Managing a healthier weight is critical to not only lowering your risk of disease and other complications but can also help you feel in charge of your overall health. When you’re more positive about building healthier habits, you also set yourself up for future success for any other goals you want to tackle.
If you’re clinically overweight, this can put you at higher risk for a long list of problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. It can also negatively affect your life quality, including how well you sleep, how you concentrate at work, or the energy levels you have to play with your kids.
Managing a healthier weight is key to lowering your risks for complications. It can also help you feel optimistic about new habits and set you up for future success with other goals.
What’s up, doc?
Everyone is unique, and you should build your approach to weight management on your personal needs, family history, and more.
If you already have a primary care physician, start with them. (If you need help finding one, chat real-time with a Care Navigator. It’s free, confidential, and they’re experts at helping you find a doctor or care professional in your area.)
Our team of registered nurses is also ready to give you 1-1, personalized advice on how you can manage a healthier weight. Chat with them right in the League app, ask anything you like, and get customized next steps on how you can take control of your weight.
Healthier Weight 101
Before digging into what you can do to take better care of your body weight, let’s look at what that even means and some key concepts you need to know before you get started.
1. Individual factors
How much you weigh isn’t the result of any single thing but of various intricate factors.
Weight change can seem simpler for some people and difficult for others. This includes things like your environment and home life, your medical history, genetics, your daily habits, and your metabolism.
2. Energy balance
Understanding energy balance is one of the keys to maintaining a healthier weight. The number of calories you take into your body from nutrition (energy in) is balanced by how your body uses those calories (energy out) for actions like moving your body, digestion, .
If you take in more calories than you use, this results in weight gain. If you take in fewer calories than you use, this can result in weight loss.
It’s the balance over time, not necessarily each day, that can help you maintain a healthier weight. The essential elements of this include planning how to:
- follow a healthier diet with more nutritious, whole foods.
- eat fewer calories in a sustainable, long-term way.
- add physical activity to your routine.
There’s no one “best” way to manage your weight
There are lots of common factors that influence why someone might not be at their optimal body weight. Like your family history or genetic predispositions for specific health concerns, some of these are totally out of your control.
Some of them, like your activity levels and nutrition, are more in your control. That’s why it’s important to start with the things you can take charge of. That doesn’t mean that that it will be easy. Habit change is hard, and even the things you can influence are impacted by your environment, budget, family life, and work habits.
It’s easier for some people to start a workout habit or to take time to focus on nutrition. For others, like parents with busy schedules or folks who are caregivers for family members, it can quickly feel like there’s no time to take care of yourself.
There is no single right way to maintain a healthier bodyweight. The best way is the way that will work for you, that you’ll be able to stick to, and that will have the most significant positive impact on your life with the most manageable amount of effort.
Know that you’re worth it
How we think and feel about starting new habits is just as important as the things we do. When it comes to managing a healthier bodyweight, your approach to forming new habits and how you feel about your body weight goals are crucial to success.
You might have tried to be healthier in the past and failed. That’s ok. You might think you’re incapable of changing or that it’s just too hard. That’s ok, too. You might only have time to do one small thing, and it doesn’t feel like enough. One little thing is better than nothing at all. In fact, doing even one thing is fantastic, and you should pat yourself on the back for doing it.
Society and social media are filled with aspects of diet culture and “wellness.” If you’ve got a healthy relationship with some of these messages and they genuinely motivate you to take care of yourself in a positive way, that’s great.
If you’re one of the many people who studies have shown feel discouraged, alienated, and dissuaded from meaningful change, then you’re not alone.
Everyone’s body is different. A healthy weight for you won’t be the same as for your loved one, friends, or even people with a similar body type to you. A lot of advertising around weight loss products is designed to make you feel that you are lacking if your body doesn’t look a certain way and that if you change your body, you will be worthy of health and self-esteem. This is meant to make you feel bad about yourself, so you’ll spend money on products and programs that might not even help.
To take the first steps on a long-term, healthier relationship with your body weight, start with knowing that you’re on your own path. Try to avoid thinking about being “thin” or “skinny” as the end objective.
Your real goal is to be healthier and happier, however that ends up being and feeling on your own beautiful, unique body.
You’re worthy of taking care of your body so that you can support yourself and the people around you that you love. Try not to compare your steps to success with someone else’s (and especially not to any on Instagram that’s trying to sell you a detox).