Bariatric Surgery and Weight Loss
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Weight loss can be frustrating—especially when you’re trying your best with healthy habits but the number on the scale doesn’t match.
Your body mass index (BMI) and weight are two numbers commonly used to determine overall “health,” but they aren’t always reliable if you’re overlooking certain factors.
“If you’re just looking at BMI or the number on the scale, you can get a little frustrated. That’s when you have to look at the whole picture of your health,” says Laura Vikmanis, RDN, LD, registered dietitian at Kettering Health. “Genetics, body composition, hormones, and medication—all of that comes into play with your weight.”
Find your sweet spot
Laura encourages patients to find what she calls the “sweet spot,” the body weight you’re willing to work for without sacrificing your mental health—the one at which you feel your best.
“If you’re putting in a lot of effort, your weight will be lower. But if you’re spending too much time restricting and you’re not mentally healthy because of it, that’s not your sweet spot,” Laura says.
Look at your lifestyle
If you’re unhappy with your weight, Laura recommends addressing your lifestyle: What is your diet like? What do you do for exercise? Has your medication recently changed?
Start with your habits—what you do (or don’t do) every day—and then look at other factors.
Your body measurements, how comfortably your clothes fit, and how much energy you have help indicate how healthy your lifestyle is—and measure your improvement.
“You could be happy with the number on the scale but only be eating one meal a day, getting too much fast food, and snacking on candy bars,” Laura says. “In the same way, you could be eating healthy with lots of protein, produce, and whole grains, but you’re a little bit heavier.”
In other words, it is often your habits, not only your weight, that determine your health.
Move forward with confidence
Weight is one spoke on the wheel of health where exercise, medication, strength training, cardio, body measurements, and vitals such as blood pressure all come together.
So, the good news? If you feel confident about where you stand with each of these factors, you’re right where you need to be. Stepping on the scale every day isn’t necessary—and may not be healthy unless you have a chronic health condition where monitoring your weight is important.