In a recent survey conducted by Forbes Health (2022) about New Year’s Resolutions,
45% of the respondents aimed to improve their mental health,
39% wanted to improve their overall fitness,
37% wanted to lose weight and
33% aimed to improve their nutrition.
While the trends seem to be shifting towards mental and emotional wellbeing especially in the aftermath of a global pandemic - physical health and weight goals continue to remain a lifetime goal for many. What might be more fair to say is that the intricate relationship and codependency between one’s mind and body is increasingly coming to the forefront, and people realise the urgency of preserving both.
Our Weight Management Blueprint doesn’t fall far short of this holistic perspective. In the past, weight management has singularly focused on outcomes such as the physique of the body and numbers on a scale - even if it meant going to extreme measures that could prove deleterious to long-term health. A more sustainable and effective approach is to establish a routine that:
Adheres to important health guidelines and sets process-based milestones
Guarantees improvement in essential biomarkers such as glucose, oxygen capacity etc.
Feels like self-care as opposed to self-punishment
A comprehensive approach also considers the individual’s genetics, epigenetics, gut microbiome , hormonal regulation, influence of environment, social group and norms, life’s demands and stressors
From a physiological perspective, the most fundamental principle of weight management is to maintain an energy imbalance between energy intake (food and beverage consumption) and expenditure. Even though most people primarily associate burning calories with physical activity only, our body expends energy throughout the day to maintain basic life functions such as breathing and digestion.
Therefore, our Total Daily Energy Expenditure [TDEE] includes our
Resting Metabolic Rate [RMR]
+ Thermic Effect of Food [TEE]
+ Thermic Effect of Physical Activity .
Research suggests that an average deficit of 500 kcals a day [i.e., we should consume 500 calories less than what we expend] - an individual can lose up to 0.45 - 1kg a week (Mayo Clinic 2021).
Here are key guidelines from our blueprint that can help individuals achieve this goal:
Make sure you’re ready: Self-reflection and awareness is the cornerstone of any behaviour change journey. Before you commence an intentional journey, ask yourself the following why this is an important goal at this point in your life and what are the costs or benefits of the same.
Set Realistic Goals: To begin with, a weight loss goal of 0.45kgs per week and weight gain of 0.54kgs per week is realistic and recommended. Rather than setting unachievable goals that will inevitably sink your motivation, set mini-goals such as walking 4,000 steps a day or losing 2 kgs in a month - that can set you up for success instead.
Regular Physical Activity: Engage in regular exercise of your choice to increase metabolism, improve overall fitness and feel good. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular exercises (such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling) and strength training activities (such as weightlifting, bodyweight exercises) for optimal results. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
Make Nutritious Food Choices: Don’t give up on taste or satisfaction! However, make a conscious effort to combine health and delight through variety and exploration. Eat more plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and use modest amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils, and nuts. Cut back on sugar as much as possible, except the natural sugar in fruit and choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry in limited amounts.
A final word: Everyone’s weight management looks different. Take time to experiment with what is working for you and try to avoid the comparison trap. Most importantly, own your journey in a way that provides you with confidence, joy and exhilaration.