Being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Besides being a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, being overweight can make other health problems worse, including arthritis and sleep disorders. It also increases your risk of developing breast and colon cancer.
Healthy weights are given in ranges. To determine if someone is in a healthy weight range, we measure their weight and adjust for their height. The number that we come up with is called the Body Mass Index or BMI for short. Someone is in a healthy weight range if her BMI is 25 or less. If your BMI is higher than 25, you should try to lose weight until you are in a healthy weight range.
If you are in the healthy range, try not to gain any weight, even if the extra weight still keeps you in the healthy range. Your doctor will help you determine if you are in a healthy weight range. Also, if you have a tape measure in your home, you should check the measurement around your waist. For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches in considered high and increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
The measure of energy that the body gets from food is called calories. People gain weight when they eat more calories than their body uses for energy. To lose one pound, you must burn 3,500 calories more than what you eat. The number of calories that you burn depends on how active you are and your body size.
Weight is a question of balance; you take in calories from the food you eat and you burn off calories by physical activity. To lose weight and keep it off, you will need to make changes in both your eating and physical activity habits.
Cutting down on calories, especially calories from fat, is the key to losing weight. Combining this with being physically active on most days with activities, such as walking, dancing, or climbing stairs, can help you lose weight for the long term.
Pregnant women should not try to lose weight unless her doctor tells her to do so.
When it comes to weight loss, there are no quick fixes. Successful, lasting weight loss requires a change of lifestyle, not a brief effort to drop pounds quickly; otherwise you will probably regain the weight.
Most people who lose weight and keep it off lose the weight slowly. They learn to make lasting changes. If you are trying to lose weight, you should try to lose no more than ½ to 2 pounds each week until you reach a healthy weight.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, you should ask your doctor to help you develop a sensible plan for weight loss.
No, weight loss pills and fad diets may harm your body over time because they do not provide you with all of the nutrients and energy that your body needs. Losing weight has become a moneymaking business. Miracle diets and weight loss pills that promise easy and fast weight loss are marketed to people who are looking for a “quick fix”. These pills and diets rarely work over time because they do not teach realistic ways to manage your weight. There are other healthy ways for permanent weight loss that won’t harm your health.
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