You think you should ideally weigh what you did in college and yet you feel quite satisfied and healthy with the weight you’ve achieved after months of hard work. Those who are faced with such a perplexing predicament can take heart in experts’ advising that your ‘happy’ weight does not necessarily have to coincide with your ‘ideal’ weight. In other words, if you’re happy with how much you weigh and you feel healthy, then it shouldn’t matter if you don’t weigh what you did years ago in college.
In case you are overweight then losing only ten percent of your body weight is enough to make a noticeable improvement in your health and standard of life. It should be enough to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which will altogether reduce the risk of heart diseases. Moreover, pacing yourself to losing only ten percent of your body weight at once is a strategy that makes it easier to attain and maintain a certain weight.
Just as our body temperature that hovers around 98.6 degrees; our body weight also adjusts itself to a range of 10-20%. So if you’re overweight then the longer you stick to that particular weight, the more habituated your body will become to it. Your body will settle to a weight range called “set point.” And because this “set point” is naturally attuned to fluctuating within a range of 10-20%, starting with short term goals such as losing 10% of your body weight at once is an effective strategy to adopt.
An intricately linked set of hormones, chemicals and hunger signals work in tandem to settle your weight into the range of the “set point.” You could see it as the natural band width of your body. Overeating and poor eating habits mess with your internal regulatory system and push your set point upwards. Once this happens, your body resets itself to uphold this new set point. And as it always happens, increasing your set point is much easier than lowering it.
Adopting healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine are the best ways to lower your set point. When you’ve been able to lose 10% of your body weight, then maintain that weight for a few months such that it becomes your new set point. Drastic weight changes never work in the long term and your body will be quick to bounce back to your previous weight because it will still be attuned to the old set point.
A sudden and considerable drop in your weight will upset your hormones and make you crave food as you try to keep away for it. This happens because your body has been used to a certain diet for a while and expects that much food, so while you may be trying to deny food your body will be demanding it.
Hence, taking it slow and steady is a more foolproof method. Your body will get a chance to get accustomed to your new diet, its smaller portions and regular exercise. In the mean time, you’ll find that even a slight change has given you better sleep, more energy, lesser joint pains, an opportunity to reduce medication; all in all, an improved quality of life.
Disciplining oneself into a new and stricter way of life is a tough task, but there are a few methods that you can use to make it easier. For instance, by eating regular meals you will automatically be consuming fewer calories. Also, eating off a plate is a good way to keep in check the amount you are consuming, as opposed to when you eat out of containers. Make sure that your diet consists of food items that are high in fibre and rich in lean or low fat protein. Along with watching what you eat, getting at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity every day is a must.
Most importantly, you must think positive. Focus on living a healthier lifestyle rather than a number on your weighing machine. Seek to make behavioural changes that will hold you in good stead in your later years. Decide on how much you can realistically lose and stick to that. Overestimating your body’s capacity will only lead to frustration and you will end up hurting your self esteem. Look over your adult life for a time when you were happy and healthy with how much you weighed. It should be something that you can comfortably maintain and comes naturally to your body, in stead of having to force your body to comply.
Ignore the unhealthy examples that popular culture holds up as ideal and find out what is ideal for you. Learning to appreciate who we are and how we look is one of the most difficult things. Yet, it is also an immensely rewarding experience.
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