If you’ve decided that you want to lose some weight, you may be unsure how to get started. For example, you may be wondering what the best exercises for weight loss are or how much weight you would actually like to lose. Part of the difficulty in creating a weight loss regimen is that, in modern society, there is a cultural obsession with being skinny. It’s important to create and fulfill weight loss goals while staying healthy. If you try to lose weight in line with some ultra-skinny standard, then this could lead to a different set of health problems.
Let’s explore how you can lose weight in a way that benefits your health. It’s important to prioritize your health over aesthetics alone; after all, your overall well-being is always more valuable than how you look.
Watch Your Diet
While intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective way of losing weight, you don’t want to deprive yourself too much of food. When you want to lose weight and aim to do so quickly, it can be tempting to severely limit your food intake. These sorts of restrictions on eating, combined with regular, intense exercise, may make you shed pounds in a short amount of time, but it can also lead you to become malnourished. Additionally, this type of behavior can cause eating disorders to develop or worsen.
Keep in mind that building muscle through strength training can help you lose pounds but you need adequate protein intake in order to build and maintain those gains. Moreover, while it may seem intuitive to avoid fats so you can lose fat, certain fats (e.g. in nuts) are essential for healthy brain function. You don’t want to lose weight at the expense of your cognitive functioning.
Check Your BMI
One of the best ways to ensure that you are sticking to healthy weight loss goals is to check your body mass index (BMI) along the way. BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to calculate if your weight is healthy. A BMI calculator can tell you if you’re underweight, a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. For an adult, a healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9.
There are some limitations to the BMI measure, however. For example, BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat, muscle, and bone. This means you could be very muscular and count as overweight (even though you’re healthy) or have little muscle and a lot of fat and be considered healthy by the BMI measure, even though you may not be. Nevertheless, BMI still remains a pretty reliable standard for assessing whether your weight is within a healthy range or not. Like all benchmark measures, it requires context to understand and shouldn’t be taken as the source of absolute truth when it comes to your health– but, it can be helpful for quantifying your progress.
Signs of Too Much Weight Loss
If you lose too much weight, you or others may be able to notice. For instance, being underweight can lead to the following issues:
- Always feeling tired. Not having enough nutrients or calories can lead to weakness and fatigue. You may get tired quickly and lack the energy for activities that you used to have.
- Your face is gaunt. When you lose weight too fast, your body may start to use your muscle mass for fuel. This results in a gaunt-looking face.
- You’re flabby. While it may seem counterintuitive to become flabby as a result of losing too much weight, it can happen. If you quickly lose muscle mass, you may start to look thin in some ways, but you may also develop over-flabbiness.
- Hair loss. If you lose too much water weight, this can result in hair loss. For example, you may decide to cut back on protein so you don’t build too much muscle during exercise; however, hair is made up of keratin (a protein) and requires an adequate dietary source of protein in order to stay healthy.
- You’re always cold. If you lose too much body fat, then you lose your body’s natural insulation, making you more likely to feel cold as a result. Also, as your calorie intake drops below healthy levels, your metabolism may slow down in response, which can also contribute to a feeling of coldness.
- Easily irritable, angry, or depressed. Your brain needs certain neurotransmitters in order to keep your mood normal. And certain foods help provide the necessary building blocks of these chemicals. So, if you start cutting down on foods that contain essential amino acids, then you may find your temperament, brain functioning, and mental health changing for the worse.
Keep in mind the above effects when you start working on your weight loss goals. So long as you work out and eat in an informed and balanced way, you will be able to shed pounds while feeling rejuvenated and happier in the process.