It's Time to Lose That Extra Weight

Reviewed Dec 31, 2016

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Summary

Whatever plan you choose:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Start slow.
  • Get the support you need to keep on track.

If it looks like half the people around you are on a diet, they probably are. Dieting has become a national pastime in recent years. With more than a third of the population overweight, that should be no surprise.

And, if you ask around, you probably will find those people losing weight by many different means, including a variety of popular or medically prescribed diets, exercise programs, hypnosis, and even surgery or medication.

How do you know what is best for you?

Since being overweight and obesity are unhealthy conditions, the best place to start is with your doctor. Ask her for advice. She will know your medical history, your chronic health conditions, and the medicines you take. A doctor is the best person to guide you when you are ready to make the decision to do something about your weight.

Weight loss, step by step

Your first step will be to set a weight and activity goal. Make it one that is possible to reach.

You probably notice that your weight fluctuates during the week and from season to season. It may go up and down as much as 10 percent to 20 percent. Most doctors will tell you to try to lose just 10 percent of your weight over six months to a year, by cutting calories and increasing activity.

When you lose weight slowly, you give your body a chance to adjust. Don’t push it too hard, or you run the risk of gaining it all back in a hurry. Even a 10 percent weight loss will help lower your blood sugar level, your blood pressure, and other health markers.

Your next step will be to find ways to stay at the lower weight level.

Set some lifestyle goals for yourself, to:

  • Find out what you need to know about portions and healthy foods.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
  • Eat meals at a regular time and reduce or give up snacking.
  • Watch how much you eat at meals.
  • Focus on how good healthy food tastes instead of numbers on a scale.

“The issue is to make positive changes but not be a perfectionist about it,” says Marsha Marcus, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and psychology who specializes in eating disorders, obesity and women’s health. “Start now. Let you goal be to shape your behavior, eat more whole foods, fewer processed foods, control portions, and start some physical activity, like walking. You can do it in 10-minute bouts, if you need to, but just do it. Pick what works for you and don’t try to change your entire life overnight.”

What if I can’t take off enough weight by myself? 

Find a mentor to help you, either a therapist, nutritionist, support group, or weight-loss program that fits your schedule and your pocketbook. This is a good way to start.

Many people are helped by behavioral therapy or support groups, especially if they do not have too many pounds to lose.

If you need to lose more than 50 pounds, you might need to choose a drastic measure, such as surgery and medication. These are last choices, not first. But, if your extra weight threatens your health, you might need to consider one of several types of surgery to physically limit the amount of food you can eat.

Weight-loss surgery is major surgery, with major risks and life-changing consequences. You can expect a long, slow recovery. Most importantly, you will need to make a commitment to build new eating and exercise habits as part of a new and healthier lifestyle. Binge-eating, binge-drinking, and other unhealthy habits will have to stop.   

You could be a candidate for weight loss surgery if you:

  • Have a BMI over 40
  • Have diabetes or other chronic health conditions
  • Have tried diets and exercise, but failed to lose weight or keep it off
  • Are ready to change your lifestyle, completely and forever
  • Are willing to take the risks that go with such surgery

After surgery, you will go on a program that includes medical monitoring, counseling, vitamins, an exercise program, and a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. You also may need more surgery. If you fail to follow every step of this program, you could get very sick or even die.

Diet pills are another choice, but most have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe or found to be effective. Many are not safe, especially if you have diabetes, a heart condition, or other problems.

If your doctor prescribes diet pills, follow the instructions to the letter. And, never take over-the-counter medications for weight loss. You may be risking your life.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/obesity

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

NEDA Helpline
800-931-2237

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by TN Hanh and L. Cheung. HarperCollins. 2010.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Whatever plan you choose:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Start slow.
  • Get the support you need to keep on track.

If it looks like half the people around you are on a diet, they probably are. Dieting has become a national pastime in recent years. With more than a third of the population overweight, that should be no surprise.

And, if you ask around, you probably will find those people losing weight by many different means, including a variety of popular or medically prescribed diets, exercise programs, hypnosis, and even surgery or medication.

How do you know what is best for you?

Since being overweight and obesity are unhealthy conditions, the best place to start is with your doctor. Ask her for advice. She will know your medical history, your chronic health conditions, and the medicines you take. A doctor is the best person to guide you when you are ready to make the decision to do something about your weight.

Weight loss, step by step

Your first step will be to set a weight and activity goal. Make it one that is possible to reach.

You probably notice that your weight fluctuates during the week and from season to season. It may go up and down as much as 10 percent to 20 percent. Most doctors will tell you to try to lose just 10 percent of your weight over six months to a year, by cutting calories and increasing activity.

When you lose weight slowly, you give your body a chance to adjust. Don’t push it too hard, or you run the risk of gaining it all back in a hurry. Even a 10 percent weight loss will help lower your blood sugar level, your blood pressure, and other health markers.

Your next step will be to find ways to stay at the lower weight level.

Set some lifestyle goals for yourself, to:

  • Find out what you need to know about portions and healthy foods.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
  • Eat meals at a regular time and reduce or give up snacking.
  • Watch how much you eat at meals.
  • Focus on how good healthy food tastes instead of numbers on a scale.

“The issue is to make positive changes but not be a perfectionist about it,” says Marsha Marcus, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and psychology who specializes in eating disorders, obesity and women’s health. “Start now. Let you goal be to shape your behavior, eat more whole foods, fewer processed foods, control portions, and start some physical activity, like walking. You can do it in 10-minute bouts, if you need to, but just do it. Pick what works for you and don’t try to change your entire life overnight.”

