When starting a weight loss process, one of the points that most brings anxiety is the verification of the result. It is the extra pounds on the scale that will tell you if the new eating and lifestyle practices are really working. No doubt, but this assessment should not be based solely on weight. The endocrinologist, weight loss specialist, Rodrigo Bomeny, lists below different ways to analyze and evaluate progress during the weight loss process.
– As stated, the first way to evaluate the result of the weight loss process is through weight measurement. “It is an easy, cheap, quick measure that depends only on the scale, which can be at home,” says the endocrinologist. This criterion has some disadvantages, according to Bomeny, such as not offering an analysis of body composition, that is, there is no distinction regarding what the measured weight is muscle or fat. “It must be taken into account that water constitutes more than 60% of the human body”, he reports.
In addition, the weight measurement on the scale can vary widely from day to day or even on the same day. “So be very careful when weighing yourself every day. Small variations (loss or weight gain) can simply be a variation of liquid in the body ”, warns the doctor.
– The second way is the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is obtained by dividing the weight (in kilograms) by the height (in meters) squared. The higher the BMI, the greater the individual’s overweight and degree of obesity. According to Bomeny, since it also takes weight into account, this criterion has the same limitations as measurement using a scale.
Likewise, BMI does not offer an analysis of body composition. According to the endocrinologist, a person can be considered overweight through this criterion, presenting a greater amount of muscles and not necessarily fat. Someone with a normal index may have more fat than they should.
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When to weigh yourself?
For those who use these two ways of assessing the progress of weight loss and are unsure of how often to climb the scale to measure their weight, Bomeny offers some considerations. According to the weight loss expert, if a person feels safer and more confident if he weighs them every day, he should do so. On the other hand, if the person is very anxious, it is recommended to stipulate a longer period between each measurement. “When starting a weight loss process, some people create a lot of expectation, believing that they will lose a lot of weight quickly and, in most cases, it is not what happens” he explains.
Now, when the expected result has been obtained, climbing on the scale more frequently is beneficial for maintaining weight. In this case, Bomeny recommends that the person establish a sentry weight, in which the tolerance is only two kilos upwards. Exceeding this value is a sign for the diet to become more restrictive again.
– The third point is through the bioimpedânciThe. Unlike the other two methods, bioimpedance assesses the individual’s body composition. According to the expert, this is caused by low intensity electrical currents, which, by measuring the different resistances of each tissue, are able to estimate the percentage of muscle, bone, fat and liquid present in the body.
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Despite being fast and non-invasive, bioimpedance is not very accurate. According to Bomeny, there are several factors that can interfere with the result, such as: room temperature, hydration, menstrual cycle (can cause fluid retention); and food intake and physical activity just before the measurement. “If the person calculates the bioimpedance every day, for example, there is the possibility of presenting a variation of 10% between the results”, says the endocrinologist, explaining that, as well as the measurement on the scale, variations in this method occur from the accumulation or loss of fluid and not necessarily fat.
– The fourth way is through measurement of skin folds, by means of an adipometer, with the fold size reflecting the amount of subcutaneous fat. According to Bomeny, despite being fast, cheap, simple and low cost, it is also an imprecise expedient, which depends a lot on the appraiser’s skill. “If performed by an experienced person, it is similar to bioimpedance, in limitations and benefits”, he says.
– The fifth mode is the most accurate. This is the Full Body Densitometry – DEXA, the only method that directly evaluates all body compartments (bones, muscles, water and fat), without inferring data from the measurement of just one compartment. “However, it is also the most expensive, as it is not part of the coverage of medical plans”, reports Bomeny.
– The sixth and final way to assess your weight loss progress is through comparative photos. Although not scientific, it is an extremely valuable way, according to the weight loss specialist. First, because it is an analysis of reality. “Visually it is possible to notice the difference, if the clothes are wider if the belly has decreased, for example”, he says. The analysis of the photos also serves as motivation.
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When using this method, it is necessary to take some care in relation to the clothes you are wearing, the angle of the photo taking, the incidence of light and the time, this due to the greater or lesser retention of liquids. According to Bomeny, any disparity between the photographs can interfere with the quality of the comparison, masking the result of the weight loss process. “You should also avoid taking pictures every day and even weekly, because changes in the body take time to happen,” he says.
In addition to being guided by visual information, be it of any measurement type or comparative photos, the endocrinologist suggests that you pay attention to what you are feeling. “Here, it is worth observing what weight loss is causing physically and emotionally, such as ease of getting around, greater sense of well-being, improved sleep, less pain in the body, etc.”, he highlights.
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