Blog/7 Pillars For Weight Management Success
5/1/2023 | 7 min read

7 Pillars For Weight Management Success

How to improve your overall health

A workout class of a diverse group of people doing a spread arm stretch

If you’re feeling unhappy with where your weight is, you’re not alone. When navigating the weight loss market, it can be hard to figure out what’s going to work for you and your body. Managing your weight requires adopting new habits that promote an all-around healthier lifestyle. Habits take time to create, but once that foundation is laid, it’s much easier to maintain. 

In contrast, attempting radical changes to your diet and daily activity puts you at risk of not only failing but overlooking related health factors. While fad diets may promise fast results, they are limiting your long-term health. In order to see consistent success, you need a plan designed to your individual body with healthy habits you can stick to.

In order to set yourself up for success, these seven pillars of weight management can provide a solid starting place in building the structure you need to manage your weight effectively. 

1. Health literacy

What is health literacy? It’s the ability to find, understand and use basic health information and services to make well-informed decisions. This includes being able to differentiate factual information from misleading data. As of 2013, approximately 36% of adults have less than or equal to basic health literacy.

Increasing the health literacy of patients has been a challenge for the industry. While the introduction of social media platforms like TikTok have opened the door to health awareness and education for some, it can also be the source of a lot of misinformation.

A lack of health literacy can affect your ability to manage your health and weight, engage in shared health care decision-making with your provider and appropriately take medication. It is also linked to more emergency room visits, hospitalizations, increased mortality rates, weight gain and declining health. 

Limited health literacy spans age, gender, income and education groups, but there are certain populations at greater risk. Such as, older adults, people with compromised health and racial and ethnic minorities. 

Taking care of your health is not limited to doctor, virtual or hospital visits, it is part of everyday life. At some point, we all need to be able to find, understand and use health information and services. Being health literate can help you prevent, maintain and better manage your weight and overall health. 

Research has shown that people who understand health literacy can:

  • Increase preventive health care measures

  • Lower unneeded ER visits, hospital stays and readmissions

  • Decrease dosing errors

  • Better manage chronic conditions

  • Improve health outcomes and satisfaction

2. Mental health care

What does mental health care have to do with weight management? Quite a lot actually. Poor mental health can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, using food as a coping mechanism and overeating or not eating enough. Anxiety, depression and stress decrease motivation to be active and can affect quality sleep, which slows down the metabolism and increases appetite. 

For those dealing with a mental illness or disorder, weight management can be harder to navigate and maintain. In fact, studies have shown a definitive link between mental health issues like depression and obesity. 

So, what can you do? We recommend trying out some of these proven exercises. 

Recognize your triggers Whenever you find yourself particularly snacky, take a step back and think about what you’re feeling. Are you anxious from work? Are you feeling low and looking for some type of serotonin release? Feeling bored? This exercise teaches you to understand your triggers and replace them with healthier habits. 

Practice mindfulness

Try incorporating some of these mental health practices to reduce stress or anxiety that may be triggering you.

  • Make a positive list; write down what you're proud of, what you like about your body, something nice someone said about you or anything encouraging you want on there and leave it right where you can see it.

  • Meditate; simply sitting with yourself in a quiet space can help silence your mind. You can also incorporate some breath work by breathing in for four seconds, and out for four seconds.

  • Stand in front of a mirror; Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a compliment. It can be anything! You can do this fully clothed, in just your underwear or only your birthday suit! (Do whichever you're comfortable with).

While nutrition and exercise are key to maintaining a healthy body weight, there are a multitude of mental and psychological factors that impact weight management. Getting these aspects of your life on track can make a huge difference in your long-term success. 

3. Mindful eating

There's no need to overcomplicate your nutrition and give in to crash dieting. People start these programs off well but end up failing because they don’t help you build long-term, sustainable habits.

Your relationship with food is important for both your mental and overall health. Without a balanced diet, your body is unable to function properly due to the lack of needed nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and water. Maintaining your body's nutrients is critical for maintaining good health and achieving your weight goals. 

  • Protein- is needed for building, repairing and keeping us resistant to infections 

  • Carbs- are needed for energy

  • Fats- are needed for energy; unsaturated fats also lower risk of disease

  • Vitamins- are used to release energy, resist infection and keep bodily functions working properly

  • Minerals- are used to build strong bones, control bodily fluids and release energy

  • Water- is needed for hydration and maintaining bodily functions 

Mindful eating doesn’t require you to cut out certain foods, instead it encourages you to eat them in proportion. For example, instead of eating a full bag of chips, put a small amount into a bowl and sprinkle in a few carrots to help you feel full. That way, you satisfy your craving but don’t overindulge. It also means being aware of the nutrients your body needs. Planning out your meals for the week or meal prepping are great ways to eat mindfully. 

Remember, food is not your enemy. It is fuel for your body. 

4. Movement and exercise

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your body and physical and mental health. 

