Weight is often a concern for many of us! In the United States alone, an estimated two-thirds of the population is considered overweight or obese, putting health at risk. So what exactly is an ideal weight?
The technical formula for determining ideal weight is the Hamwi Method. For Women: 100 pounds + 5 pounds for each additional inch above five feet. Men: 106 pounds + 6 pounds for each additional inch above five feet. Typically, being within 10% of this number is considered acceptable, but from a more intuitive standpoint, ideal weight is the weight one feels their best at and can safely maintain for the long term!
An intuitive approach to ideal weight looks at the big picture. Weight is only a small piece of the wellness puzzle. Placing too much emphasis on body weight alone can backfire and create a stressful relationship with food and/or physical activity or even straining relationships with those you care about. Ever turned into a "Diet Monster" while dieting? I remember having a melt down on my lunch break years back while extreme dieting for a fitness competition and my dad telling me to just eat a pizza to console me. Good times!
Rather than getting caught up in the number on the scale, focus on these 10 tips to naturally support a healthy weight.
1. SWITCH UP YOUR BEVERAGES.
Studies show that simply adding more water to your diet may contribute to weight loss over time as an increase in water intake may reduce energy intake. Replacing sugar-sweetened or high-calorie beverages with water is especially useful in supporting a healthy weight as these items not only are a source of empty calories, but individuals who consume soft drinks may actually eat more during the day.
2. FOCUS ON WHOLE, NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS
I know I say this all the time but a well-rounded diet based on whole foods can naturally help support a healthy weight. Things like healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins provide adequate nutrition while also contributing to keeping you feeling full. Fiber from plants is especially useful in supporting a healthy weight – it keeps you fuller for longer, meaning you’re less likely to reach for snacks shortly after meals, and supports your gut health, which may have larger implications when it comes to weight.
3. LIMIT EXPOSURE TO ADDITIVES.
Chemicals are everywhere now in our daily environment and they may contribute to weight gain by affecting the body’s ability to metabolize fat. These chemicals may also be referred to as endocrine disruptors. Some examples include BPA (bisphenol A), a compound found in many plastics and cans; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a nonstick coating used on pans; pesticides; and phthalates, chemicals found in plastics.
4. MANAGE STRESS
Stress may cause weight to increase in two ways. First, the body increases its production of stress hormones. When these hormones are triggered, the body goes into fat-storage mode and becomes more effective at storing fat. The second way is emotional – stress tends to cause people to seek comfort, often in the form of food. In fact, the more stressed you are, the more you may be drawn to
fatty, sugary foods. So not only are you more drawn to high-calorie - low nutrient foods when stressed, but your body is also more efficient at turning them into fat.
5. EAT MINDFULLY
When eating, try to slow down and be present. Take a moment to be grateful for the food and try to chew each bite thoroughly. By trying to eat (and chew) mindfully, you may find you are satisfied by a much smaller portion than when you are rushed and don’t take time to consider the meal.
6. EAT BREAKFAST
One thing that many people who have been successful at losing weight and keeping it off have in common is that they eat a wholesome breakfast every morning. A thoughtful breakfast can help keep you full during your morning and prevent you from binging later in the day due to hunger.
7. DON’T SKIP MEALS
If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you’re not getting too hungry between meals. When this happens, you are more likely to binge on the foods you’re trying to limit. Not only are you more inclined to make an impulsive food decision, but you may end up eating far more than you normally would.
8. COOK FOODS AT HOME
Not only are portion sizes larger at restaurants, which leads people to eat more, they’re also typically higher in fat, salt, and sugar and made with cheap ingredients. Eating out can be a fun treat, but if you’re getting the majority of your food from restaurants, you may be consuming way more poor quality ingredients than you realize! Experiment with cooking at home and explore a variety of whole foods and cooking techniques.
9. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Skipping out on sleep can cause disruptions in your circadian rhythms, which can increase inflammation in the body and can lead to weight gain. Sleep deprivation also causes your body to produce more ghrelin, the hormone that signals you to eat. Most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night.
10. EXERCISE YOUR BODY
Working out helps relieve stress, burn calories, and give your metabolism a boost even when you’re not working out. Make sure to have some protein following your workout to help support muscle repair.
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