Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge 2023 – Day 3

Welcome to Day 3

An important aspect of our health is our body weight. One of the characteristics of the Mediterranean lifestyle is the maintenance of a healthy body weight; not too thin but not overweight either. Moderation is the key word here.

We know that extra weight puts a burden on our body, it increases the likelihood of the appearance of several health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is a reality. If you want to live a long life, you must have a somewhat normal and stable weight.

Avoiding extremes

We know from research, especially after a certain age that being too thin as well as being too heavy can have negative consequences on your health. Both extremes though are very prominent in our society. On the one hand for many people especially women, there is an ideal of being very thin. This leads to a never-ending chase for that ideal weight that often is not realistic or healthy, with repeated dieting.

On the other hand, we have the other extreme of the obesity epidemic fueled by a change in lifestyle, a westernized diet that is full of ultra-processed foods and lack of access to healthy foods among other factors.

The dieting culture has also given rise to the anti-diet movement which sometimes reaches the other extreme of not worrying at all about health consequences of weight gain. Body positivity is good but make no mistake, extra body weight can affect your health negatively.

Mediterranean Diet and Weight Loss

Many people do not like word “diet” and in the case of the Mediterranean way of eating, it is unfit to use it, in the sense that, it is not a “diet” with a beginning and an end but a way of eating that lasts a lifetime. We must remember this way of eating appeared in certain parts of the world naturally, people just ate this way.

Having said that, for those who were not raised on this eating pattern, there needs to be some guidelines as to what one eats with this traditional way of eating. Which is why I’ve written several posts with guidelines and menu plans:

The Mediterranean diet is known more for its health benefits and not as a weight loss diet. Many folks are eager to start a Mediterranean diet, but when they want to lose weight, they often switch to a strict “weight loss” diet, because they believe it is more effective. However, research has shown that the Mediterranean diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss and in many cases better than other mainstream diets. But the strongest argument for following a Mediterranean diet for weight loss is the fact that it isn’t really a diet. Apart from staying away from processed foods and too much meat, there are hardly any restrictions, which makes it an ideal weight loss diet because you basically can follow it forever.

Challenge #3

Assess your weight

Are you at a healthy weight?

What is a healthy weight? Well, you may have heard of the BMI (Body Mass Index) to figure out if you are at a healthy weight. It is a value calculated from the mass (weight) and height of a person. BMI was developed mostly as a quick calculation to estimate weight category in large groups of people. It is not perfect as it can show an athlete as overweight, even though they may be very lean. It cannot estimate the percentage of body fat one may have. When calculating your BMI, you should additionally measure your waist circumference which can estimate abdominal fat, a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

This link of the CDC website provides guidelines for calculating you BMI and measuring your waist circumference

How do you lose weight on the Mediterranean diet?

Now that you have noted your weight, you need to assess. If you need to lose weight, the Mediterranean diet can help you. As noted in the previous day of the challenge, with an authentic Mediterranean diet, for the most part you are eating vegetables and olive oil, with a moderate to low amount of carbohydrates and moderate amount of protein. The fiber from the vegetables and the good fats from the olive oil keep you full. The largest meal of the day is consumed earlier in the day and there are no ultra-processed foods in this diet.

Following a Mediterranean diet is also associated with less body fat, which is an important factor when it comes to health. Read below for guidance of losing weight with the Mediterranean Diet. Good Luck!

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