The Basics Of Weight Loss (And When To Seek Professional Help)
Weight loss is a pervasive topic in American culture with many feeling that they could stand to lose a few pounds. Oftentimes, our weight can not only impact our physical health but also our confidence and overall sense of self-worth. Managing one’s weight can become a struggle given that eating is a highly social activity, and no one wants to feel like they’re missing out. Trying to lose weight can be an alienating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding how to lose weight and when to seek professional help, you can achieve success in your weight loss journey without feeling like you’re missing out on anything.
The Basics of Weight Loss: How to Lose Weight
While it’s arguably more complex in terms of where your calories come from (such as protein or carbohydrates), the fundamentals of weight loss are based on caloric intake.
It takes 3,500 calories to gain or to lose a pound of fat. In other words, if you consume 3,500 calories more than you need to maintain your weight, you will gain a pound. Likewise, if you burn 3,500 calories from lowering your caloric intake, exercise, or both, you will lose a pound of fat.
Generally, people need 13-15 calories per pound depending on their activity levels. People with lower activity levels need 13 while people with higher need 15 or more. Obviously, you can accelerate weight loss by cutting more; however, if you reduce your caloric intake by too much for too long, your body goes into starvation mode, and it actually holds on to fat, believing that you are in a famine and trying to survive.
Basically, what we’re saying is that starvation diets don’t work, so don’t think you can bypass the work it takes to lose weight by eliminating lots of calories for a shorter period of time. Further, this method usually results in over-eating when you can’t starve yourself any longer, which often results in you gaining more weight than when you started.
The lesson: Moderation is key when it comes to weight loss.
A good starting point if you’re working with caloric intake is to figure out how many calories you’re currently consuming to maintain your existing weight and then figure out how many you need to maintain your goal weight.
Say you weigh 200 pounds and you’re highly active. You need 3,000 calories a day to maintain that weight, but let’s say a healthier weight for you is 135 pounds. At the same high activity level, you only need 2,025 calories per day. That’s a substantial quantity of calories fewer than at the weight of 200 pounds. While it’s doable to lose that weight alone, it can be difficult for several reasons.
Why Weight Loss Can Be Challenging
Weight loss poses a challenge because it requires willpower, and willpower is finite. We have to eat every single day, which means multiple times a day, you’re confronted with foods that you know are good for you as well as those that aren’t.
It might be easier to resist a donut in the morning, but by the evening, when you’re mentally and physically fatigued, the willpower to decline a glass of wine or a bag of chips has probably gone completely out the window.
You eat or drink the empty calories. You may even eat more swearing that “this is the last time, tomorrow will be different” and really meaning it only to wake up the next day and repeat the cycle.
You wonder why you’re so weak. You look at other areas of your life where you are strong, confident, and competent and anything but weak…so why is this tough?
It’s hard because you can’t call on willpower when you’re drained. Weight loss takes planning and preparation. You can’t meet your friends for happy hour with no plan and expect to decline the artichoke dip.
This brings up another point previously mentioned as to why weight loss can be challenging…eating is very social. It can be hard to decline meeting friends for dinner because you’re on a limited diet or because you’re going to go to the gym. This is why sometimes it’s important to get professional help when you’re trying to lose weight.
Why You Need Professional Help to Lose Weight
Other reasons it’s difficult to lose weight…aside from willpower and peer pressure could be hormonal or biological. You may not know this. How many people do you know diet and exercise and see very few results? It’s frustrating and disheartening. A lot of these people give up; however, giving up isn’t the answer. Getting professional help is, though.
A professional can do the following:
- Analyze your diet and exercise habits to discern problem areas that you might be missing
- Assess your mental health and stress levels and determine their impact on your weight
- Determine your candidacy for non-invasive medical intervention, such as a gastric balloon
- Educate you on weight loss, diet, and exercise that works for you
- Advocate for you and help support you by making you feel more connected on your weight loss journey
- Connect you with others in a similar situation
Connection, community, and an applicable action plan are all vital for weight loss. While the basics of weight loss come down to calories, there’s actually so much more to it, and because each person is unique, it helps to get a professional assessment to maximize all possible options for permanent weight loss.
Weight loss is doable for everyone; it’s even more doable for those in the care of a qualified medical professional. Contact Spatz Medical to find out if you’re a candidate for a gastric balloon and to learn how our unique approach to using gastric balloons for weight loss can lead to lasting results.