There are some very important factors to consider before losing weight that most women don’t give a second thought. In the search of smaller jeans, a tighter tush, and an itty bitty waistline, we diet, exercise and plan away the pounds. It can be exhausting, but comes easier to some than others. Yet, no matter who you are, or how many pounds you want to drop, I hope you’ll think about some factors to consider before losing weight that might save you a headache, heart issues, and even a few pounds, later on down the road.
1. Do You Really Need to Lose Weight?
First and foremost, before I address the usual factors to consider before losing weight, I want you to really take some time to think about if you really need to lose weight. Are you stressed, and dieting to drop pounds hoping that will help? Are you obsessed with your weight and constantly trying to lose? How’s your weight compared to what it should be on the BMI chart for women? A low weight for someone 5’5” is 120 and anything below is considered underweight. For someone 5’7”, a low weight is 135 and anything under is underweight. Please do give the BMI chart consideration, and see how you’re really doing in terms of your weight compared to the average woman. If you don’t need to lose weight, please don’t diet your way down to nothing when it’s not healthy or necessary. You can find the BMI chart at: cdc.gov. If you do need to lose weight, exercise at least 60 minutes a day and make sure you’re eating the right portion sizes from healthy foods, not packaged diet foods. You can find other resources for healthy weight loss at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at :cdc.gov.
2. Your Hormones
When you lose weight, your body senses this as a form of stress, and excretes the hormone cortisol as a result. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t lose weight since excess cortisol causes weight gain, you should be mindful of how to handle this. To let your body know it isn’t starving, be sure to eat every few hours and include a vegetable, protein and a little fat at each serving. Also, be sure that you understand losing weight affects everything from your thyroid to your estrogen levels. Your hormones will change when you lose weight, and if you diet in a dangerous way, your hormones will take a negative hit, and you’ll feel the effects. Poor mood, bad sleep, low sex drive, crazy periods, no energy, and a general feeling of crumminess are all signs you’re dieting the wrong way. Before losing weight, be sure you consider this, and eat in a way that nourishes your hormones instead of hinder them.
3. Food Allergies
Many people hear about some new diet, or trendy weight loss gimmick, and just embark on it without a second thought. Yet, if you have food allergies, that diet may not be for you. Perhaps it entails a diet product or food that has soy, gluten, dairy, or nuts. If you aren’t careful, an unknown food allergy can make you sick, and just because one diet works for someone, doesn’t mean it will work for you. In fact, if you’re allergic to a food, it can cause you to gain weight, not lose it. Above all else, food allergies are nothing to play with. I’d rather eat in a way that is healthy for my body, than just in a way that is said to keep me skinny, what about you?
4. Food Sensitivies
Even if you’re not allergic to a food, you can still be sensitive to it. Soy, dairy, gluten, grains and yeast are all foods many people are sensitive to and don’t even know it. Eating diet products or foods that contain these ingredients will make you feel sick, have low energy, and won’t help you lose real weight. If a food makes you sick after eating it, reconsider eating it at all. Eliminate all possible food sensitivities when you eat so you can feel your best. I never diet, but instead, I eat plenty of foods that work well with my body, and you know what? I maintain a healthy weight as a result. Diet bars and other products are loaded with some of the most allergenic, problematic ingredients. You can even be sensitive to certain additives in foods and not know it. Be sure to consider this before you start dieting.
5. Calorie Cutting
How many of you have heard of the HCG diet? It involves taking shots and only eating around 500-600 calories a day. I’m sorry, but this sounds like the most ridiculous thing on Earth to me. For starters, any diet that means I have to take a shot is out of the question, and 500-600 calories a day is just asking for trouble. Before you go on a diet that cuts excess calories, consider what you’re really doing to your body. Though you might get used to this number after time, what you’re doing is setting your metabolism up for long term failure. It can take many years to repair a broken metabolism that runs off these few calories a day, not to mention you'll feel terrible in the meantime. It is much healthier to eat more calories from healthy foods, and any diet that asks you to eat below 1200 calories is nothing but bad news. The most effective diets actually don’t even have to involve calorie counting at all, but instead, involve focusing on the quality of the foods eaten. For optimal energy and weight management or loss, I recommend eating a very minimum amount of 1500 a day, but preferably, not counting at all. Your metabolism can actually increase when you add calories, helping to boost weight loss along.
Another thing to consider before losing weight, is how much time you have to give to it. If you work a job with long hours, are you going to have enough time to exercise, and prepare healthy meals? Any diet that comes in a box, or in a bottle, isn’t the best way to lose weight, whether it’s convenient to your schedule or not. Frozen meals, bars, etc. are not health foods, and only lead to a wrecked metabolism. To lose weight the right way, it takes a little time, so be sure you have some time to give to making healthy meals and exercising daily. You don’t need much, but you do need to set aside some time each week for these key factors in weight loss.
Lastly, speaking of preparation, it's very important to consider this necessary factor of successful weight loss before you start dieting. Losing weight the right way requires preparation. You should ideally set aside around 2 hours one day on the weekend to prepare some healthy lunches and snacks for the week ahead. If you have more time, go ahead and get a head start on breakfast items and plan your dinner items. Even consider making those and freezing them, or putting together some easy quick things you can toss together quickly each night that are healthy for you. Also, be sure you have time to exercise each day. To lose weight, you’ll need to find an hour a day or at least 40 minutes. Include cardio and strength training, or exercises like yoga for best results. Dieting isn’t what losing weight is about, but preparation is. Prepare the right way, and the healthy way, with these essential tips.
If you’ve ever lost weight and gained it back, most likely, some of these things might not have been considered. I hope they will help you before you embark on the next crazy diet we all hear about. I’ve been a victim of this myself in past years, and truly regret being so naive, but hey, we’ve all been there, right? Do you consider any of these factors before you try to lose weight?