The number of people in the United States who are overweight has increased over the last two decades. Current estimates are that approximately two thirdsof adults and one quarter of children and teenagers in the United States are overweight. Obesity is a primary causal factor in a wide range of serious diseases including heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. It also tends to raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and makes you more likely to develop diabetes. Hence, obesity is one of the most significant and preventable causes of death and disability among adults.
The number of calories you eat and the number of calories you use each day control your body weight. So to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you use. You can do this by becoming more physically active, by eating less or both. Your weight loss program should also help you make changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
The most common way to decide if you are overweight is to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI looks at how much you should weigh based on your height. It is a relative comparison of the proportion of fat versus lean in your body.
Your BMI should be somewhere in the 19 to 25 range. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese. If you are in doubt as to whether or not you are overweight, see your doctor.
If you decide that you need to lose weight, where should you start? First, you should concentrate on eating a healthy diet. Consider what you are eating. To lose weight while remaining healthy, you should try to lose only about 1/2 to 1 pound a week. One pound equals 3,500 calories. So if you cut out or exercise off 500 calories per day, you will lose about a pound a week. Losing weight will be easier if you combine exercise with diet management and good nutrition.Back to top Nutrition
A good diet has a structure known as the food pyramid. The idea behind the food pyramid is not necessarily to exclude any particular food, but to eat more of the healthy foods, and less of the unhealthy, fattening foods. You should eat more of the foods at the bottom, largest layer of the pyramid.
The American Dietetic Association lists several warning signs to look for in a diet that signals bad nutritional advice:
Remember that variety is the spice of life! Eating a variety of foods helps provide vitamins, minerals and fiber all of which may help reduce chronic disease risk. You dont need to give up favorite foods when trying to maintain or lose weight, but you may need to eat less of it less often.
Some tips on eating well and losing weight:
Regular physical activity will not only help you to lose weight, but you will look and feel better. Exercise will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, it can reduce your risk of having a heart attack and will temporarily suppress your appetite! Any activity that is done for at least 30 minutes on most days will help. You should try to exercise aerobically, meaning hard enough to make your heart pound a little and make you breathe heavier. If you are so out of breath that you can't comfortably talk to someone, you are exercising too hard. Slow down! To burn the maximum amount of fat, you should exercise at a lower intensity for a longer period of time. Check out the Health Authority web site on Fitness for more information.
Exercise and eating well, when combined, are the most effective means of losing and maintaining weight. To get you on your way to losing weight, try using these strategies:
Losing weight should be viewed as a long term goal rather than a short term fix. Remember that you didn't gain weight overnight, and you won't lose it overnight either. If after several months of eating right and exercising, you still are not losing weight, you may decide to see your doctor. Most people are capable of losing weight on their own, without medical intervention.
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