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Enter the Fascinating World Of Weight Loss

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Weight loss is a goal for many people; however, unlike other health issues, the need for weight loss is often considered for cosmetic or self-image reasons as much as to reduce the risk of developing health problems. The need to lose weight is also often viewed as one of those necessary evils in life and efforts to do so can be fraught with emotional and physical challenges. Learning as much as possible about how the body gains and loses weight and the steps to take to achieve and maintain a normal weight is a matter of getting educated and becoming determined to succeed.

Weight gain occurs for many reasons including stress, medical issues, lifestyle changes, inadequate exercise and poor dietary habits. The good news is that weight gain can be reversed at any time with a simple formula of increasing energy burned by the body while concurrently decreasing the amount of calories consumed.

Research into effective weight loss programs shows that even modest changes in body weight of less than 10% can have very positive health and emotional benefits. In recent studies obese individuals were able to achieve a 5% decrease in initial Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, and as a result experienced measurable improvements in all aspects of their lives including physical health, psychological well being and social relationships.1

Understanding the risks associated with being overweight and obese can help motivate people to work on achieving weight loss goals. Understanding the physical aspects is only one factor though. Just as important is understanding the emotional aspects. Let’s face it – many of us want to wear skinny jeans and get compliments from others making us feel like celebrities in our own way. We are inundated with advertisements showing wealthy and skinny celebrities as marketers try to make us believe that being thin equates to success in many areas of life. It’s tempting to feel inadequate or anxious when it’s difficult to zip up your favorite pants or skirt or when you discover it’s time to move into a larger size.

Weight is a complex subject that incorporates our total life and not just the physical one. We are the sum of our physical, emotional and spiritual well being and embarking on a weight loss plan should be kept in perspective. It is important to choose a safe, effective and healthy weight loss method, maintain a healthy perspective and remember that feeling good about yourself involves much more than the number on your scale.

There’s no getting around the fact that finding the right eating plan as well as increasing exercise and activity levels is regarded as the most effective way to reach weight loss goals and maintain a healthy weight.

Requesting Good Health!

It’s difficult to read that being overweight can lead to serious illness. No one purposely asks to be sick. However, the choices we make about diet and exercise may actually turn into such a request. According to the information provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) there are multiple risk factors that are directly associated with being overweight or obese.Some of the most common medical conditions seen in individuals considered overweight or obese include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Respiratory distress and problems
  • Various cancers including breast, endometrial, colorectal and kidney
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stroke
  • High bad cholesterol levels and low good cholesterol levels
  • Joint and skeletal problems
  • Circulatory problems

The physical health issues are just one piece of the puzzle. People that are obese and overweight also tend to have lower self-confidence, higher levels of anxiety and depression and a greater issue with self-image than people who maintain a healthy weight. The decreased activity levels often equate to missing out on many of life’s most important experiences too. For example, have you ever avoided taking a walk with your spouse because walking requires too much effort? Have you chosen to sit on the sidelines while you watch your spouse play outside with the children? Do your knees hurt due to carrying excess weight making vacations more of a chore than a fun event?

Completing the full impact that weight loss can have on life are the financial considerations. There is a correlation between weight loss and savings in medical expenses over the lifetime of an individual. In a study of insured individuals that were identified as overweight or obese it was determined that weight loss maintained over the long term resulted in approximately a 3% reduction in health care costs for each 1% of body weight successfully lost. This total varied slightly based on level of obesity and age, but was consistent as a general trend through all weight categories and ages.3

Weight Loss Fads Versus Healthy Options

 There are many different weight loss fads that crop up. These fad diets often require consuming one type of food like only fruits or only vegetables or mostly protein. There are starvation diets, celebrity diets and diet programs that promise fast weight loss and great results. These diets may result in short term weight loss, but they also create nutritional imbalances in the body, making them unsustainable for long term weight loss maintenance.

The truth is that staying on a diet all your life is not practical and it’s not fun. Our culture revolves around food in many instances – weddings, funerals, holidays, parties, athletic events, office picnics all involve food. There is even what is called “comfort food” or food we eat that makes us feel better emotionally even if it harms us physically.

There are plenty of healthy weight loss options. Finding nutritious food to eat is not difficult. A healthy diet provides a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. An increased intake of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables combined with a decrease in consumption of fats and refined sugars and empty calorie foods are considered by to be the most effective overall weight loss options. Substituting healthy monounsaturated fats for saturated fats is another key component to weight loss and satisfaction with the food on a particular diet or eating plan.

However, diet alone does not address all of the issues surrounding weight loss.

No Skinny Jeans…Just Your Favorite Clothes

 Many of the most successful diets include a range of lifestyle choices that go along with changing eating habits. These options typically include stress reduction activities, increasing physical activity on a daily basis and learning about the food triggers or motivators that influence how much and what you eat. People that choose to change their entire lifestyle including how they view food, instead of just dieting, tend to have better long term results.

Finding a diet that works with your weight loss goals, your metabolism and your lifestyle is essential for success. Choosing an eating style that may also help to control, manage or treat concurrent health conditions is another major consideration in weight loss. Working with your health care professional can be an excellent way to lose weight and increase your health at the same time. There is still the issue of maintaining your weight loss over time, which is important in long term health and well being. Since most people that lose weight tend to gain it back, finding a weight loss program that is sustainable over time will be the key to ongoing success with weight maintenance.4

 Losing weight may not get you into skinny jeans, but it will get you back into your favorite clothes. You will feel better, look better and become more confident. This is not a diet. This is a journey.

For some people wanting to lose weight, they want just the hard facts. In the big picture of weight loss, losing weight is a simple matter of burning more calories than you consume. If you eat 2,000 calories per day and burn 2,500 calories per day, you have burned off 500 calories. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. In the above example, if you maintained that 500 calorie deficit each day, you would expect to lose one pound per week. Most experts agree that 1-3 pounds per week is a reasonable goal for safe and sustained weight loss.

 References

1 Pan, H., Cole, B., & Geliebter, A. (2011). The benefits of body weight loss on health-related quality of life. Journal of The Chinese Medical Association , 169-75.

2 Overweight and Obesity Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from Weight-control Information Network: win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/

3 Dall, T., Zhang, Y., Zhang, S., et al. (2011). Weight loss and lifetime medical expenditures: a case study with TRICARE prime beneficiaries. American Journal of Preventative Medicine , 338-44.

4 Ludwig, D. S., & Ebbeling, C. B. (2010). Weight-Loss Maintenance – Mind Over Matter? New England Journal of Medicine , 2159-61.

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.