Baylor Scott & White MedProvider offers management assistance for adult patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Our comforting environment and quality preventative care allow our patients to achieve and enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
The new year is upon us. Like many, you may have thought about making some resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is to improve one’s health, specifically by losing weight. This is a great resolution to make; losing weight can not only help you feel better about yourself, but it can also have a significant positive impact on your overall general health.
Why Weight Loss Resolutions Are So Easy to Break
The resolution to lose weight is often broken soon after it’s made. This can be because the initial weight loss goal was too great. Other times, it’s the magnitude of change required to lose the weight that prevents us from sticking to this resolution.
Making this kind of life change demands a positive attitude, as well as a commitment to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Both of these can prove to be elusive.
Obesity vs. Being Overweight
Although losing weight is important whether you are overweight or obese, it’s important to know the difference between the two. Obesity is a leading but preventable cause of death globally. It’s estimated that in 2012, 600 million adults were obese.
BMI, or body mass index, stands for the number of kilograms of body mass per square meter of height. You can calculate your BMI by using the following formula:
BMI = (Weight in Pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches)) x 703
A BMI of 18.5 to under 25 is considered to be within the normal range. People are considered to be overweight if their BMI falls between 25 and 29. Obese individuals will have a BMI of 30 or higher.1
BMI is a very useful screening tool, as it will tell you into which range you fall and help you determine your risk for the development of serious disease. However, BMI cannot tell you whether or not you are healthy; only a health professional can do that.
It's Not About Quantity
Anyone wanting to lose weight wants to lose it as fast as possible, but this can threaten your health. When you deny your body the nutrients it needs, you can cause imbalances that will affect several of your body’s processes.
For example, when you resolve to lose 20 pounds by using calorie restriction diet plans to lose weight, your body is immediately robbed of essential nutrients, which, if not corrected, can lead to issues with your immune system that affect bones, muscles, and major organs. In contrast, when you choose to achieve healthy weight loss, your body continues to receive the nutrients it needs, which allows it to adjust to changes more easily.
How to Achieve Healthy Weight Loss
Preventative care via healthy weight loss refers to making gradual but effective lifestyle changes. Put simply, a healthy rate of weight loss is defined as being in the range of 1 to 2 pounds per week and is achieved by burning a higher number of calories than you consume.2
What caloric intake is ideal for you? This can be determined by considering your current activity level. If you don’t engage in regular physical activity, or only engage in recreational activity on weekends, your activity level is low.
If you engage in 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity at least three times per week, your activity level is moderate. Finally, those engaging in 60 minutes of vigorous exercise at least four times weekly have a high activity level.3
By matching your activity level with your underweight, normal, or overweight status’s activity factor number and multiplying this number by your weight, you can calculate how many calories will be required to maintain your current weight.
Diet definitely makes a difference when you’re trying to lose weight. However, you will also want to consider the many health benefits of exercise where it comes to achieving your weight-loss goals because it will help you to burn an even higher number of calories.
Positivity and Education – the Keys to Weight Loss
The most important thing in your weight loss journey, other than consulting with primary care doctors, will be to stay positive. Knowing some facts can help. Regardless of how much weight you want to lose, keep in mind that even losing five percent of your body weight will have significant health benefits. This is because even minimal weight loss decreases your risk factor for obesity-related illnesses.
Another benefit of making the decision to lose weight is that you will learn new things. Not only will you learn about which foods are healthiest for you to eat, but you will learn new ways of keeping fit, as well as learn more about how your body works.
Being more in tune with your body, you will know when something doesn’t feel right, which can drastically reduce your risk of developing serious disease.
Tips for a Healthy Diet
According to the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Weight Pyramid, those wishing to lose weight need to consume generous amounts of lower-calorie foods.4 Fruits and vegetables are at the top of this pyramid. The general principle is to consume those foods that allow you to feel full for longer periods of time, but which don’t contain an excessive amount of calories.
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recommends eating moderate amounts of lean proteins, unsaturated fat, whole grain carbohydrates, fish, and low-fat dairy. Of course, this, particular diet is just one of many which may help you lose your desired amount of weight.
Try the Right Foods Instead of Fads
There are plenty of fad diets out there which claim to melt away the pounds. Just as with calorie restriction, fad diets typically eliminate important and major food groups. Without these nutrients, the body can easily be thrown out of balance.
As well, fad diets can be incredibly difficult to maintain. Eating the right foods, along with healthy portion sizes and the occasional treat, is the solution to losing weight, say general practitioners.
Diet and Life
It’s not all work and no play; you can still diet and enjoy an evening out to dine with friends. Not restricting yourself from outings like this is an important part of succeeding at losing weight. Going out for a meal confirms that you can still eat the foods you enjoy, which will greatly lessen the risk of abandoning your diet.
One great tip for dinners out is to have a healthy snack beforehand, such as an apple or a handful of almonds before you leave the house. This will fill you enough so that you aren’t tempted to eat unhealthy portions or foods. When you arrive at the restaurant, begin your meal with a small salad. This will fill you further, and will also result in the consumption of fewer calories.
As mentioned earlier, a healthy diet is only one part of losing weight. In order to accelerate weight loss and maintain a healthy weight, you must get moving. Just as with your diet, making small, gradual changes is best.
Think about your daily schedule and where you can fit physical fitness in. For instance, if you usually take the elevator when you arrive at work or at home, consider taking the stairs. If you work at a computer, standing for certain periods through the day can have a significant positive impact on your health.
You can even insert physical activity into your shopping trips by parking your vehicle farther away than usual. Even those few extra steps can mean more calories burned.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
According to family doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years old require some form of aerobic activity and should spend two or more days a week on muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups.5
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking should consume 150 minutes of your exercise time each week. If doing vigorous aerobic exercise such as running or jogging, 75 minutes each week is recommended. You may also mix moderate and vigorous activity each week for variety.
Reap the Benefits of Weight Loss
Losing the weight you want may take time, but it is certainly not impossible. The great news is that it’s never too late to begin. However, before beginning any diet or exercise plan, it’s vital that you speak with primary care physicians first. This is especially true if you have health concerns.
Baylor Scott & White MedProvider can provide you with the needed tools to not only reach your weight loss goals but also offer primary treatment and management assistance for chronic conditions. Call 469-701-9075 to learn more about the benefits of beginning your weight loss journey with us.