Weight loss that is healthy and medically safe requires diligence. You don’t necessarily need “fad diets” or expensive medical weight loss programs. Doctor’s may recommend a program or even surgical intervention if your weight is compromising your health.
Obesity has almost reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. affecting over one-third of the population. This adds up to 78.6 million people and the numbers are growing. Obesity can lead to diabetes, stroke, and heart related diseases.
Losing weight takes time. Steady and gradual weight loss is the safest. Aim for a loss of 1 or 2 pounds weekly and you will have better luck at not gaining the weight back. Losing weight and maintaining your weight is about learning a new way of eating and a new healthy lifestyle. Here is some helpful information to help you get started with your weight loss program.
Always check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.
Healthy weight loss requires balancing the calories you take in, stored calories in body fat, and exercise. You have to be able to burn the calories you eat and chip away at some of the stored body fat without sending yourself into starvation. Meal skipping only slows down your metabolism, so finding a good way to keep it revved up is the best way.
There are so many ads and commercials for weight loss products and programs. Some are actually very beneficial if they teach you lifelong eating habits when you reach your weight goals. There is also weight loss surgery for the severely obese that are in a health crisis due to their weight. Whatever you decide, that decision needs to be made with your doctor to make sure you choose something that will both benefit your health and keep you safe from risks.
Weight loss requires a commitment and support from others around you. The best way is to include your family and everyone can learn a lifetime of healthy eating.
Before you decide how much weight you want to lose, you need to know how much weight is safe to lose. This can be done with a few simple calculations based on the following:
Determine your BMI. The “Body Mass Index” is a measurement of approximate body fat based on how tall you are and how much you weigh. This can give you a good idea of the healthiest weight range you need to be in. No one number is an ideal weight for everyone. Doctor’s usually recommend around a 10 percent weight loss at first to help speed up your metabolism, and then 10 percent more if it is really needed. It is easier to take weight loss in smaller pieces than go for a huge goal that seems hard to reach. BMI ranges give you a wide range that seems more obtainable.
You’re Never too Old to Build Muscle. Even after mid-life you can strengthen your body and build muscle to help burn fat and boost your metabolism. This will help you lose weight and keep it off since muscle tissue gets the calories first if you work-out on a regular basis. This will help you replace fat with muscle. Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, so at first you may notice gains instead of losses. This is okay, the fat burning comes next.
Calculating BMI for Weight Loss
You can ask your doctor what your ideal BMI should be, but there are helpful charts, calculators and a formula you can use to see where your BMI is at. Here are the ranges:
Underweight. less than 18.5
Healthy. 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight. 25 to 29.9
Obesity. over 30
If you would like to do the formula yourself, here are the steps:
Weigh Yourself. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning with no clothes or shoes. Measure your weight in pounds.
Take Your Height. Have someone stretch a measuring tape and get your height in inches. You can also stand next to wall and make a line on top of your head then measure the line to the floor.
Square your Height in Inches. Take your height in inches and multiply it by the same number. For example; if you are 63 inches multiply it by 63 inches (63 x 63 = 3969).
Divide your Weight by the Answer to the Above Number. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by your height squared. For example; if you weigh 163 divide it by 3969. (163/3969 = .04106828).
Multiply your Answer x 703. Multiply the answer to number 4 x 703. The answer will be your BMI. For example; the answer to number 4 is .04106828 then you multiply that times 703 (.04106828 x 703 = 28.8). The BMI result is: 28.8 and is considered in an overweight range.
According to the calculation above, a weight loss of about 20 pounds would bring you into a healthy BMI range for your height.
Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to meet your body’s caloric needs. Cutting too many calories at once can send your body straight into “starvation mode” and your body will pack on weight to make sure it has needed energy. It is also harder to keep up with a diet if you’re hungry on it.
