Weight management and body weight

Finding the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure is important. Listening to your body and understanding your body’s needs and hunger cues goes a long way.

Body weight alone is not an indication of overweight because people’s height varies. The body mass index (BMI) is the body weight divided by the square of the body height. The Terveyskirjasto website has a calculator for calculating the body mass index of adults.

In BMI calculation, the weight range which is considered ideal in terms of health is 18.5–25. If the number is higher or lower, the risk of illness increases, with the exception of people over 65. Their healthy BMI ranges between 23 and 29. If you are overweight, a moderate weight loss of 5–10% already improves your health.

The body’s daily energy expenditure consists of basal metabolism and the energy used by physical activity and digestion. Basal metabolism is directly proportional to the size of the body, especially muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body consumes. 

You should keep in mind that a smaller body consumes less energy, which means that permanent weight management will require you to reduce the amount of energy you get from food. You do not necessarily need to reduce your portion sizes if you fill your stomach with foods that contain less energy, such as vegetables. 

Finding the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure is important. Listening to your body and understanding your body’s needs and hunger cues goes a long way. Eat regularly and be physically active for at least an hour every day.

It is hard to lose weight with exercise alone if you do not make any changes to your diet. Regular and varied exercise is important for your overall well-being and the quality of weight loss, as it affects your health and functional capacity positively by, for example, helping you retain muscle mass. You can incorporate more physical activity into your day-to-day life just by doing small movements, such as raising your arms and legs for a few minutes.

Yo-yo dieting can make weight management more difficult and affect your overall well-being negatively. Rapid weight loss often causes muscle tissue loss, and if you tend to regain the weight you have lost, it often comes back as fat tissue. 

Slow and steady weight loss can be achieved by making lifestyle changes that are not too strict or difficult to follow. Patience is key: the more moderate the change, the more likely it is to become permanent. You can break the cycle of yo-yo dieting with the help of a regular meal schedule, sufficient and varied nutrition, and regular exercise. 

If you lose weight too rapidly, start exercising too much, or get too little protein from your diet, your body may enter starvation mode. When your body is in starvation mode, the energy consumption is disproportionately small in relation to your body size and muscle mass and you will stop losing weight. Other symptoms include feeling cold, constipation, lower heart rate, poor muscle strength, and fatigue. To restore balance, you can exercise, make sure you drink enough water, stick to a regular meal schedule, and eat a varied diet. 

Access to bariatric surgery is limited. If you are interested, you should book an appointment and ask a healthcare professional. 

Remember: If you have lost a considerable amount of weight, you should have the pressure setting of your CPAP machine checked and talk to your treatment provider about whether your sleep apnoea treatment should be adjusted.