Weight loss is usually a common goal for many people, whether for a special occasion or simply to improve their health. While there are many paths to losing weight, understanding how it works is one of the best defenses while navigating the weight loss journey. Indeed, losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment as the person has to decide about their weight loss option, lifestyle change, and evolve healthier.
Aside from setting realistic expectations on how weight loss works, it is important to set realistic expectations for a healthy weight loss rate. However, it is crucial not to lose weight too rapidly. Losing weight too quickly can increase the risk of gallstone formation, dehydration, malnutrition, and other major health detriments.
What Are The Factors Affecting Weight Loss?
Several factors affect the rate of losing weight, often out of control.
The fat-to-muscle ratio dramatically affects the ability to lose weight. Typically, women have a greater fat-to-muscle ratio than men and a 5–10% lower RMR than men of the same height. That said, women generally burn 5–10% fewer calories than men at rest.
With age, body composition is altered as one of the many bodily changes that occur, which means fat mass increases and muscle mass decreases. This contributes to a lower RMR along with other factors like the declining calorie needs of the major organs.
So, adults over age 70 can have RMRs 20–25% lower than younger adults. The RMR decrease can make weight loss increasingly difficult with age.
The initial body mass and composition may also affect how quickly a person expects to lose weight. Most importantly, different absolute weight losses (in pounds) can correspond to the same relative (%) weight loss in different individuals. That makes weight loss a complex process.
However, the amount of deficit should depend on how quickly a person wants to lose weight which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should be a gradual process to be both safe and sustainable long-term. The CDC recommends losing 1 to 2 pounds per week, which most people can achieve by cutting about 500 to 1,000 calories daily.
The reality is that metabolism is everything when it comes to weight loss. If the metabolism works its best, achieving almost any weight is possible. If the metabolism works against the person, reaching the goal weight can be nearly impossible.
- Sex. Men usually have less body fat and muscle mass than women of the same age and weight because of their natural testosterone levels. In fact, those with more muscle mass burn more calories at rest.
- Body size. People who are larger and taller burn more calories at rest because the body needs more calories to support larger body functions.
- Body composition. As indicated, those with muscle mass burn more calories at rest because muscles are more metabolically active than other body tissues.
- Age. As the person gets older, the muscle mass tends to decrease, gradually slowing down the number of calories burned at rest.
- Medical conditions. Conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, hypo- or hyper- thyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease, and diabetes can affect how the resting metabolism works and how the body stores fat.
While it is important to acknowledge these individual differences in metabolism, the energy needs for the body’s basic functions do stay fairly consistent and are not easily changed. Metabolism can’t be blamed for weight gain since it’s a natural process that regulates many mechanisms to meet individual needs.
It has been the most overlooked aspect yet crucial component of weight loss. Chronic sleep loss can significantly hinder weight loss and the speed at which pounds are shed. In fact, sleep deprivation for one night can increase a desire for high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods, such as cookies, cakes, sugary beverages, and chips.
One 2-week study randomized participants on a calorie-restricted diet to sleep either 5.5 or 8.5 hours each night.
Those who slept 5.5 hours lost 55% less body fat and 60% more lean body mass compared to those who slept 8.5 hours per night. Consequently, chronic sleep deprivation is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Once the daily caloric goals are determined, and tracking calories has begun, it is vital to plan the diet than considering calories. In fact, there are some diets that focus on specific ratios of macronutrients, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, while other diets promote clean eating or avoid certain food groups.
Among the most popular and most studied are low-carb and low-fat diets. In September 2014, a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that low-fat commercial and low-carbohydrate diets are effective for weight loss.
Include Physical Activity
Although a healthy diet and calorie deficit are essential to weight loss, exercise is also crucial, and the most efficient way to burn calories is aerobic exercise. This includes activities like running, bicycling, and swimming.
In fact, those people who typically engage in 60—90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week are likely to lose weight but, of course, not exceed their calorie needs. However, it doesn’t mean 60—90 minutes at one time, but it might mean 20—30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Stay on Course
It is best to monitor diet and activity to stay on track with the weight loss journey. This means keeping a portion of a food and physical activity journal can help track progress and trends. Also, monitor the weight and check it regularly. When losing weight, it’s a good idea to keep track of the importance of planning accordingly and adjust the diet and exercise plan as necessary.
Not only that, but it’s also essential to get support from family, friends, and others. Also, it’s inspiring to learn more from successful weight loss journeys while relying on others for support to stay on course and overcome challenges. Sometimes having a friend or partner who is also losing or maintaining weight can help stay motivated.
The Bottom Line
A healthy weight varies for each individual, and so does losing weight. MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center offers both non-invasive and minimally invasive options to reduce fat bulges and remove excess fat for anyone who might pose challenges to weight loss efforts. Their skilled, experienced cosmetic surgeons specialize in advanced cosmetic procedures to address whatever cosmetic or dermatologic concerns.