Obesity is one of the top health problems facing Americans today. More than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese and carrying around this extra weight contributes to more than 300,000 deaths every year.
According to statistics from the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese people is still rising, despite the fact that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. A report from the Institute of Medicine states that Americans spend more than $33 million annually on weight-reduction products.
Important Body Fat Facts
- The definition of obesity is having greater than 25-percent body fat for men and more than 30-percent for women.
- An unhealthy weight or obesity can increase your risk of developing fatal diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Research from the American Dietetic Association shows that a 5- to 10-percent decrease in body weight can significantly reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Successful weight loss is more likely when you have the support of a team of health care providers including physicians, dieticians, and even therapists.
To lose weight and keep it off for a lifetime, you must first find a weight loss program that suits your needs and can guide you through the necessary lifestyle changes. The cornerstones of a good program include a personalized diet and exercise regimen that address any pre-existing conditions you may have, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The best programs also offer you a support system, such as a chatroom or a weight loss buddy, to help you stay motivated and stick to your lifestyle changes once you have lost the weight.
Unfortunately, many popular diets are designed for quick results and do not provide you with the tools to keep the weight off long-term. The key to successful long-term weight loss is to focus less on “dieting,” which tends to be a short-term fix, and more on lifestyle changes, primarily healthy eating, and regular exercise. Your goal should be to make health, not appearance, your priority, meaning your weight loss lifestyle changes must include both diet and exercise.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Weight Loss
- Make a list. Before you go to the market, plan your weekly meals and create an accompanying grocery list.
- Stick to water. Skip high-calorie beverages, such as soda, fruit smoothies, and fancy coffee drinks. There are approximately nine packages of sugar and close to 150 calories in one 12-oz can of soda or juice. Smoothies and coffee drinks are often 250 -500 calories, excluding the whipped cream. Instead, choose low- or no-calorie drinks, such as green tea or fruit-infused water.
- Fill up on fiber. Fill up on fiber from fruits and vegetables rather than high-calorie items that leave you wanting more.
- Monitor the dressing. At home, dilute commercial salad dressing with a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. At the restaurant, order your dressing on the side or ask for oil and vinegar.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages. One glass of wine is about 100 calories. In addition, wine can lower your blood sugar and make you hungry.
- Get portions right. When you eat, first fill half of your plate with steamed or raw vegetables, then fill the other half with equal parts of protein and starch, that aren’t high in fat.
- Walk more. Park in a spot further from the store to add more walking to your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Get outside. Get outside with your dog or family when the weather is nice. Walk in the park, go for a bike ride or visit your local swimming pool.
- Grow a garden. Grow your own fresh vegetables and burn calories while you’re gardening.