time.
A Custom Diet
Besser adds that there are various factors like your hormonal makeup (based on your gender) and body composition that take major roles in your diet. For example, men tend to lose more weight at a faster rate than women since they don’t undergo menstruation or pregnancy.
Your current medical condition must also be taken into consideration. Are you taking some medications like antidepressants and steroids? These can cause weight gain. So, consult with your nutritionist, so they can work on diets that will complement your medications.
Besser recommends coordinating with your attending physician or nutritionist to formulate a long-term sustainable weight loss diet that works for you.
Aside from that, Besser says most people will also experience a weight plateau before they reach their weight loss goal. According to her, our metabolism slows down whenever we shed some weight. This makes it harder for us to lose weight.
And since our body is highly adaptive, what worked for you before might not be working now, so constant changes must be implemented in your lifestyle as you accomplish your weight loss goals.
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