Being truly overweight is much more complicated than the number that shows up on your bathroom scale. It’s also more than even the most scientific sounding values like “body mass index.” Being overweight is a perception of your own body shape and your personal comfort level with this shape. In addition, however, it is a few very specific neurochemicals that help mold the perception in either positive or negative outlooks. Being overweight also has an impact on your physical health, from your cardiovascular to digestive to mental health. We now know that excess body weight creates unnecessary strain on the heart and vascular system, while fueling excess inflammation in the digestive tract and slowing our cognitive and mood centers in the brain.
There are many potential causes that can lead to becoming overweight. The most well-known includes an imbalance in the amount of healthy calories in the diet. Not all calories are made the same and a simple reduction in calories does not always lead to healthy and permanent weight loss. “Calorie quality,” as I put it, is vital to effective weight loss that will also contribute to better health. For example, one might consume less than your daily caloric requirement in doughnuts, but you are much more likely to lose weight with a lower carbohydrate and properly balanced fat and protein diet.
With a consistent approach to weight loss, it is not unreasonable to expect a pound of healthy weight loss a week. Most of my patients improve their lean muscle mass and notice a significant loss of fat mass with this balanced and comprehensive approach.