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Weight Management VS Weight Loss

The biggest challenge after losing weight successfully is keeping that weight off.
Most dieters gain weight back starting about 6 months after weight loss.
Weight wellness is about taking a fresh perspective toward managing weight starting from youth years and applying successful lifestyle choices daily in a consistent manner to prevent progressive weight gain through the adult years.

Preventing progressive weight gain is the answer to weight wellness:
Maintaining and establishing a healthy weight in childhood helps establish lifelong lifestyle behaviors. Weight wellness is a practical approach to avoid the difficulty of losing weight later in life.
Children should:
•Be exclusively breastfed
•Not be given added sugars and starches when fed with formula
•Be prevented to gain excess weight during childhood
•Go on a diet free of sugar-sweetened beverages, fewer foods with high caloric density, and increased intake of fruits and vegetables
•Be on a lifestyle with reduced sedentary behavior and 60 min of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity
•Get appropriate micro-nutrient intake

Why avoiding weight gain is preferred?
Once body fat accumulates, it is difficult to lose.
Many factors make it difficult to maintain weight loss:
•Losing weight leads to a lower resting metabolic rate (i.e. your body fights weight loss)
•Losing weight and, more importantly, keeping it off requires many behavior changes that are sustained lifelong (food intake modification, increase in physical activity, eat breakfast every day)

Avoiding weight gain is preferred certainly because there is a stronger opposition to weight loss.
It is crucial to note that although large behavior changes are needed to lose weight and maintain it, small behavior changes may be adequate and sufficient to prevent excessive weight gain.

A new mindset of weight wellness:
People usually blame their genes for their body weight and perhaps more than any other factor, human genetic or inherited potential seems like an unchangeable determinant.
Yet, there are things you need to know about genes:
•It became apparent that genetic potential is not as simple as an on and off switch that predetermines body weight.
•The main point is that genes do not determine body weight, but instead are the starting material from which lifelong lifestyle choices affect body weight.
•Genes are not fate. They are customized and expressed within the context of lifestyle effects and influences.

Successful weight managers (i.e., lost weight and kept it off long-term) adopt lifelong behaviors that have definitely a huge impact on how genes are expressed.
These behaviors include:
•Lifestyle behaviors in make healthy food choices, like eating a low fat diet
•Weighing regularly to quickly adjusting food intake in order to prevent gains
•Maintaining high levels of regular physical activity

Tailored foods can help:
It is true that weight wellness is mostly about behavior change, yet certain foods and nutrients may help make that behavior change easier:
•Fruits & veggies: low in calories and full of micro-nutrients
•Proteins & fiber: contribute to fullness and decreased hunger for restricted food intake
•Whole grains: rich in fiber
•Legumes: rich in both fiber and protein

In Summary:
A weight wellness mindset focuses on a practical approach starting in infancy and childhood that continues throughout life to prevent modest but progressive weight gain through a combination of diet and substantial exercise. A part of the new mindset is approaching weight wellness as lifelong lifestyles needed to prevent relatively small weight increases (half a kg), rather than waiting until significant weight loss is needed. Weight management is on a daily basis and evermore, comprised of small changes consistently applied. It is a mindset of living the life that you desire to rather than seeing weight gain as fate.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon


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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian