This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
Trying to lose weight can be a challenging and frustrating choice.
According to the CDC, the data gathered by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 42.4% of American adults suffered from obesity from 2017 to 2018. No wonder weight loss programs and fad diets are common topics of interest for many.
When it comes to improving your health, weight loss often comes up on the list. The health benefits of weight loss primarily encompass anatomical advantages and, more importantly, physiological effects.
But the process of weight loss does not simply begin with a quick thought or realization. Instead, planning to lose weight is a decision that requires commitment and preparation.
Learn more about the initial steps you need to complete before choosing a weight loss plan as you read further.
Why Could a Weight Loss Plan Fail?
Most weight loss programs would tell you that a significant factor to its success is understanding your body and personalizing your plan.
Diving into your weight loss journey without establishing clarity about your health and uncovering undetected conditions can be a critical mistake.
There are instances wherein a person exerts so much effort following the weight loss plan only to find out that they are not getting the expected results. Cases like this are mostly tied up with the failure to assess health conditions before following a specific diet or engaging in an active lifestyle.
To avoid these mistakes and guarantee that your weight loss plan becomes successful, there are several preparations you need to undertake.
However, the impulse of quickly getting into fad diets, taking weight loss pills, or subjecting your body to extreme workouts is pretty common for those who wish to see fast results.
But rapid weight loss can put your body in a difficult position. The immediate transition can have adverse effects on your organ function and metabolism.
Health Risks of Rapid Weight Loss
There are several conditions in which shedding a few pounds can indicate a developing health condition. Likewise, in some obesity-related comorbidities, evidence has shown that weight cycling, which is prevalent to these patients, can do more damage than good.
- Muscle Mass Loss
The first thing that most people would do to lose weight is limit or screen their diet. Impeding food intake or controlling its frequency is an instant go-to approach for rapid weight loss.
However, a weight loss plan that solely focuses on caloric restriction can reduce muscle mass instead of a plan that combines both approaches.
- Gallstone Formation
During rapid weight loss, the liver produces excessive cholesterol into bile resulting in the formation of gallstones. This condition, in general, is determined by many factors such as age, family history, and sex. But research has shown that gallstone formation during rapid weight loss is a risk by itself.
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Changing your diet cold turkey can lead to vitamins and other nutrient deficiencies. Some of these deficiencies include:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Fad diets are often effective, but they don’t come without any side effects. A ketogenic diet, for example, has been known to cause dehydration. This weight loss approach aims to trigger ketosis to burn more fats.
In the process, dehydration can be inevitable as high levels of ketones are produced.
- Psychological effects
It’s not just the physical state and composition of the body that is altered during weight loss.
Your brain also experiences several changes in the neurotransmitter released by organs. These substances can affect the mood and the mental state of a person.
On the other hand, the pressure to maintain an ideal body image can lead to conditions such as bulimia or anorexia.
So, how do you avoid these conditions? First, gather as much information about your health and make sure to follow these must-do steps.
What You Need to Do Before Choosing a Weight Loss Plan
- Get Your Baseline Data
Weight loss or obesity management begins with acquiring baseline health data. These data serve as your reference in tracking your progress.
Likewise, these sets of data provide ample information on your overall health and will lead you to a weight loss program that corresponds to your needs. These include your BMI, waist circumference, cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood sugar level, medical history, etc.
BMI, which stands for body mass index, is an established parameter in assessing weight loss success.
Studies have supported the idea that different weight loss approaches should be implemented depending on the initial BMI and other factors.
To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms with your height in meters. The result will show if it falls within the bodyweight ranges classified as an underweight, normal, overweight, or obese range.
Among adults, a normal BMI is from 18.5 to 24.9. Anyone who calculated less than 18.5 is considered underweight. On the other hand, a person who has a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and those with 30 and above are obese.
- Check Your Hormones
If you have done plenty of weight loss programs, but no anatomical or physiological changes have occurred, then perhaps your body is sabotaging the change. This condition is referred to as weight loss resistance.
Most of the time, weight loss resistance is associated with hormonal imbalance. People suffering from obesity turn out to have different hormonal profiles than lean people.
As a result, metabolic changes are affected and prevent weight loss from happening. In an off chance that weight loss is achieved, the likelihood of weight regain is also higher.
For example, one study showed the effects of thyroid hormones in metabolism that influenced weight loss.
In the clinical trials, it was found that the higher the baseline T3 and free T4 are, the more weight loss can be predicted. Thus, the thyroid hormones join the likes of insulin and adrenal hormones as biomarkers for weight loss.
This finding, along with other vital data, revealed how varying hormonal levels support the need for a personalized weight loss approach instead of its cookie-cutter counterpart.
Therefore, it is best to secure a weight loss profile blood test before starting your program.
- Identify Any Food Allergy
Going organic is a common response to weight loss planning. It’s all about what’s healthy on your plate. However, before completely getting sold to the idea of an organic diet, it is best to detect if you are allergic to common weight loss foods.
Here are some foods that are often included in fad diets:
- Nuts and Legumes
- Whole grains
- Sesame seeds
Food allergies should not be treated lightly despite how mild the symptoms are. Allergic reactions can worsen and turn into a life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis, wherein the reaction is too severe for the body to handle.
The best thing to do is to get tested for specific food allergens.
- Detect Any Underlying Conditions or Risks for Diseases
When you have a medical condition, it could be tricky starting a weight loss plan by yourself.
You will need to be guided by your doctor for obvious medical reasons. Otherwise, your weight loss plan could backfire and do more damage.
Type 2 diabetes is a common example of a metabolic condition requiring careful meal planning and activities.
One of the primary reasons for the meticulous weight loss plan is a diabetic person’s tendency to experience hypoglycemia. This condition is characterized by lower-than-normal blood sugar.
Shifting to a diet that might frequently trigger hypoglycemia can have adverse effects.
In the same way, before pursuing your weight loss journey, learn if you have any risks to diseases triggered by caloric restriction or strenuous activities.
Find out if you have a family history of conditions like gastrointestinal problems, Crohn’s disease, Addison’s disease, and other disorders that can be affected by weight loss.
- Identify Routine Activities Affect Your Weight Loss Plan
If you are working, keeping a healthy weight, and facing your daily stress load can have conflicting effects.
Habits and routine activities may seem to be a normal and essential practice, but they can intervene in your weight loss journey if less attention is paid.
Naturally, when you wish to lose some weight, giving up vices like smoking and drinking alcohol is almost mandatory. But for daily tasks that encompass sleep and work, a complete understanding of their effects is crucial.
For example, sleep can be a problem for people working night shifts. For those who are going through their weight loss journey, lack of sleep can interrupt the success of your plan.
Sleep quality and quantity have been found to have crucial effects on the metabolism and mental craving for food.
Every weight loss program has a prep section of its plan. But if you want to protect your health while improving it simultaneously, the best action to take is to consult your doctor. First, get the baseline data you need and subject yourself to the necessary blood tests.
The most successful weight loss plan is not created overnight. Instead, it requires going back on forth with the proper meal prep, exercise, and even supplement.
Add the medical assessment in the initial process, and you can get yourself an effective and safe weight loss plan.