How to Maintain Normal Weight to Avoid Diseases
It is the stigma of today’s society that we have normalized being overweight or underweight rather than maintaining the ideal weight according to our body types. People think it is normal to be out of the ideal weight range. But scientifically, this misconception has brought about many hazardous health ailments. Before being into the depth of “how to maintain an ideal weight,” let us see what considerations are important for checking if your weight is normal or abnormal (may be more or less).
What decides that you are within your ideal range of weight? Your weight is solely related to “YOU.” It varies with features like the age and height of a person.
There is a term called Body Mass Index (BMI), which measures body fat concerning weight and height. BMI tells if you are within your normal range of weight or not. Let us further simplify this for you. The most easygoing way is to use your all-time favorite “Google”. Yes, it is this simple. You have to search for the BMI Calculator, and there you go!
Enter your gender, weight, and height in the respective boxes that pop up in the calculator, and you will get your BMI value. There are four BMI categories as listed next,
- Underweight: less than 18.5
- Normal weight: between 18.5 and 24.5
- Overweight: between 25 and 29.9
- Obesity: 30 or more1
The rationale for doing all this effort is to know and work for your normal health if there is any disturbance from normal. If your BMI is not between 18.5 and 24.5, it necessitates struggle.
Why Maintain Normal Weight?
Why are we enforcing to maintain a normal weight? Because our society has normalized what is not normal, we need to educate ourselves about becoming healthy and active.
Being out of the normal ranges of weight predisposes your body to innumerable diseases that may be physiological or psychological. Thus, it is impeccable to maintain normal to stay healthy and active.
Health Conditions Associated with Obesity
On average, a human body is composed of 25 to 31% of fat. If this value exceeds, you are obese.2 This increased lipid content inside the body results in multiple health risks (“obesity is a mother of diseases”) such as:
- High blood pressure (scientifically called hypertension) is a lifelong disorder.
- Type 2 diabetes: Increased lipid content inside your body prevents normal glucose uptake by the cells, thus increasing blood glucose levels. This if, severe, makes wound healing difficult.
- Coronary heart disease: Increased lipids in blood clog the blood vessels, predominately the coronary arteries. This causes atherosclerosis i-e narrowing of the pathway for blood to the heart, thus increasing the risk of angina and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
- Stroke: It is a condition that occurs due to obstruction of blood flow to your brain. Consequently, there occurs an ischemic cascade that is marked by the death of brain cells. Stroke may be manifested as hemiplegia (paralysis) or hemiparesis (weakness), dizziness, tinnitus, loss of vision of consciousness. It is a serious medical condition, and urgent treatment is required.3
- Osteoarthritis (OA): It is a degenerative joint disease that, if severe, may requires the complete surgical replacement of the joint. Obesity is one of the key causes of osteoarthritis. It is a famous quote that “prevention is better than cure,” so OA can be prevented if obesity is controlled early.
- Sleep Apnea: The fraction of lipids, if raised, cause breathing difficulties, specifically at night.
- Psychological Impairments: When a person is obese, his confidence level falls, ultimately leading to an inferiority complex, depression, and anxiety. Feelings of low self-esteem and social isolation predominates.
- Fatigue and Body Pain: When you load your body with more than its capability, it responds with pain.4
Not only these, but many other diseases predominate and are difficult to treat, so obesity needs to be controlled as early as possible. All you have to do is be consistent and never lose hope.
Health Risks Associated with Being Underweight
Whenever you go against the optimum functioning capacity of a body, you are making it prone to diseases. Followings are some of the health risks imposed by being underweight:
- Malnutrition: Your body should consume an optimum or balanced diet. If you are underweight, that means you are stressing your body more than you are serving it. Malnutrition predisposes to many other diseases like osteomalacia. Poor nutrition may decrease the iron composition of the body, which causes anemia.
- Poor Immune Response: Being underweight decreases the capacity of your body systems to fight against environmental fluctuations or challenges.
- Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones which increases the risks of fractures. Scientifically there is decreased mineralization that occurs due to dietary deficiency of vitamin D and calcium.
- Growth Abnormalities may also be reported, especially in children and young adults. Your body needs care and energy to grow adequately. If you restrict your diet too much, you will have stunted and abnormal growth.
- Fertility Issues may be caused by a disorganized menstrual cycle.
This discussion would have clarified the importance of maintaining a normal weight to save yourself from most health hazards.
Daniel Smith beautifully depicted that “Live a well-balanced life, don’t do things in excess’’.5
How to Maintain Normal Weight (BMI)?
Now that it is concluded that maintaining a normal and healthy weight is essential to living a normal life, the next question is how you can do that. Do you need medications? Do you have to stop eating? Is it a compulsion to join the gym? No, these are nothing but myths.
1. If Your Weight Is Already Normal
You might think that you don’t need to do anything to maintain your weight if you already have a normal weight. It is a misconception. You don’t need to improve, but maintenance is necessary regardless of age and gender.
