This might not appear to be so at first but it is a very personal question. The obesity epidemic has made it to easy for health care professionals to talk about someone’s weight. We have to remember, not every one wants to or is ready to lose weight. Being told by someone else how to manage our body can be very stressful and frustrating. Stress has been linked to cause an increase in weight gain, therefor by imposing our treatment ideas on people we might be making the problem worse. As a patient, someone should always ask your permission before discussing your weight.
The idea of weight loss in itself can cause anxiety, some people try their whole teenage and adult life to lose weight with minimal or no success. When someone in this situation gets told to lose weight it becomes very disheartening especially if it’s introduced as their way to improve their health. If you’re in this situation and are interested in weight loss; instead of focusing on weight loss itself focus on why you are exploring the idea. If it’s out of concern for you’re health focus on that instead. For example, if you were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, discover how you can manage your diabetes with food or behavior changes. Chances are by making some changes to improve your diabetes management you will end up losing some weight. By changing the focus of things we sometimes make it easier. You might also end up not losing weight, which is also okay because you will still have improved your health by improving your diabetes management. If you never wanted to explore weight loss, make it known you’re not interested to who ever suggested the idea. Change is hard, it’s hardest when it’s not wanted.
If you’re considering losing weight for health benefit remember a weight reduction of 5-10% of your body weight is sufficient. Research has proven it multiple times over, no drastic weight loss is needed. In fact, considering what we know about our body adaptation and weight regain a small weight loss could be the best option. For you, weight loss might even be just not gaining any weight. If you’re currently in a phase where you’ve been consistently gaining, a great approach could be to try to maintain. The motivation and want to lose weight should come from yourself, nobody should tell you how to manage your body.
Most of all, remember you’re not alone! If you’re unsure about what to do to better your health, reach out to a healthcare provider whether it be a dietitian, doctor, behaviorist or any one else. There is a growing community dedicated to helping people who are living with obesity, take advantage of it!