Track Your Weight
Weight Management vs Weight Loss
What’s the difference between weight management and weight loss? The tactics for the two are different. Remember, losing weight is only half the battle, keeping it off is the other. Set yourself up for success by building long-term, healthy habits. Let’s take a closer look.
What is healthy weight loss?
While it’s tempting to drop the pounds as quickly as possible, this method of weight loss isn’t sustainable. People who losing weight gradually and steadily are generally more successful at keeping it off.1 Healthy weight loss is considered 0.5kg to 1kg a week (1lb to 2lb).2
How to lose weight
Losing weight and maintaining it are two different things, although, ultimately, they both require you to live a healthy lifestyle. However, there are some distinct differences.
Create a calorie deficit
Weight loss requires you to be in a calorie deficit, which is created when you take in less energy (through food) than your body requires. In this state, your body draws on its fat stores to burn the extra energy it needs for breathing, digestion, exercise, regulation of body temperature and other systems.3
In fact, how your body uses energy can be split into three categories. The calories you burn every day (calorie expenditure) include:
- Resting energy expenditure: The calories your body uses at rest for functions and automatic systems, such as breathing and blood circulation
- Thermic effect of food : The calories your body uses digesting and metabolising food
- Activity energy expenditure: The calories burnt during sports like exercise, such as running for weight loss. It also refers to non-exercise related activities, including fidgeting, walking and doing the chores
Work out BMR
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest, also known as your metabolism.5 Everyone’s is different, as it’s based on height, weight, gender, and other factors.
However, your caloric needs are different to your BMR; they’re higher, as they’re also based on factors like activity level. You can use a calculator to work out roughly how many calories your body needs, then reduce that slightly. To lose weight you need to be in a moderate calorie deficit, cutting back too much is unsustainable.
So, for example, if your body requires 2,000 calories a day and you feed it 1,700, you’re in a calorie deficit. The more activities you carry out throughout the day, the more calories you burn, and the greater the deficit.
How to burn more calories
One pound of fat is made of about 3,500 extra calories. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of fat in a week, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.6
This can be done in a variety of ways:
#1 – Eat fewer calories
It’s a good idea to cut the amount of calories you eat down – moderately. Going too extreme, or being too restrictive, isn’t sustainable and could lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting: losing weight only to gain it back. This is demoralising, unhealthy, and can make it harder to lose weight in the long run.
Easy ways to cutting back calories include:
- Eating more lean protein. Protein is highly satiating and reduces the hunger hormone, helping to suppress appetite. Plus, it has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) (the calories that are used to digest and metabolise food) compared to carbs or fat7
- Fill up on fruits and vegetables
- To give you an idea of how much you’re eating you can count calories
- Cook in advance to give you more control over what you’re putting in your body. For example, you could meal prep
- Eat more fibre
- Reduce the amount of fast food and takeaways you eat
- Don’t completely cut out your favourite treats – everything in moderation – but eat a healthy diet,
#2 – Move more
Stepping up your physical activity levels is a good idea, whether this be joining a gym, working out at home, or whatever takes your fancy. You need to find something you enjoy, that way you’ll be encouraged to keep it up.
However, as mentioned, you don’t just burn calories through exercise. So, it’s also recommended you just generally move around more. This can be done by:
- Taking the stairs rather than the lift
- Walking while on the phone
- Standing up more
- Cleaning your home
- Doing other household chores
- Increasing daily step count
What is weight management?
Weight management is the process of adopting long-term lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy body weight.8 It will be dependent on someone’s height, weight, age, gender and activity level.
How do you maintain weight?
As with losing weight, you’ll need to eat a healthy diet and perform physical activity. However, unlike weight loss, you need to eat the amount of calories your body needs.
If you’ve lost weight, your body will likely need fewer calories to function at this new lower weight, so it’s important you adjust your intake.
If we eat and drink more calories than we use or need, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues over time, we may put on weight.9 A trap many people fall into is losing weight, only to gain it back again, as they don’t adjust their habits.
Truth be told, weight management needn’t be difficult, you just need to make eating healthily and moving more part of your lifestyle. This is another reason why it’s key not to be too restrictive, as you can’t build these behaviours into healthy habits.
The importance of nutrition and weight management
Maintaining a lower body will mostly rely on what you eat, good nutrition is absolutely key. So, what does that look like?
- Prioritising healthy food that gives you energy over processed alternatives (e.g. chocolate bars, sugary sweets)
- Our diets should be mostly made up of fruits and vegetables, and starchy carbohydrates like potatoes or brown rice and pasta10
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Choose low-fat dairy (or dairy alternatives) as a great source of calcium
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- Eat some fats, ideally unsaturated11
Our bodies need a number of different nutrients and minerals in order to function as healthily as possible, which come from the different foods we eat. This is why it’s so essential to eat a balanced diet.
Benefits of good nutrition
The benefits of good nutrition go far beyond weight, including:
- Reducing the risk of some diseases e.g. heart disease, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis
- Reducing the risk of some cancers
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Lowering high cholesterol
- Strengthening the immune system12
Build healthy habits
Ultimately, the difference between weight management vs weight loss is that for the latter, you need to be in a calorie deficit. However, outside of this, much of it is the same: live a healthy lifestyle. This comes through a combination of the food we eat and the amount of exercise we do. Build healthy habits that you can maintain, make them part of your everyday life, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of keeping the weight off.