Health

Can weight loss define a person’s health status?

Weight gain or loss are often the first noticeable differences seen and discussed at the start of a conversation. We never give it a second thought of how this is going to impact a person’s life.

Appearance criticism or Complimentary weightism: Both hold several disadvantages. Studies reveal comments on appearance in form of compliments can lead to higher dissatisfaction scores as does appearance criticism. By giving in to body shapes and correlating it to an evaluation of beauty or looks can be detrimental. To keep appreciating a ‘thinner’ look we define a standard of beauty. These related remarks start establishing a person according to their self esteem and worth, creating weight bias and obesity stigma.

Health conditions causing weight loss: Several health related reasons can be responsible for weight loss. Hyperthyroidism,IBD,COPD, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, surgeries, medication are some such cases that can be a trigger factor. It may not be easy for someone to disclose their health problems.

Intentional or Unintentional weight loss: Sometimes weight loss can be unintentional or unexplained. Stress, depression, muscle wasting,ageing, dental problems, diarrhoea are some of the common causes.

Often it’s difficult to figure out the reason behind the associated weight loss. When there is a significant weight reduction in a span of 3-6 months,it is usually termed as unexplained and that which does not happen due to exercise,diet or lifestyle changes.

Eating disorders or Disordered eating: Anorexia nervosa or Bulimia nervosa are  common eating disorders more inclined towards behaviour, body weight or looks whereas disordered eating happens when there is an irregular relationship with food as per mood or image or over exercising. Three key factors are behaviour,obsession and functionality. Disordered eating can lead to an eating disorder. Eating disorders can cause severe nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte imbalance,neurological issues.

Mindsets or Mindless eating: Following fad diets that are not in sync with your health parameters, narrowing it down to some food groups only and elimination of others can cause nutritional deficiencies, anemia, more of muscle loss than fat loss. Fixed ideas without having adequate knowledge on food plans may have long term health effects. Binge eating without realising we have had enough or just to clean the last morsel off the plate or for the appearance or taste of food, eventually can cause guilt, leading to a starvation mode for long periods. Mindless eating does not follow hunger cues, there is no check on the quality of what is served or quantity to be controlled when eating. Mind the Hara Hachi BU point, a Japanese term that says ‘ Eat until you are 80 percent full’. This approach works well for undereaters too as it prevents the discomfort of feeling bloated and the urge to purge.

Weight is not an accurate indicator of an individual’s health status. Judging someone  by their weight does not qualify the quality of life they lead. Having a healthy body weight, leading an active physical life that is fun, keeping a check on health parameters, eating right when hungry, stopping at attaining satiety and being in a happy zone goes a long way in giving yourself the best shot in living a lifestyle that is truly worth it!!

Author: Komal Lala,

               Nutritionist

Komal Lala is a nutritionist and a health coach, certified in weight management and clinical nutrition from ACSM, a Diploma in health education DNHE, PG in Clinical Nutrition. She is affiliated to NSI (Nutrition Society of India) and IAPEN (Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition).You can contact her at [email protected]

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