Weight loss is a common goal for many and a life-long battle for others. Despite the simplicity of the regularly cited equation – energy in energy out –  many of us struggle to actually lose weight or have the motivation to start in the first place. The good news is, there are actually a number of additional factors which can be considered to help increase the chances of weight loss success!

What is a healthy weight?

There are a few ways to measure ‘weight’ but the standard measure used to classify weight is Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in metres (kg/m2). It’s important to note, that there are a few circumstances in which the BMI measure is not an appropriate measure of weight including use in body builders and those with a high level of muscle mass.

The categories are as follows:

  • Below 18.5 – underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 – normal weight
  • 25.0-29.9 – pre-obesity
  • 30.0-34.9 – obesity class 1
  • 35.0-39.9 – obesity class 2
  • >40 – obesity class 3

Why it’s important to get on top of weight?

There are a number of negative health impacts associated with being overweight or obese, including increased risk of:

  • Mortality
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Mental illness including depression
  • Poor self-esteem and isolation

What are some hidden factors of weight loss currently being researched?

The hallmarks of a weight loss programme is usually a combination of calorie restriction combined with an exercise plan. For some, this is the only change they will have to make but for others, this combination will work in the short-term but down the track, additional underlying factors, which are often referred to as ‘hidden factors,’ may need to be addressed.

An example of a hidden factor in gut health and the balance of bacteria we have in our gut. Considering we house approximately 2kgs of microbes in our stomach, it only makes sense they the bacteria we have may impact weight. Specifically, researchers have found that certain species of bacteria metabolise less energy from foods and are therefore associated with weight loss, whilst others, harvest more energy from foods and are associated with weight gain. This means those with a higher amount of bacteria which harvest more energy from food are more prone to weight gain.

Inflammation is another area of interest when it comes to weight loss and obesity. Research is showing that anti-inflammatory compounds, such as those from dietary supplements, may have the potential to inhibit fat accumulation. This means, taking into account ways to reduce inflammation in the body in addition to a diet and exercise plan may help to facilitate weight loss.

What other factors impact weight loss success?

Two major factors worth mentioning which may impact whether weight loss will be successful or not are consistency and accountability. A hit and miss approach to diet and exercise is less likely to result in good outcomes and instead, it’s important to stay on track and be consistent with the changes you are making. In addition to this, being accountable not only yourself but someone else can help maintain momentum. Tied in with accountability is also regularly reviewing progress. After all, there is nothing more motivating than knowing you are moving forward in the right direction and regular check-ins can help create this momentum. This is where following a regime provided to you by a professional can really help kick-start your goals and help see you stay on track long-term.

The negative health outcomes of being overweight or obese are mostly reversed when excess weight is lost. Therefore, it’s important to support emerging research in this area which offers additional help for people who are committed to losing weight and also those who need some additional assistance.

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