What if I can’t take off enough weight by myself? 

Find a mentor to help you, either a therapist, nutritionist, support group, or weight-loss program that fits your schedule and your pocketbook. This is a good way to start.

Many people are helped by behavioral therapy or support groups, especially if they do not have too many pounds to lose.

If you need to lose more than 50 pounds, you might need to choose a drastic measure, such as surgery and medication. These are last choices, not first. But, if your extra weight threatens your health, you might need to consider one of several types of surgery to physically limit the amount of food you can eat.

Weight-loss surgery is major surgery, with major risks and life-changing consequences. You can expect a long, slow recovery. Most importantly, you will need to make a commitment to build new eating and exercise habits as part of a new and healthier lifestyle. Binge-eating, binge-drinking, and other unhealthy habits will have to stop.   

You could be a candidate for weight loss surgery if you:

  • Have a BMI over 40
  • Have diabetes or other chronic health conditions
  • Have tried diets and exercise, but failed to lose weight or keep it off
  • Are ready to change your lifestyle, completely and forever
  • Are willing to take the risks that go with such surgery

After surgery, you will go on a program that includes medical monitoring, counseling, vitamins, an exercise program, and a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. You also may need more surgery. If you fail to follow every step of this program, you could get very sick or even die.

Diet pills are another choice, but most have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe or found to be effective. Many are not safe, especially if you have diabetes, a heart condition, or other problems.

If your doctor prescribes diet pills, follow the instructions to the letter. And, never take over-the-counter medications for weight loss. You may be risking your life.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/obesity

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

NEDA Helpline
800-931-2237

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by TN Hanh and L. Cheung. HarperCollins. 2010.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Whatever plan you choose:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Start slow.
  • Get the support you need to keep on track.

If it looks like half the people around you are on a diet, they probably are. Dieting has become a national pastime in recent years. With more than a third of the population overweight, that should be no surprise.

And, if you ask around, you probably will find those people losing weight by many different means, including a variety of popular or medically prescribed diets, exercise programs, hypnosis, and even surgery or medication.

How do you know what is best for you?

Since being overweight and obesity are unhealthy conditions, the best place to start is with your doctor. Ask her for advice. She will know your medical history, your chronic health conditions, and the medicines you take. A doctor is the best person to guide you when you are ready to make the decision to do something about your weight.

Weight loss, step by step

Your first step will be to set a weight and activity goal. Make it one that is possible to reach.

You probably notice that your weight fluctuates during the week and from season to season. It may go up and down as much as 10 percent to 20 percent. Most doctors will tell you to try to lose just 10 percent of your weight over six months to a year, by cutting calories and increasing activity.

When you lose weight slowly, you give your body a chance to adjust. Don’t push it too hard, or you run the risk of gaining it all back in a hurry. Even a 10 percent weight loss will help lower your blood sugar level, your blood pressure, and other health markers.

Your next step will be to find ways to stay at the lower weight level.

Set some lifestyle goals for yourself, to:

  • Find out what you need to know about portions and healthy foods.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
  • Eat meals at a regular time and reduce or give up snacking.
  • Watch how much you eat at meals.
  • Focus on how good healthy food tastes instead of numbers on a scale.

“The issue is to make positive changes but not be a perfectionist about it,” says Marsha Marcus, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and psychology who specializes in eating disorders, obesity and women’s health. “Start now. Let you goal be to shape your behavior, eat more whole foods, fewer processed foods, control portions, and start some physical activity, like walking. You can do it in 10-minute bouts, if you need to, but just do it. Pick what works for you and don’t try to change your entire life overnight.”

What if I can’t take off enough weight by myself? 

Find a mentor to help you, either a therapist, nutritionist, support group, or weight-loss program that fits your schedule and your pocketbook. This is a good way to start.

Many people are helped by behavioral therapy or support groups, especially if they do not have too many pounds to lose.

If you need to lose more than 50 pounds, you might need to choose a drastic measure, such as surgery and medication. These are last choices, not first. But, if your extra weight threatens your health, you might need to consider one of several types of surgery to physically limit the amount of food you can eat.

Weight-loss surgery is major surgery, with major risks and life-changing consequences. You can expect a long, slow recovery. Most importantly, you will need to make a commitment to build new eating and exercise habits as part of a new and healthier lifestyle. Binge-eating, binge-drinking, and other unhealthy habits will have to stop.   

You could be a candidate for weight loss surgery if you:

  • Have a BMI over 40
  • Have diabetes or other chronic health conditions
  • Have tried diets and exercise, but failed to lose weight or keep it off
  • Are ready to change your lifestyle, completely and forever
  • Are willing to take the risks that go with such surgery

After surgery, you will go on a program that includes medical monitoring, counseling, vitamins, an exercise program, and a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. You also may need more surgery. If you fail to follow every step of this program, you could get very sick or even die.

Diet pills are another choice, but most have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe or found to be effective. Many are not safe, especially if you have diabetes, a heart condition, or other problems.

If your doctor prescribes diet pills, follow the instructions to the letter. And, never take over-the-counter medications for weight loss. You may be risking your life.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/obesity

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

NEDA Helpline
800-931-2237

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by TN Hanh and L. Cheung. HarperCollins. 2010.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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