Being physically active:

  • Boosts energy

  • Helps manage weight

  • Benefits chronic health conditions

  • Improves brain health

  • Improves insulin sensitivity 

  • Increases mobility 

  • Prevents injury

  • Promotes quality sleep

  • Reduces risk of disease and illness 

  • Strengthens bones and muscles 

Both physical activity and mindful eating play an important role in weight management. Your body gains weight by consuming more calories than you burn in a day.

Burning calories through physical activity, along with decreasing the amount of calories you intake, creates a “calorie deficit”. This then tells your body to tap into its energy reserves stored in its excess fat—resulting in weight loss. 

As a general rule, try to be moderately active for at least 30 minutes every day. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, yard work, casual biking, light lifting and yoga. Vigorous activity includes jogging/running, swimming laps, aerobics, jumping rope, HIIT workouts and weight lifting.

How much and how you workout is going to look different for every person. Some people may need to increase the amount of time they spend being physically active or increase the intensity of their workouts to reach desired goals. 

5. Adequate hydration

Did you know that the human body is composed of approximately 60% water? From breathing to bowel movements, nearly every bodily function depends on being well hydrated to function properly. 

As a general rule, you should drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound of body weight, every day. For example, If you weigh 140 pounds, that would be 70 to 140 ounces of water per day. 

But, how does adequate hydration help with weight management?

Because water naturally contains no calories, drinking water instead of high calorie alternatives; such as juice, pop, sweetened tea or coffee, can reduce your overall liquid calorie intake. Water also naturally suppresses appetite by taking up space in the stomach, leading to the feeling of fullness and reducing hunger. Oftentimes, when a person thinks they are hungry, they may actually be thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before eating can help decrease unnecessary snacking and overeating. 

Drinking water facilitates bowel movements, increasing the production of urine, softening stools and lowers your chances of constipation and bloating. In addition, adequate hydration flushes out harmful bacteria from the urinary tract and prevents kidney stones, promoting kidney function. 

Without water, your body cannot metabolize stored fat and carbs. Metabolism is a key process in burning stored fat as well as fat from food and drink. This process is called lipolysis and the first step involves the interaction of water and fats. 

Water is also important when exercising as water helps muscles, joints and connective tissues to move correctly. As your body ramps up activity, water helps the lungs, heart and other organs work effectively, while also reducing muscle cramps and fatigue. As the body loses fluid more quickly during physical activity (sweating) to regulate body temperature, it is important to drink water before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration. 

You do not need to rely solely on liquids to reach your hydration goals. Many fruits and vegetables also contain high amounts of water too. 

  • Cantelope

  • Celery

  • Cucumber

  • Lettuce

  • Strawberries

  • Watermelon

6. Quality sleep

Sleep is essential for many vital functions including development, hormone regulation, repair and regeneration, immune system support, rest and brain detoxification. Quality sleep also contributes to energy expenditure and weight management. 

For quality sleep, you need 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted rest. Studies show about 35% of U.S. adults are getting less than7 hours most nights though. 

Lack of sleep is linked to poor food choices, increased calorie intake and hunger, decreased physical activity and ultimately weight gain. Sleep deprivation alters the metabolic rate and hunger hormone levels, ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry and decreases leptin, which makes you feel full. 

Another important factor is cortisol levels. Insufficient sleep can cause the release of cortisol—the stress hormone—and can stimulate hunger. 

To improve quality sleep, it is important to stick to a schedule for going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Try avoiding screen time and stimulating activities an hour before bed. This will help your mind and body to relax. Try taking a bath or shower, read a book or meditate before going to bed. 

7. Understanding your body 

Last but not least, it is important to understand your body (because it’s completely unique to you!). No body is the same, thus we need different things to manage weight and a healthy lifestyle. Some of these differences have to do with a person’s height, age, hormones, metabolism and genetics. 

By understanding what your body needs, you can create habits and build routines that optimize its health. For example, individuals who are lactose intolerant could be missing out on the calcium and vitamin D found in dairy. As a result, they have to look towards other foods like salmon or dark green vegetables to find them.

Sometimes your weight can be linked to a certain illness or disease. In order to manage your weight, you first must manage the illness. 

Some common illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers and gout. While a few of these can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, others can be predisposed or passed down through genetics. Even medications, like some birth controls, can lead to issues with weight management. 

All of these factors and more play a part in your overall health and weight management. This is why understanding your body is important. The management of your overall health and weight can have a massive impact on the quality of your life. 

How can Agile help with weight management?

Weight management can be a stressful process, but you don’t need to go through it alone. We offer comprehensive and convenient virtual weight management from licensed providers across the U.S. Our team focuses on your unique challenges to deliver effective, personalized treatment in a timely manner. Agile also offers continuity of care to our patients, so you can continue seeing the same provider for your follow-ups and check-ins. 

To get started on your weight loss journey today, schedule a fast and easy visit.