It is important to not eat less than 1,000 calories per day. You can easily stick with a 1,200 to 1,500 calorie per day diet and still lose weight. You need to cut just enough to encourage your body to burn excess calories from fat. Look at it this way:
One Pound = 3,500 Calories
That may seem like a huge number, but if you cut your daily intake by only 500 calories a day that will add up over 7 days to 3,500. That totals one pound each week.
If you want to go for two pounds a week, you can try to cut 1,000 calories a day. Just remember that this may make you lose those pounds faster, but many people tend to regain at this rate.
Here is a scenario to help:
If you are eating around 2,500 calories per day, take off around 500 of those calories. That means you can eat 2,000 calories per day and you will take off 1 pound per week. To lose 2 pounds per week, you would drop your intake to 1,500 per day.
An easier way to set this goal is to count your calories for one whole day. Eat as you normally eat, write down all the numbers and add them up. If this totals 1,800 calories, then use this formula. It’s called the “20 percent rule.”
Try this calculation:
1,800 x 20% = 360 then subtract that number from your daily intake = 1,440 calories per day
This should result in around a ½ to ¾ pound weight loss each week. This formula gives you a little more calories each day so you won’t feel hungry all the time and give up. The slower the better for success!
It doesn’t take cutting large amounts of food out of your diet. You can make just a few changes at a time to make things easier. Try these things:
If you cook with a non-stick pan and omit butter for eggs you can cut: 34 Calories
Use fat-free milk on cereal you cut: 63 Calories
Switch to margarine over butter: 36 Calories
Leave your salad dry and just dip into your favorite dressing: 109 Calories
Skip the French fries and order a side-salad: 118 Calories
Eat your side-salad with low-calorie dressing: 270 Calories
Steam your veggies rather than sauté them: 62 Calories
When you are at a party, choose between either a cocktail or the dessert: 277 Calories
Try eating a veggie pizza rather than one topped with meat: 60 Calories
Bring healthy snacks to the office (yogurt and granola, fruit, veggies): 82 Calories
Try drinking mineral water with lemon/lime over champagne: 136 Calories
Switch cookies for one orange: 54 Calories
These switches can add up over the course of one day and not leave you starving at bedtime. You may not even notice some of them.
There are many weight loss supplements on the market today. Each one promising weight loss with just the help of a pill and some will even say they are beneficial if used with a healthy diet and exercise. The use of weight loss supplements is often not even necessary if you use a healthy diet and exercise. This teaches you good lifelong habits without the help of a pill. Many people stop taking supplements and gain the weight lost right back. If you want to try a supplement, always check with your doctor to make sure there are no drug-drug interactions or dangerous side-effects based on your health. Here are a few weight loss supplements that are popular today:
Green Coffee Extract. Green coffee may help to increase the metabolism to help burn more fat. Studies show that it may be slightly effective in helping with losing weight, but research is ongoing with this supplement. Side-effects may include; feeling jittery, nausea, headache, heart palpitations, and trouble sleeping.
Chitosan. This comes from shellfish shells and may help block fat absorption. The results of studies are inconclusive that this is helpful for weight loss. There are no reported side-effects, but those allergic to shellfish may have an allergic reaction to the supplement.
Bitter Orange. Bitter orange comes from Asia or Africa and contains a relative of ephedra, synephrine. It may increase calorie burning, but may be just as unsafe as ephedra. Ephedra was banned from the market by the FDA as unsafe. Many supplement makers switched to bitter orange after the ban. Side-effects may include; high blood pressure, and elevated heart rate. There have been reports of people using bitter orange having; heart attacks, strokes or even sudden death.
Chromium. This mineral substance may help your body respond to insulin better. This may help you use fat and carbohydrates better. Some say it lowers the appetite, builds muscle, and lowers body fat. Studies show that up to 1,000 mcg daily did not have any weight loss effects. Side-effects include; headache, mood swings, and trouble sleeping. This supplement may cause liver and kidney trouble.
