IS YOUR WEIGHT LOSS REALLY HEALTHY?
Anne weighs in at 226lbs, with a BMI of 32 and a Fat% of 42%. (A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese by the American Medical Association). At her most recent physical exam, her doctor told her she was beginning to show signs of hypertension as her blood pressure was 147/89. This is a crossroad for Anne, as she either needs to address her weight and eating lifestyle immediately, or begin blood pressure medication. Anne decides she is ready to make some changes, lose her excess weight and improve her health. The question for her now is How!
There are many weight loss programs available both "in person" and on-line, many providing similar services, so which way should Anne go? Subtle differences can have a significant effect on Anne's future health. Let's walk through a scenario so we can see why.
Anne chooses a local group that provides healthy eating suggestions through a point system associated with each food group. There are regular "weigh ins" to keep her on track, and a support system to help her stay motivated.
Fat %: 42%
At 1 Week, Anne attends a group meeting and has a "weigh in" at 221lbs. showing a 5 lb loss her first week. The group cheers!
At 2nd Week, "weigh in" at 218lbs. showing a 3 lb loss - again clapping
At 3rd week, "weigh in" at 217lbs. showing a 1 lb loss - group encouraging but a bit quieter.
At 4th week, "weigh in" at 212lbs. showing a 5lb loss - again group cheers!
Anne happily checks back in with her doctor to see how much the loss of 14lbs has affected her blood pressure - and is shocked when is registers 149/90. She is devastated - and wants to know what happened. The doctor does a repeat Body Mass Analysis and these are the findings:
Fat %: 43%
This is what happened. When we begin dieting there are several physiological processes that occur. When we "diet" we are actually lowering the calories the body needs to maintain us at our current weight - forcing it to look for a new source of energy, which we assume will be fat. However, muscle is the easiest source of energy as it breaks down much faster than fat - so that's always where the body goes first. Water also becomes critical to the bodies processing out of both muscle and fat waste. Without proper monitoring, the body will consume muscle first, then if not satiated, a bit of fat. This process will flush water out and if not replenished, can even dehydrate the body. If your water and muscle levels go down, and your fat is not significantly affected, your overall physical health has declined - EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE LOST WEIGHT! Anne lost 4 lbs of fat - but she lost 1.5lbs of muscle and 8.5lbs of water. So the cheers of a 14lbs weight loss were a bit premature.
Wherever you choose to go to lose your weight - please be sure that a Body Mass Analysis is done at every weigh-in to prevent unhealthy weight loss!
Disclaimer: Results vary from patient to patient depending on their ability to follow their plan and their individual medical history.
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