If you are overweight or underweight, this has a major impact on your health. A healthy weight is perhaps one of the most important points for your health. But how do you know if you are overweight or underweight? When can your weight be considered healthy weight and how do you achieve a healthy weight. You will discover the answer to these questions here.
The BMI was devised to determine whether you have a healthy weight. BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a number that indicates the ratio between your height and your weight. The taller you are, the more you can, of course, weigh. But the BMI calculation also takes other factors into account. For example, your gender is taken into account when calculating your BMI .
This is because women naturally have a higher fat percentage than men. But your age also plays a role in determining your BMI. As we get older we get a little bit heavier and we are allowed to weigh a little bit more.
Health risks of obesity
If you are overweight, you run more health risks. The health risks are:
- Bad cholesterol levels; a higher LDL cholesterol while the (good) HDL cholesterol is lower.
- A fatty liver so that it functions less well and is less able to dispose of waste products. The first complaint with a fatty liver is fatigue.
- Heart and vascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes. This causes all kinds of complaints such as fatigue, infections, blurred vision, frequent urination and often hunger. Due to the high blood sugars, type 2 diabetes can cause all kinds of serious complications such as nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
- Higher risk of certain cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.
- Wear and tear of the joints
- Sleep apnea, decreased lung function and snoring
- More likely to develop mental illness such as depression or anxiety disorder
- More likely to have a stroke
- Infertility (in both men and women)
Obviously, obesity can cause many serious health problems. Some problems only reveal themselves after years. For example, it can take years before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.
Health risks of being underweight
Low weight is also not good for health. If you are underweight, this is because you eat or cannot eat enough. This means that your body receives less nutrients than someone with a normal weight. This can cause shortages of vitamins , minerals, essential amino acids (proteins) or essential fatty acids.
A lack of nutrients will weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to (infectious) diseases. You will then, for example, be more likely to catch a cold or the flu. A shortage of nutrients can eventually cause all kinds of deficiency diseases. First signs of malnutrition are fatigue, lethargy and dizziness. You will also be more likely to feel cold and have a thin and pale skin.
The hair becomes dry and is more likely to fall out. To get energy, the body will burn the muscle mass as fuel when underweight. This decreases muscle strength and increases the risk of fractures. Organs can also be damaged by malnutrition. This affects the heart, liver, kidneys and nervous system.
In the many countries, more than 50% of the adult population is overweight and 2% is underweight.
What to do if you are overweight?
If you are overweight, it is good to start tackling this, so that you get back into balance and feel good about yourself again. What you eat has a major impact on your weight and your health. What you eat may have even more impact than how much you eat. It is best to eat unprocessed foods.
These provide your body with nutrients so that the hunger feeling disappears automatically and you do not eat more than necessary. What you eat also has a major influence on your hormone balance, which in turn affects your weight. There are a few hormones that have a major impact on your weight. These are insulin, cortisol and ghrelin.
Insulin is the hormone that is produced when you have eaten carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose after which it enters the bloodstream. The glucose is transported to the cells via the blood, where it serves as fuel. Insulin is needed to absorb the glucose from the blood.
This hormone causes the cells to open and absorb the glucose. Insulin, however, is a multi-task hormone. It also ensures the storage of body fat. If your insulin levels are high, your body stores a lot of fat and it is not possible to burn fat. If you want to lose weight, it is therefore important to keep insulin levels low. You do this by keeping the blood sugar low.
The amount of carbohydrates you eat has a major influence on this, but also the type of carbohydrates you eat. For example, added sugars and refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise quickly. As a result, more insulin is needed to bring the blood sugar level back down. It is therefore good to Eat carbohydrates from whole foods such as whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Another hormone that ensures the storage of fat is the stress hormone cortisol. It is therefore difficult to lose weight if you suffer from stress. A lack of sleep also causes the production of cortisol. It is therefore important to get enough sleep if you want to lose weight.
The hunger hormone ghrelin also has a major influence on weight loss. If you have too much of this hormone, you are very hungry and often. It is then very difficult to eat fewer calories than what the body requires.
The hunger hormone can be kept low by eating less carbohydrates and more proteins and fats. Proteins and fats provide a feeling of satiety, while carbohydrates do not.