Weight Management Goals – Reasonable And Attainable
Weight management goals should be reasonable and allow the individual to achieve a weight that leads to optimum health. The initial goal is to stop further weight gain if the individual is overweight or obese. It is stated that a weight reduction of about 10% to start is enough to motivate the individual to continue the weight loss, and in terms of kilocalories, this equates to a reduction of about 100 kilocalories per day to prevent weight gain.
It is believed by health experts that weight management goals should target metabolic fitness rather than achieving a specific weight since some individuals have difficulty maintaining recommended BMI levels. When an individual is metabolically fit means that fat is used as an energy source at exercise and at rest, thus burning of excess calories by releasing fat, and the use of glucose by the muscles is also enhanced in the metabolically fit individual.
In the metabolically fit individual there are no risk factors associated with obesity, such as high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides, elevated blood glucose, insulin resistance or high blood pressure. When fat is burned efficiently by the cells of the body, there is also no excess abdominal fat. Even when the BMI is higher, if all of these other criteria are met, the person is considered metabolically fit. If these criteria are not met and the person is not metabolically fit, then there is an increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, gout and other related conditions.
How can a reduction of risk factors be achieved?
These risk factors can be lowered or eliminated through a moderate weight loss of 5-10% of initial body weight through a small reduction in caloric intake and a moderate increase in physical activity in the form of exercise no less than five days per week for about 30 minutes.
To emphasize, the focus is not on achieving a certain weight, but on achieving a healthy life style, by eating healthy foods in moderation, getting plenty of exercise, positive thinking, and stress reduction. In this way the individual will achieve a healthy weight that is right for them although it may not be a weight that is approved of by society’s standards, this also eliminate unhealthy patterns of eating and a negative body image.
We can’t all be cut from the same weight mold, because our own particular body weight is an individual achievement that is healthy for us and us alone.
These healthy living patterns should be started early in childhood, since most weight problems that are not hormonal are life style problems. If a young person is overweight at an early age, then by young adulthood, they have generally been found to be overweight. This is not true for all young people since many can get away with unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise and not gain a pound. However, when adulthood is reached and career and family obligations intervene, then weight management becomes more challenging as the ability to metabolize what we consume slows down, particularly if sloppy eating habits and a lack of an exercise routine have been the norm, but if healthy life style habits are developed in childhood, then there is greater success with managing potential excess weight throughout life.
The key is also to realize that weight management goals are something that must be maintained for life by eating a low fat diet, monitoring food consumption, monitoring body weight, and participating in physical exercise. These things become a healthy routine with the right mindset.
In summary, a good weight management program consists of:
• A desire for a life style change
• Behavioral changes to cope with stress and life challenges
• A balanced diet with moderate caloric restrictions
• An adequate amount of physical activity in the form of exercise
• Self acceptance realizing that not everyone can meet society’s ideas of what is the preferred weight
These permanent healthy life style behaviors will lead to success in weight management and reduction in the risk for chronic diseases that can lead to early morbidity and mortality.
For more information about weight management goals click on the link to nutrition.gov
For other information on nutrition including information about weight management goals some great references are:
• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein
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Cooking and Nutrition
Nutrients In Food
Energy From Food
Nutritious Food Choices
Nutrition Facts Panel
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