November 2, 2013
Many people want to lose weight, but few people are successful. So what can you do to increase your chance of success? Here a several tips to get you started.
First, you need to educate yourself. It is important to know a few things so that you and your doctor can assess what health risks you may have because of excess weight and so that you can decide on a reasonable weight loss goal. You need to know your actual weight in pounds, your body mass index (BMI), and your waist circumference. Once you know your actual weight, you can calculate your BMI using an online BMI calculator. Your BMI will tell you if you are at your ideal weight, overweight, or obese. Waist circumference is important because fat that is stored around the waist poses a bigger health risk than fat that is stored in the lower body. A waist circumference of 40 inches or more is considered too high in men, and 35 inches is too high in women.
Second, you need to get in the right mindset. It can be daunting to realize you are 30, 50, or even 100 pounds overweight. However, keep in mind that even a small weight loss can benefit your overall health and well-being. Also keep in mind that sustained weight loss requires not just a diet but a lifestyle change. I also find it empowering to view eating healthy as a choice. It feels good to tell yourself that you can eat that pizza, chocolate, or whatever but that you are choosing not to for the sake of your health.
Third, you need to choose an eating plan that is right for you. A good way to begin is by measuring and recording everything you eat. There many free apps available, so this is not as difficult and time consuming as you might think. In America, our portion sizes have grown very large over the last 20 years, so most people do not realize how much they are actually eating. In general, you will need to cut back 500 calories each day to lose one pound per week. It is my opinion that many of our processed foods that contain substances such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and others alter the brain to make you feel hungrier, thus sabotaging weight loss. Eating mostly whole, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods will help you to feel satisfied with fewer calories. There are many commercial diet plans out there and many people are successful with these, but before you start one make sure it is something you can live with and that will promote a balanced diet as well as maintenance once you have reached your weight loss goal.
Fourth, you should consider exercise. Exercise is important for cardiovascular health and overall well-being, but I find that many people overestimate the effect of exercise on weight loss. Exercise is great, but exercising for thirty minutes a day without changing your diet is not going to make you lose weight. I recommend finding an activity you enjoy and engaging in it regularly, but keep in mind that what you eat is much more important when it comes to weight loss.
There are some medical conditions and prescription medicines that may make losing weight more difficult, and there are also some prescription medicines that may make losing weight a little easier. No medicine is a substitute for eating less, but you and your doctor can decide if any of these medicines are right for you.