Facts You Should Know about Weight Loss and Control
Obesity is not just the accumulation of excess body fat. Obesity is a chronic (long-term) disease with severe complications that is very difficult to treat. There is no solution for today and today. Effective, permanent weight loss takes some time.
The key factors in weight loss and retention are motivation, proper nutrition, exercise habits, and appreciation for better health. Losing weight will help you to feel better. It will also improve your health.
Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States (tobacco is the first). People who are obese are at a much higher risk for many serious health problems than non-obese people. The most devastating of these health problems include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease and sleep apnea
- Colon cancer
- Endometrial cancer
How much amount of weight do you have to lose before you notice?
The good news is that you do not have to reach your ideal weight to lower your risk of developing obesity-related medical problems.
- Losing about 10% of your total body weight can help lower your risk.
- If you weigh 250 pounds and lose 10% of your total body weight, the loss of those 25 pounds can have a significant positive effect on your health.
- Losing around 10% of your total body weight is a good start to get your ideal weight. You can always continue and lose more weight once you reach your original goal.
Weight gain is caused by eating more calories than the body uses.
- The average person consumes up to 2,500 calories a day, or 17,500 calories a week.
- When you eat the amount your body needs, you will keep your weight. It may take around 3,500 extra calories to gain 1 pound.
- To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body consumes. You need to eat 3,500 calories less than you need, say 500 calories a day for a week to lose 1 pound.
Count calories. It’s important to understand where calories come from and how to make the smartest food choices. Here are some basics:
- Food consists of the following three substances in different quantities:
- Carbohydrates (four calories per gram): Examples are grains, cereals, pasta, sugar, fruits and vegetables.
- Protein (four calories per gram): Examples include legumes (beans, dried peas, lentils), seafood, low-fat dairy, lean meats and soy products such as tofu.
- Fats (nine calories per gram): Examples are full-fat dairy, butter, oils and nuts.
Alcohol belongs to the fourth group (seven calories per gram).
A calorie is the amount of energy (heat) needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. A kilocalories (or calories with a capital C) is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.
- The energy contained in foods is measured in kilocalories but is often referred to as food packaging and elsewhere as calories.
- Most people underestimate the number of calories they consume by about 30%.
- Calculate the number of calories you should use each day to keep your weight equal.
- If you are considered active, multiply your weight in pounds by 15.
- If you are sedentary, multiply by 13 instead.
- To lose weight, you have to eat less than this number.
Excess calories from any source (including fat-free foods) become body fat.
- Any carbohydrates that are not immediately used for energy are stored in the liver as glycogen for short-term use. What is left is converted into fat.
- Extra amount of protein and fat in the diet are also stored as fat.
Fat cells are no longer just for energy storage and release.
- They synthesize the hormone leptin, which travels to the hypothalamus in the brain and regulates appetite, body weight and fat storage.
- Leptin was first discovered in 1994. How exactly it works is not yet fully understood.
- Illnesses of leptin are responsible for only a few cases of obesity, usually morbid (extreme) obesity.
How to lose weight
For most people who are overweight or obese, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. If you eat less and exercise more the you lose weight. It’s that simple. There are no magic pills.
Effective weight loss plans include several parts. Tips for achieving these goals can be found in the next sections.
- Eat less: If you eat no fewer calories than your body consumes, you will not lose weight.
- Physical Activity: Every good diet plan involves physical activity. Physical activity burns calories and is less of an opportunity to eat during the day. You should exercise regurlarly for at least 30 minutes, four or five times a week. Regular exercise also has many other health benefits.
- Change in habits and attitudes: Most people have enough willpower to lose weight for a few weeks. In order to lose enough weight to improve your health and keep it off, you need to change the way you think about food and exercise. When eating, try to understand some of the hidden reasons that you eat. You can learn to recognize situations in which you overeat and shut off overeating. You can learn to eat less and be active.
- Support: Many people find it helpful to promote support to friends, family and co-workers. Others prefer groups like Weight Watchers or Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) to keep them motivated. The important thing is to seek the support you need to achieve your goals.
Drastic changes in eating habits, such as not eating at all (fasting), are usually unsuccessful. Eating too little calories causes your metabolism to slow down, which means the body burns fewer calories.
Do not believe claims to lose weight while sleeping or watching TV, or plans that claim to cause weight loss without dieting or exercise. Such gimmicks just do not work. They can even be unsafe or unhealthy.
Of particular interest to women who gained weight during pregnancy is that breastfeeding helps you to shed a few extra pounds. It’s also good for your baby.