Green Tea Extract. Green tea extract is thought to boost metabolism and reduce appetite. Studies have not yet proven this supplement helps with weight loss. Side-effects may include; bloating and gas, nausea, dizziness, irritable moods, and trouble sleeping.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid. You may hear a lot about CLA, which is a fatty acid that may help you feel full longer. Taking up to 4.5 grams a day may stop your body from storing fat and increase your muscle mass. Research shows it may only be slightly effective and is not recommended in people who suffer from insulin resistance or morbid obesity. Side-effects include; diarrhea, stomach upset, and nausea.
Note: Keep in mind that anything containing ephedra has been banned from the supplement market. This ingredient is very dangerous and can cause severe heart problems or even death.
There are certain situations that your doctor may recommend surgery to help get you started on weight loss. The criteria for weight loss surgery include:
You have obesity, BMI over 35 to 40, with a health condition that is complicated by being overweight including; high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and/or sleep apnea.
You understand the risks of weight loss surgery – vitamin deficiency, electrolyte imbalances.
You make a commitment to maintaining the weight loss.
You understand eating requirements after you have surgery.
There are a few different options for weight loss surgery. These include:
Gastric Bypass. The doctor will tie off most of the stomach only leaving a small pouch that will only hold a small amount of food. This surgery can often be done laparoscopically with a small scope and camera.
Gastric Band. A band is wrapped around the upper stomach that tightens the entrance to the stomach. A balloon can adjust the tightness of the band to reduce the amount of food that can enter the stomach. This surgery can be done laparoscopically.
Gastric Sleeve. The surgeon will take out almost all of the stomach and leave a very small portion of the upper stomach area. This also possibly removes hunger receptors and reduces appetite.
Duodenal Switch. This surgery takes out almost all of the stomach and leaves just a gastric sleeve. The doctor all has the end of the stomach bypass the small intestine. The amount of food you are able to eat is limited and absorption of nutrients is limited. People who have this surgery need to eat very carefully and make sure they get vitamin supplements to prevent malnutrition.
The following tips can help you lose weight just doing everyday normal things. Just a few minor changes to your routine can help boost your metabolism and lower calories:
Give Yourself Food. Instead of starving yourself, switch out higher calorie foods for lower calorie foods and eat more. You may only get 2 cookies with your calorie allowance, but that can be exchanged for 2 cups of dry popcorn.
Skip the Workout. Nothing can seem more tedious than having to add something to your busy day. Instead, find creative ways to get in activity. Ride your bike after dinner, walk on your break around your office building, or play Frisbee with your dog. You’re more likely to fit in exercise if it is fun.
Don’t Forget Water. Make sure you’re drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily and when you feel hungry in between meals, try drinking instead. Water can make you feel full. Hunger at the wrong times can also be a sign of dehydration.
Try Sharing Plates. If you go out to eat at a place that has large meals, ask for an extra plate and share a meal. Or, eat your own dinner but share dessert. This can cut calories from eating out dramatically.
Use Smaller Plates. If you use a large dinner plate, you are more likely to fill it full of food. Instead, pull out a smaller sandwich plate. You will be surprised at how little food it takes to fill you up.
Get on Schedule. Keep your mealtimes consistent. If you eat breakfast at 6:30 am. Keep it 6:30 a.m. If you eat dinner at 5:00 p.m. try to keep it the same time every night. This helps keep your metabolism steady and prevents starvation mode that kicks in from eating later.
Get the Whole Family on Board. Plan healthy meals for the whole family. It will be easier for you to stick to your diet and everyone learns a good way of eating. This means less temptation for you too.
Centers For Disease Control. (2015, June 16). Adult Obesity Facts. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
Centers for Disease Control. (2015, September 7). CDC: “Healthy Weight — it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”. Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/
Mayo Clinic. (2014, April 5). Weight Loss Basics. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/basics/weightloss-basics/hlv-20049483
WebMD. (2015, September 7). Supplements for Weight Loss. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/herbal-remedies?page=2
WikiHow. (2015, September 7). How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI). Retrieved from WikiHow: https://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Your-Body-Mass-Index-(BMI)
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