One of the most common problems people face in the modern way of living is how to manage their weight. The demanding and fast rhythms of life make people forget about their weight, diet and health and as a result they either become overweight or are bound to unhealthy eating habits.
To manage your weight you need to have a basic understanding of how our body works (in terms of fat and nutrients) and you also need to have persistence and patience because managing your weight is a process that takes time and needs a lot of effort.
Some basic but yet very important weight management calculations
Based on what experts say our body «burns» without extra exercise or vigorous activity, generally 30 calories per kilogram of active weight. Thus you can find out how many calories a day are needed to maintain your existing weight. But if you want to lose 1 kilo per week you should reduce them by 500 calories a day. But attention! The active weight is what is left from the body weight, if we remove the kilos of fat we have. The active weight is is actively involved in the “burning process” of the body and not our total weight.
To find the active weight we divide our total weight (e.g.80 kg) with our height multiplied by 2 (e.g. 1.62 cm), i.e.: 80 / (1.62 X1, 62) = 30.48. This number represents the percentage of fat in our body. In this example, the body fat is 80 X 30, 48% = 24 kg, so the active weight is 80-24 = 56 kg and the daily calories must be 56 X 30 = 1680. To lose 1 kilo per week we need 1680-500 = 1180 calories daily.
Its time to start manage your weight and health
It is annoying when you think how much sugar, white flour and fat you consume daily, which are «hidden» in ready meals and snacks. It is time to change the bad habits you have created over the last three decades and begin to manage your weight; you should eat to improve your health, and not destroy it!
There are two areas that you need to concentrate on for a healthy weight loss
1. To respond properly and eat the right foods when you are hungry.
2. To obtain the correct percentage of fat in your diet.
If you neglect these two important areas, your weight will increase and your well-being will be «suffering».
Everything that is sticky and sweet, made with sugar and saturated fats, you should eat only as a rare delicacy. Can we say the same for a delicious dish with strawberries and juicy sweet oranges? What is the reason to prefer sweets and chocolates instead of the best things that nature gives us? If you do not have a real imbalance of glucose, a possible reason is that the desserts are closely connected with your childhood, where the sweets are often given as a reward for good behaviour or the way to comfort an unhappy child.
The mind will automatically connect sweet foods as a reward or consolation. The chocolates or sweets that you consume in a stressful afternoon may act as a reward for the hard work you do!
If you think that you can use sweet delicacies as a «reward» or for relief and want to get rid of this habit, remember that gaining extra weight is NOT a reward. Then consider a reward that has nothing to do with food!
What you need to know about Fat
Fat has received very poor publicity and for many the mere mention of the word can cause resentment. You may try to lose fat, to hide it or to avoid, but the truth is that your body needs it! To manage your weight you need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” fat and why fat is needed for your good health.
Did you know that fat helps to insulate the cells, keeps you warm, regulates your hormones, keeps skin and arteries flexible, lubricates the joints, and is a constituent of every cell?
The main point is to identify which type of fat is essential in your body, how much fat your body needs and what type of fat is your «enemy». If you have the necessary information, you can manage your weight by taking more “good” and less “bad” fat from your daily diet.
Some interesting facts about fat
Fat is an «energy depot» for animals, plants and humans
The ideal body fat percentage should be between about 19-26% of body weight for a woman and 12-18% of body weight for a man
There are two different types of fat, brown and yellow. The brown fat within the body, are «active» and containing mitochondria that produce heat (thermo genesis) and thus burn energy. The yellow fat is closer to the outer surface of the body is less active and more likely to accumulate. Women tend to have higher rate of yellow fat than men.
Women need higher levels of fat because it is necessary for reproduction and so the body stores it for «emergency purposes».
The average healthy amount of good fat in a normal diet should be about 30-40 grams daily. The fat in the diet of most people can be up to four times that amount!
Most foods containing fat combine saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in varying amounts. For example, the fat of butter reaches almost 100% of which is 60% saturated, 30% monounsaturated and 10% polyunsaturated fat compared with the sunflower oil which reaches 73% and from which only 12% saturated, 21 % monounsaturated and 67% polyunsaturated.
The heat, light and oxygen destroys the essential fatty acids and so it is better to keep oils in containers that do not allow light to pass.
