If one of your diet resolutions this year was to lose weight, you’ve probably already been considering different weight loss programs. But wherever you are on your weight loss journey, it’s important to remember that weight loss is a long-term commitment.
Weight gain, especially if it leads to obesity, may have negative effects on your overall health. But if you’re thinking losing weight at any cost will help you get all the health benefits of weight loss, think again.
Some researchers have pointed out that you can be healthy at any size through targeting lifestyle habits that support metabolic health as a whole. Focusing on healthy habits can also reduce your risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, kidney and liver disease, and other health issues associated with an unhealthy weight.
Are you curious about whether there’s a link between weight management and blood sugar control and if that can help you with reducing the risk of conditions like diabetes? Still unclear about your metabolism and how things like high blood sugar, prediabetes, and weight gain are connected to it? Read on to find out!
Why is Weight Loss So Challenging?
Estimates show over 45 million Americans go on a diet every year. And studies have shown that 49.1 percent of the adult American population tries to lose weight every year. Unfortunately, not all of these people reach their weight loss goals or improve their overall health while they’re attempting to do so.
Failing to meet your weight loss goal can happen for many reasons, including undereating. Other factors impacting your weight loss progress can include your nutritional balance.
This goes beyond calories and includes how macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) are balanced in your diet. It also includes how you combine and time your foods throughout the day.
Another contributing factor may be an inappropriate amount of physical exercise, especially in the US. In fact, only five percent of American adults engage in daily physical activity, and only one in three adults are involved in any physical activity weekly.
This lack of physical movement can increase the risk factors for obesity and other conditions, including high blood pressure, cholesterol, prediabetes, and mental health issues.
What is Your Metabolism and How Does it Work?
Your metabolism governs energy balance, but also much more. Metabolism includes the total of all chemical reactions taking place in your body to keep you alive. This includes energy balance as well as making and repairing DNA, tissues, and other molecules essential for life, like hormones.
Your metabolic rate, or how your body regulates energy balance depends on age, current weight, level of physical activity, and genetics. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is one way to determine some of this. Specific formulas can help you calculate the BMR, but it can be pretty complicated to do yourself if you’ve never done so before.
A registered dietitian can help you calculate your BMR and understand more about the calories your body requires depending on things like your age, weight, and height. But of course, healthy weight loss isn’t just about calories in versus calories out.
Understanding other factors that impact metabolism such as the role of hormones, stress, and nutrient intake is crucial.
Why is Healthy Weight Loss Important?
Not everyone’s metabolic rate works the same. Some people have a fast metabolic rate, while others might have a slow metabolic rate. For people with a slow metabolic rate, weight loss can be even more challenging.
Are you wondering why people with low lean muscle mass and high-fat mass are prone to slow metabolic rate? It’s because your muscle cells use more energy - even at rest. If weight loss is your goal and you have a slow metabolic rate, consider exploring ways to improve your lean muscle mass.
If you’re focusing on your diet, remember that healthy weight loss is much more important than just losing weight. There’s no one-size-fits-all, and body weight is not always the best way to determine overall health.
So even if you're considering dietary changes to support this, don’t make any drastic changes without consulting a healthcare professional first.
The Relationship Between Glucose and Your Weight
After every meal, your body produces insulin, a hormone that influences how your body moves and stores energy from glucose. If you consume more glucose than your body needs at the time, your liver and muscles may store the excess as glycogen and even fat.
If your sugar intake is much higher for an extended period, your body may begin to experience changes in fat storage over time. This leads to the increased risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity. Keeping glucose balanced may positively impact how your body stores and uses nutrients.
Chronic elevated sugar levels can also lead to insulin resistance, where your cells stop responding normally to insulin. This keeps glucose in your bloodstream even longer. With very high insulin levels, your body doesn’t receive the signal to use glycogen and fat for energy. This ends up affecting your efforts at weight loss.
Consider Tracking Glucose, Not Calories, For Optimal Weight Loss
Added sugars can be one of the most significant deterrents to your weight loss goals. The American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams) for most adult women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.
Another way to track your sugar intake is to consider the glycemic index of your food. Food with a glycemic index under 55 is usually a good option for most people, especially if your goal is to lose weight and improve blood sugar levels.
However, glycemic load—which takes into account the overall amount of a given food you are eating—is the best way to apply the principle of glycemic index. Another tool to add to your weight loss toolbox is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
This can give you a detailed picture of your blood glucose levels and is considered a cost-effective way of tracking your blood glucose. With a CGM, you can see real-time glucose responses to food and lifestyle habits.
You’ll be able to see what kinds of food lead to spikes in your blood glucose, and how dramatically your glucose fluctuates. By monitoring this, you are able to better understand how your diet and lifestyle habits influence your glucose levels and risks for metabolic health concerns over time.
Healthcare professionals like registered dietitians are an excellent resource if you’re just starting your weight loss journey. They can help you understand your glucose levels, improve nutrient balance, and create custom approaches to diet and lifestyle changes, so you can focus on healthy weight management.
Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense
Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.
With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.
Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.
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Heather has worked in healthcare and nutrition for over 15 years, with bachelor's degrees in Microbiology and Philosophy and a master's degree in Nutrition Science. Her professional background includes nutrition and diabetes research, nutrition education, medical writing, and extensive clinical work in a functional neuroendocrine specialty practice.