A quick overview of what we’ll cover in this blog post:
- Optimal weight versus being overweight
- How weight affects overall health
- Ways to manage or lose weight
It’s no secret that maintaining a certain weight is crucial to our health. Too much extra poundage can lead to excess amounts of fat, which can put extra strain on our bodies and lead to a number of health conditions.
Unfortunately, extra weight has become increasingly common—currently, almost three quarters of adults in the U.S are either overweight or obese, and the number is only rising
But worry not! There are many ways to manage and monitor your weight. Keep reading to find out what you can do.
What is optimal weight versus too much weight?
Our bodies like balance, and that applies to weight and fat on our bodies. We need just the right amount—not too much, not too little. That’s why gaining weight can be a problem. Extra pounds can cause body fat to build up, which can cause a number of health problems.
Measuring your body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of how much fat you have on your body, is often used to gauge whether you have a healthy weight and amount of fat. The Centers for Disease Control have helpful tools to help calculate your (BMI).
Your BMI will tell you if you are at an optimal weight (meaining you have a healthy balance of body fat), overweight, or even obese. Obesity generally refers to having too much extra fat on the body. While it is possible to be obese but not necessarily “overweight,” obesity is generally the result of excessive weight gain.
How does weight affect your risk for diseases?
Like with many chronic health conditions, being overweight causes an imbalance in the way our body functions. It all starts with our adipose tissue, an organ that’s responsible for storing fatty acids and lipids (which we get from eating) and releasing them during times when we need the nutrients (such as during long periods of fasting).
When we gain weight and accumulate fat, certain nutrients build up in adipose fat cells and cause them to bloat. These bloated cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps break down glucose, and trigger inflammation that can cause tissue damage.
Any kind of excessive weight can lead to an increased risk for various health conditions, including the following:
- Cancer. Inflammation may play a role in the uncontrolled growth of cells that leads to tumors.
- Metabolic dysfunction. People with excess weight often have higher rates of insulin resistance and cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of conditions like diabetes and heart disease. While some overweight individuals may be considered metabolically “healthy” (no signs of insulin resistance, healthy cholesterol levels, etc.), up to half become metabolically unhealthy eventually if they remain obese.
How can I manage or lose weight?
Losing weight isn’t always easy, which is why preventing excess weight is a much easier strategy. There are a lot of underlying factors that can make weight loss challenging, including hormones, genetics, sleep patterns, and our guts (which are as unique as a fingerprint!). And as we age, the ratio of fat and muscle in our body changes, which affects our metabolism and how we gain weight.
But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Whether you’re hoping to lose weight or just get a plan to keep your weight in check, the following strategies may help:
Watch what you eat
The amount of food you eat can help drive a calorie deficit (burning more calories through exercise than you consume), which can help lose weight. But your diet should also help focus on other effects of excess weight, such as high glucose levels, cholesterol, and inflammation. The following eating strategies may help:
- Maintain low-calorie diets rich in fiber, low in fat, and full of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates (white breads, sweets, rice, etc.).
- Keep snacking to a minimum.
- Use a continuous glucose monitor regularly. Seeing how certain foods cause unhealthy spikes in glucose levels could be enough to turn you away from an unhealthy food.
In addition to helping lose and maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise can also help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduce inflammation in the body. The CDC recommends 150 minutes each week.
Monitor your lifestyle habits
Keeping up with diet and exercise can be hard, especially in our busy lives. Diaries can be an effective way to keep track of your eating and exercise habits.
Consider supplements and prescription therapies
Several prescriptions, such as Metformin, offer benefits that can help with conditions caused by obesity (such as diabetes) and, along with other strategies, help facilitate weight loss. Wegovy and B12/MIC injections are other prescription options that can be used to help support weight loss. Discuss your weight loss goals with a healthcare professional to select the products most appropriate for you.
Ready to tackle your weight? Talk to your doctor to make a weight management plan or check out products offered by AgelessRx shown to help facilitate weight loss.