The main fat should come from your diet because your body cannot produce it. The key is the healthy fat Omega-3 and Omega-6 (known as essential fatty acids).
As regards the weight, fat provides twice the energy provided by carbohydrates or protein (each gram of fat has 9 calories).
Fat contributes to a pleasant taste, texture and smell for many foods, but also delays the process of digestion.
How to distinguish between good and bad fat
Saturated fats. The Enemy
Saturated fats are not necessary for a good health. Derived from animal foods (meat, eggs, cheese). The saturated fats are more difficult to digest and contain high levels of cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats. The Allies
The unsaturated fats fall into two categories, monounsaturated as olive oil and polyunsaturated such as sunflower oil.
The polyunsaturated fats are split into fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. The monounsaturated fat (Omega-9), although not essential, is not harmful in normal amounts of a good quality olive oil (virgin, first cold-friction) is a healthier alternative to the usual vegetable oil.
Manage your weight by eating healthy food
Eat healthy snacks
Whether you’re looking for quick snacks to help you manage your weight or simply want a healthy alternative to the «dangerous» sweet foods, you can enjoy tasty, nutritious, sweet and delicious snacks without sugar, fat, salt, calories, carbohydrate and chemical additives!
Ideally, a snack should contain little or no sugar, little or no sodium (salt), no white flour and little or no saturated fat. Always remember to check the list of ingredients on labels. If there are many unknown ingredients, chances are that they are chemical additives and preservatives. Avoid these products and choose those that contain natural ingredients.
Give your body what it really needs
Hunger is usually the way the body to convey that the nutrients consumed should be replaced. Unfortunately, your body will not tell you « I need more calcium», or more vitamin C, which would facilitate things! Health problems can arise when responding to hunger with «bad and unhealthy» foods. We all have to watch how much sugar, fat, salt and chemicals we consume and minimize them to low levels. To manage your weight you need to replace the «bad» and unhealthy snacks with snacks that are rich in nutrients can help reduce the risk of health problems.
Eat small frequent meals
Daily you try to do as many things you can, sleep late and wake early, dealing with stress every hour means leaving very little time to yourself to organize the daily menu of your diet. To eat small amounts frequently throughout the day has proved to be an excellent method for us to manage our weight and to fight hunger.
Get organised to avoid junk food
At the end of each week before you go shopping, make a draft plan of your meals for next week and buy enough food for all the days. Make sure you have enough variety to satisfy every time you want to eat something throughout the day. This option provides a perfect balance of nutrients that promote good health and wellbeing. The temptation to buy unhealthy snacks during moments of weakness and stress (chocolates, sweets, crispy and sweet flavours) it will not longer be a problem!
Besides knowing and understanding about fats and what your body needs, in order to manage your weight better you also need to be selective on how you will approach the whole process. Below we outline 6 tips that can help you manage the process better:
The scale is your enemy
The daily weighing is the greatest enemy in the process to manage your weight. The secret is to weigh once a week to give yourself the pleasure that you have lost weight and not just grams.
You need to be patient
Everyone wants to lose several pounds quickly! Why is this wrong? Because diets that promise quick weight loss (over 1-2 kilos per week) do not contribute to the reduction of fat, but mostly in unwanted loss of muscle mass. The appropriate rate of weight loss, which ensures the proper nourishment of the body and loss of adipose tissue, is half a kilo a week. Be patient, managing your weight is a process that takes both time and effort.
Choose the right time to start a diet
The diet is certainly causing inconvenience for the organism, so it is recommended to start a diet in a period that you are calm. Conversely, do not do diet in times of family or professional pressure.
All types of foods are needed for a good health
Any diet that completely excludes an entire group of foods (e.g. carbohydrates, proteins) may lead to a loss of weight, but also deprives the body of valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.). Moreover, as a rule, the weight loss achieved is temporary.
The combination of diet with some form of mild exercise is always more effective than the diet alone and no exercise. Physical activity prepares the muscles that are the first to be affected from the diet (during weight loss, the body «attacks» the muscles first and then the fat).
To manage your weight you need to have a plan, vision and patience. It requires a lot of hard work but at the end it will make you feel better and healthier.