Most of us can distinctly remember all the different phases throughout our lives when we didn’t feel comfortable in our own skin. That is because, unfortunately, our weight and self-image are closely linked, which means that in addition to the health risks that come with being under- or overweight, struggling with weight loss or weight gain can have negative implications on our psychological and emotional states as well.
If you, like millions of people around the world, are struggling to reach a healthy weight, start by choosing a reasonable weight depending on the average body mass index range for your height. Avoid setting a weight goal below the normal range for your height; being underweight is as bad for you as being overweight. Once you know your ideal weight, you’ll be able to establish an effective plan that helps you reach it. Now that you know what you’re working toward, whether it requires gaining or losing weight, here are a few simple tips that will make correcting your weight a breeze.
If you Want to Lose Weight
Being overweight or obese can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, and type two diabetes, which can diminish your quality of life and shorten your lifespan. Here are a few easy ways to shed a few pounds.
Consider Surgical Solutions
If you are between 18 and 65 years old, have a body mass higher than 40, and are struggling with serious health concerns related to excess weight, you might want to consider gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery. Both procedures are safe and effective, but they have different recovery times and involve different techniques, which is why knowing the difference between them is essential so that you can choose the right option for you. A gastric sleeve surgery reduces the actual size of the stomach, allowing the patients to become full faster and stay full for longer. Gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, connects part of the stomach to a minimal portion of the small intestine to reduce the number of calories absorbed by the body.
Eliminate Liquid Calories
Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juice, tea, or alcohol can add hundreds of calories to your regular intake. These are known as “empty calories” because the sugar in these beverages provides extra energy without offering any nutritional benefits. So, unless it’s a healthy shake or smoothie, stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity
One hour of moderate-intensity activity per day is ideal for weight loss. If you’re not an avid gym-goer, or if the thought of a full workout is intimidating to you, you can increase the frequency of your physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a brisk walk with your dog, dancing, gardening, etc.
If you Want to Gain Weight
While obesity is a serious public health issue, being underweight can also cause several health problems, such as anemia, weak immunity, and osteoporosis. Here are a few easy ways to gain a few pounds healthily.
Weight training is perhaps the easiest way to build muscle effectively and, in turn, gain lean body mass. That includes training and exercising different muscle groups through squats, deadlifts, and leg and bench presses. Change up your workouts by increasing the weight you lift or the number of sets and reps you do. Also, make sure you are providing your body with enough calories for fuel, otherwise, you’ll start losing weight.
Drink High-calorie Smoothies and Shakes
If you have a small appetite, then high-calorie shakes and smoothies may be more appealing to you than large meals. Ingredients like nut butter, fruits, seeds, milk, yogurt, nuts, and greens like kale and spinach all provide nutrient-dense calories without making you feel too full.
Eat Plenty of Good Fats and Fibrous Carbohydrates
Foods rich in good fats and fibrous carbohydrates provide an essential energy source and support muscle growth. Plus, when included in every meal, they effectively increase both the number of good calories in your diet. Whole-foods like brown rice, oats, and beans, are a great source of carbohydrates, while nuts, avocados, and fish are great sources of healthy fats.
Both your diet and activity level significantly contribute to your weight management, whether you want to lose or gain weight. To reach a healthy weight, plan a well-balanced diet with the right nutrients and ingredients and, based on your current fitness level, build an exercise program that includes cardio, weight training, and flexibility exercises. With time, as your fitness level improves, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.
If you’re struggling in either one of these categories, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help by consulting a nutritionist and a personal trainer. If you have a history of heart problems or other chronic diseases, check with your doctor before changing your diet and exercise regimen. One last word to the wise, safe weight gain or loss requires patience and determination. But even though you may not see results immediately, that doesn’t mean it’s not working, so don’t give up too soon.