Weight Loss

While many of us watch our weight for aesthetic reasons, how heavy you are is also an important health concern. Higher weights can lead to conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease. If you want to avoid these consequences, losing weight can pay off.

It’s critical that before you start any weight loss program or plan you consult your doctor. There’s a lot of incorrect information out there, and only your doctor can help you understand what’s best for you and your unique lifestyle. Together, you can come up with ways to safely monitor your progress.

What’s Your Ideal Weight?

A common and easy way to find out your ideal weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI. This number is an estimation of how much body fat you have, based on the ratio between your height and your weight. There are plenty of calculators out there on the internet, but if you want to do the math yourself, here’s the formula:

If you’ve done the math correctly, you should get a number between 10 and 40. A BMI of 19 or less indicates that you’re underweight for your height. 19-24 is a healthy ratio of body fat. 25-29 means that you’re probably overweight. 30 or higher indicates obesity.

However, a BMI score isn’t always completely accurate. Athletes, older adults, and children need to calculate their BMI differently.

Another method of body fat measurement is the circumference of your waist. Over 40 inches (for men) or 35 inches (for women) indicates a higher risk of developing weight-related conditions.

Unfortunately, your calculations can only be an estimate of your body fat percentage. To find a number that’s truly accurate, you’re going to have to see your doctor.

Dietary Changes

If you decide that you need to lose weight, dietary changes are some of the most effective ways to decrease your body fat.

Basically, when you eat food, your body converts that food into energy (measured in calories). Calories that the body doesn’t use immediately are turned into body fat. It takes 3,500 calories to make one pound of body fat.

Therefore, the fewer calories you eat, the more weight you will lose. However, losing weight faster isn’t always better. Nutritionists recommend reducing your daily caloric intake by about 250, leading to a loss of half a pound per week. Losing more than two pounds per week is unsafe and unsustainable.

Don’t forget that you have to eat a variety of food groups if you’re going to get the nutrients to become your healthiest self!

Some actions you can take are:

While you’re fixing your eating habits, keep in mind that there is no single correct way to eat. We all have different lifestyles, bodies, and needs. You can consult your doctor for more information on what dietary changes you need to make to be your healthiest self.

Exercising for Weight Loss

Exercise is the other main component of weight loss. Physical activity not only increases your strength and endurance but helps you burn more calories—leading to less body fat. Experts recommend getting in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week to maintain your health, but to lose weight you might have to do a more rigorous workout.

Recommendations for activities to burn more calories include:

Medications Your Doctor Might Prescribe

If you weigh 20% more than your ideal weight, your doctor might prescribe to you weight loss medications. These are meant for short-term use—you won’t be given more than a 12-week supply.

Medications used for this purpose include:

Diet pills that you can buy over-the-counter are not recommended. They can have harmful side effects because they’re not required to be regulated by the FDA. They also don’t help you keep weight off once you lose it, meaning that all your hard work will be for nothing.

Surgical Options

Weight loss surgery is usually a last resort option, but it can be very effective. These surgeries work by physically reducing the size of your stomach so your body doesn’t absorb calories as effectively. There are several different kinds of weight loss surgeries, and your doctor can explain your options to you if you’re considering going this route.

One of the most common types, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, involves placing a belt-like band around your stomach. Its tightness can be adjusted by a doctor, and therefore your calorie intake can be controlled.

Other Factors to Consider

Some other reasons you may be overweight include:

Therefore, your weight should always be discussed with a doctor who can ascertain the best course of action for you.


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