The energy your body consumes as nutrients are measured in “calories.” To maintain your weight, you get to increase your physical activity in proportion to the calories you consume. Similarly, increase more calories if your level of activity is increased to meet the demands.6
For this purpose, two important things have to be kept in mind. The first is to commit to a balanced diet, and the second is to work out regularly. In terms of diet, every individual needs to consume a balanced diet. A balanced diet contains appropriate proportions of proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins.7
Physical activity does not merely mean daily life activities, but it should include some kind of aerobic activity apart from that. In the west, people have been very well educated about the importance of exercise, and they have implemented this in their daily lives.
Exercising regularly improves the general health of the body. It enhances the capability of the human body to cope with additional stresses while spending the least amount of energy. It enhances the overall strength of your bones as well as boosts the immune system so that the defense mechanisms are improved and strengthened. It causes conditioning of the body.
If your goal is only to maintain the weight, a walk for 150 minutes per week may be sufficient while enjoying healthy food.
2. If You Are Overweight/ Obese
When you are obese or overweight, your initial goal is to reduce your BMI to normal and then move towards maintenance.
To lose weight:
There are a lot of myths in our society about how to lose weight. Let us burst them all while looking at the facts and figures. Education about anything you are going to do is of utmost importance. It eases the path to the desired destination.
Keep in mind the following rules before initiating:
- Be consistent.
- Stay and keep moving at your own pace despite obeying others blindly as everybody is made different from each other.
- If you are working out, start at a lower intensity (tolerable for you). People misunderstand the statement “No Pain, No Gain” and regret it later.
- No shortcuts are allowed if long-term results/ benefits are desired. Follow the right way.
- Don’t forget to monitor and correct your posture while working out.
- Include warm-ups and cool-down regimen in your exercise
- Give yourself breaks in a week, don’t work out daily, especially if you are a beginner.
- Allow yourself to have a cheat day once a week or at least once in two weeks.
- There is a misconception that you need to cut carbohydrates completely from your diet. You should include good quality whole grain carbohydrates in your diet. Restricting carbohydrates entirely causes immediate weight gain when you start taking carbs again. For long-term results, move slow and cautiously. Carbs are found in the foods like grains, legumes, dairy products, fruits, veggies, processed or refined foods, and sugary sweets.7
Some additional tips for effective weight loss:
- Limit your portion size to have effective caloric control.
- Though you have to limit the portions but have frequent meals, you don’t have to starve yourselves. Having frequent but small meals will suffice your appetite while preventing you from overeating.
- Don’t skip meals.
- Apart from a particular 30- or 45-minutes workout session you are taking, try to keep as active as possible. Don’t walk slow while doing daily chores.
- Drink plenty of water.
- You can use digital meal planners or calorie calculators to have a strict check on your nutrient intake.
- Increase protein content in your meals but don’t eliminate carbs and fat. Proteins help build muscles and prevent fat deposition in your body.
- Have raw vegetables and fruits in your diet. Apple is famous as an “anti-obesity fruit.”
- When you have just started diet and workout, keep a check on your vitamins and calcium intake. If they are low in the diet, replace them with supplements because the side effects of their deficiency can’t be easily coped with.8
- Satisfy your cravings. If you restrict yourself from eating what your stomach desires, you’ll end up binge eating. To avoid this, satisfy your cravings by having a bite or two.
- It is very important to stop eating when you feel full. Don’t overload your stomach. This extra food deposits in the body in the form of fat.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and refined or processed foods from your diet.
- For sandwiches, limit spreads and replace them with veggies.
- When you want to use oil for cooking food, use cooking sprays. Try limiting oils and cooking your food in vegetable stock, lemon juice, vinegar, or water (trust me, it doesn’t make your food less delicious).9
3. When You Are Underweight
When you have a lower-than-normal BMI, you will have to work a little harder to get to the target weight. But remember that nothing is impossible. Again, you just have to be consistent to achieve your goals. Some simple strategies are enlisted next,
- You got to be very selective in your nutrient selection. Choose calorie-rich foods. The inclusion of more carbs will be effective.
- Have more smoothies and shakes in your diet. Drinks like these are effective in promoting weight gain. Banana shake is one of the famous drinks proven to promote weight gain.
- Some people in our society think that working out when you are lean is harmful and may lead to further weight loss. Exercise is very useful whether you are lean or fat. It strengthens your body, boosts your immune system, helps in building muscle, and burns unnecessary fat. So, you don’t need to hesitate while working out.
- Include snacks, nuts, and spreads in your diet. Make peanut butter or wrap sandwich your bedtime snack.
- Being underweight doesn’t allow you to eat unhealthily. Eat more but make sure to count on healthy foods rather than completely relying on junk food.10
So, it has been concluded that a person should aim and work to remain on a healthy weight by maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise to avoid so many health risks.
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