Weight Management – Must Be Tailored To The Individual

Weight management has many complex approaches since there isn’t any one thing that leads to weight gain for all individuals; therefore, management of weight must be tailored for each individual.

Just what is weight management? One definition by the American Dietetic Association refers to it as the adoption of healthful and sustainable eating and exercise behaviors indicated for reduced disease risk and improved feelings of energy and wellbeing.

It has been recognized for quite a while now that obesity is one of the most pressing problems of our time. We now have a generation of children whose quality of life and length of life may be shorter than their parents do to this issue.

Although there have been different perceptions of heavier individuals throughout history, with those perceptions being reflected in art as something desirable, the reality in modern times is that reaching a certain higher weight level can lead to increased risk for disease as can those that are thin and have a very low weight can also be at increased risk for a host of diseases that are related to being underweight.

It has also come to be recognized that there is no ideal weight, but optimum weight must be determined for each individual. This is one reason why using weight alone is not enough, and using such measurements as BMI has been seen to be a more useful predictor of whether an individual is healthy.

When it comes to obesity there are a host of factors that contribute such as:

• Genetic

• Physiological

• Metabolic

• Hormonal

• Sociocultural

• Environmental

• Behavioral

• Physiological

What health professionals emphasize when treating obesity is reaching an overall health and fitness level rather than looking at just the weight of the individual.

Moderation is emphasized with a balanced diet that promotes the consumption of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains as a dietary recommendation.

In order to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle the individual must first undergo a change in behavior in order to recognize what has been contributing to a less than healthy life style and to want to change their thinking about the choices in food and life style. In addition to this all important change in behavior it must be recognized that change is ongoing and requires acquiring a new set of life skills that can help maintain the new lifestyle over the long term. Adding moderate exercise to the regimen will also help to maintain long-term weight management.

Due to some of the factors such as genetics, hormonal and metabolic factors there are limitations to the amount of weight that we can lose and the body shape that we can achieve, this is where psychological factors come in, where it is necessary to have self acceptance and to acquire a positive self image, which recognizes that we should strive to be the best we can be but realistically keeping any limitations in mind.

Stay tuned for more on weight management with such topics as:

• Setting Goals

• Life Style

• Approaches

For more information about weight management click on the link to nutrition.gov

For other information on nutrition including information about weight management some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

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