There are lots of reasons for people
who are overweight or obese to lose weight. To be healthier. To
look better. To feel better. To have more energy.
No matter what the reason,
successful weight loss and healthy weight management depend on
sensible goals and expectations. If you set sensible goals for
yourself, chances are you'll be more likely to meet them and have
a better chance of keeping the weight off. In fact, losing even
five to 10 percent of your weight is the kind of goal that can
help improve your health.
Most overweight people should lose
weight gradually. For safe and healthy weight loss, try not to
exceed a rate of two pounds per week. Sometimes, people with
serious health problems associated with obesity may have
legitimate reasons for losing weight rapidly. If so, a physician's
supervision is required.
What you weigh is the result of
- how much and what kinds of food
- whether your lifestyle includes
regular physical activity
- whether you use food to respond
to stress and other situations in your life
- your physiologic and genetic
- your age and health status.
Successful weight loss and weight
management should address all of these factors. And that's the
reason to ignore products and programs that promise quick and easy
results, or that promise permanent results without permanent
changes in your lifestyle. Any ad that says you can lose weight
without lowering the calories you take in and/or increasing your
physical activity is selling fantasy and false hope. In fact, some
people would call it fraud. Furthermore, the use of some products
may not be safe.
A Realistic Approach
Many people who are overweight or obese have decided not to diet
per se, but to concentrate on engaging in regular physical
activity and maintaining healthy eating habits in accordance with
the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emphasizing lowered fat
consumption, and an increase in vegetables, fruits and whole
grains. Others — who try to diet — report needing help to achieve
their weight management goals.
Fad diets that ignore the
principles of the Dietary Guidelines may result in short term
weight loss, but may do so at the risk of your health. How you
go about managing your weight has a lot to do with your long-term
success. Unless your health is seriously at risk due to
complications from being overweight or obese, gradual weight loss
should be your rule — and your goal.
Here's how to do it:
- Check with your doctor. Make
sure that your health status allows lowering your caloric intake
and increasing your physical activity.
- Follow a calorie-reduced, but
balanced diet that provides for as little as one or two pounds
of weight loss a week. Be sure to include at least five servings
a day of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean
meat and low fat dairy products. It may not produce headlines,
but it can reduce waistlines. It's not "miracle" science — just
common sense. Most important, it's prudent and healthy.
- Make time in your day for some
form of physical activity. Start by taking the stairs at work,
walking up or down an escalator, parking at the far end of a lot
instead of cruising around for the closest spot. Then, assuming
your physician gives the okay, gradually add some form of
regular physical activity that you enjoy. Walking is an
excellent form of physical activity that almost everyone can do.
- Consider the benefits of
moderate weight loss. There's scientific evidence that losing
five to 10 percent of your weight and keeping it off can benefit
your health — lower your blood pressure, for example. If you are
5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 180 pounds, and your goal weight
is 150, losing five to 10 percent (nine to 18 pounds) is
beneficial. When it comes to successful weight loss and weight
management, steady and slow can be the way to go.
For many people who are overweight
or obese, long-term — and healthy — weight management generally
requires sensible goals and a commitment to make realistic changes
in their lifestyle and improve their health. A lifestyle based on
healthy eating and regular physical activity can be a real
Determining Your Weight/Health
Overweight and obesity have been associated with increased risk of
developing such conditions as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes
and coronary artery disease.
Use the program below to determine your BMI and healthy weight