Tips for losing weight

Understanding your body is important; one of the first steps in doing so is determining what body weight is considered healthy for you. (Photo: Envato Elements)
Maintaining a healthy body weight should be a priority for everyone. The more overweight you are, the greater the risk of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes. Being overweight may also have a negative impact on mental wellness, by leading to depression and poor body image. اضافة اعلان

In 2020, 51 percent of the population aged 18 – 44 in Jordan was considered overweight or obese.

There is no easy way to lose weight, contrary to what many marketing schemes say. Still, there are ways to help make the journey easier and encourage one to see it through.

How to determine a healthy body weight

Understanding your body is important; one of the first steps in doing so is determining what body weight is considered healthy for you.

There are different methods to calculate this, but the most commonly used calculation is that of the body mass index. Finding out the BMI is a simple calculation. You divide your weight into your height squared and you get a double-digit number that is likely in the 20s. A BMI between 18.5 and lower than 25 is considered a healthy range. Those between 25 and less than 30 are overweight and greater than 30 is considered obese.

The BMI is the preferred factor for determining a healthy body weight in the average person, because it has been found to have a good correlation to fat mass.

(Photo: Envato Elements)

Metabolism and calories

Our body is a complex machine with many internal processes. It normally understands exactly what it needs and how much of it. One of its most important processes is metabolism, which is often misunderstood.

Metabolism is the process by which the body converts food and other forms of sustenance into energy. This energy comes in the form of calories and the amount needed per day depends on a host of factors. Our body is in constant need of energy, even while at rest, for basic living functions such as breathing, repairing cells, and circulating blood.

Metabolism that happens during rest time is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and it is important in understanding how many calories your body needs. The calculation for basal metabolic rate requires weight in kilograms, height in centimeters, and age, and goes as follows:

Men: 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

Women: 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

For example, a 35-year-old male who weighs 80 kg and is 180 cm tall will require approximately 1,825 calories per day in order to maintain basic life functions. However, this value is only an estimate and there are many factors that can affect it, such as muscle mass, temperature, genetics, and certain supplements. Furthermore, this does not consider the additional calories needed to perform daily physical activity.

The amount of calories needed every day depends on the level of physical activity you perform on average and can be classified into five categories. Depending on your classification, you will take your basal metabolic rate and multiply it by a value. The result will give you how many calories are needed each day in order to maintain your body weight.

Using the previous example, if a male is moderately active, he requires roughly 2,500 calories per day in order to maintain his body weight. When it comes to weight gain, metabolism is rarely ever to blame.

The amount of calories needed to sustain yourself are relative to your body’s needs. Factors such as genetic makeup and hormonal control may also explain weight gain, but are also rare. Ultimately, diet and the impact of environment on lifestyle, which includes sleep, physical activity, and stress, are the main predicators for weight gain.

Fat burning

Everyone knows that the more you eat, the more weight you gain. The fundamental principle behind this is an imbalance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure. When calorie intake is higher than calorie expenditure, this results in excess calories. In general, there are three options the body has with calories: metabolize, excrete, or store.

Ideally, the majority of foods consumed should be metabolized, meaning that it is converted into energy for the body to readily use. The body is not 100 percent efficient at absorbing all the nutrients from foods and a percentage of the potential source of calories is excreted as feces.

(Photo: Envato Elements)

Finally, a portion of calories is stored as fat that can be used later in periods when food becomes scarce. This last process served our ancestors well as it allowed them to go extended periods without food without starving. In modern times, most do not have difficulty finding food and, on the contrary, we tend to overeat. This ultimately results in more calories being stored. In order to burn fat, the opposite should be true.

Creating a calorie deficit, in theory, will cause our bodies to use up all the readily available calories from the food consumed that day and get the rest from fat that is stored. In order to create a calorie deficit, calorie expenditure should be greater than calorie intake.

Difficulty losing weight

Anyone who tried to lose weight will tell you that it can be difficult. Although progress can be made at first using a calorie deficit, people often hit a plateau and weight loss seems to stop.

There are a few different theories to explain this but one of the most popular is the hormone hypothesis. In nearly all the foods we eat, there are important macronutrients known as carbohydrates or carbs. Carbs are complex sugars; most all are broken down inside the body to a simple sugar known as glucose. After a meal, especially one dense in carbs, the blood is filled with glucose and the body needs to balance it. In response, the body releases a hormone known as insulin, which pulls the sugars out of the blood and stores them in skeletal muscle, the liver, and fat cells. If insulin levels remain high, fat cells retain fat, and the body will preferentially burn glucose instead of fat. Based on this hypothesis, it is important to avoid increasing insulin levels. There are many ways to do this and many diet plans center around this concept, such as the ketogenic diet, which consists of high protein and fats diets while avoiding carbohydrates.

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