In our modern society, there is an endless and inescapable focus on weight loss. Products, advertisements and media everywhere are constantly telling us we need to slim down, drop those extra pounds, sculpt that sexy thin body. Crash diets and weight loss fads are blasting away at us seemingly anywhere we go. But nearly any nutritionist, fitness trainer or wellness expert will tell you this manta is very misguided. Our goal should not simply be a myopic path to weight loss, but rather a comprehensive plan for weight management. The two may not sound all that different but there are key distinctions. What is weight management? Let’s lay out the basics.
What is Weight Management?
Weight management is defined as the “long-term approach to a healthy lifestyle.” It involves combining components of smart eating, exercise and other measures that work in harmony for sustained healthy weight. In defining just what a healthy weight is, we look at the Body Mass Index (BMI), which defines the range of 18.5 to 24.9 as normal and advisable. (You can use this handy tool to calculate your BMI.)
Weight Loss vs Weight Management
Weight loss refers to the narrow objective of dropping your total weight. It’s simply a matter of getting from one number to a lower number. Understandably, this is the fundamental goal of many people who are unhappy with their figure. But the problem with such a simplistic approach is that it isn’t built to last. So frequently, short-term weight loss measures do not stick. You might drop some pounds — perhaps even a significant number — but withou the proper mechanisms in place, it’s likely to come back. In fact, in many cases, people gain back more than they lost. This leads not only to the same physical problems that were being addressed in the first place, but also mental health issues. When you’re putting in effort and experiencing setbacks and relapses, it can be demoralizing. Motivation disappears while frustration mounts.
Conversely, weight management utilizes principles that aim not only toward reaching that healthy weight range. It’s about getting there and staying there for good. Weight loss is a project. Weight management is a lifestyle.
Principles of Weight Management
Whereas many gimmicky weight loss plans involve short-term measures with an acute focus on bringing down your weight, the ideas of weight management are much more broad. It’s about attacking not just weight loss, but also health, from every angle. The biggest problem with a lot of weight loss programs is that they often cut down calories at the expense of nutrients and resources your body needs.
In defining what is weight management, we should recognize the core considerations. These include attentiveness to portion sizes, making calories count, differentiating between good and bad fats, and so forth. Additionally, physical activity is a critical staple of this concept. That doesn’t necessarily mean strenuous exercise, and it might not even require going to the gym. There are so many workouts you can do in your own home, include resistance bands, yoga, and so forth. Even brisk walks can help substantially.
By bringing together the proper habits and tendencies, it isn’t hard to form an effective weight management regimen. You can easily form one that gives you leeway to cheat on meals and skip workouts. In general, it is wise for everyone to start substituting weight management for weight loss in their goals and planning.