Why is weight loss important?
Maintenance of a healthy body weight is important for maintaining both physical and emotional well-being and preventing disease. Excess weight and obesity have been associated with an increased risk for numerous medical conditions, including
- heart disease,
- high blood pressure,
- some types of cancers,
- sleep apnea,
- elevated blood cholesterol levels.
It should be noted that reduction in weight for those who are overweight can make a major impact on the conditions listed above. Many overweight people also report improved mood, increased in self-esteem and motivation, and feeling healthier in general after they have lost weight.
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7 tips for successful weight loss
- The desire to lose weight must come from the individual. If you're truly ambivalent about making changes in your lifestyle or are doing this to please someone else, you're likely to fail. When making changes, decide what's right for your lifestyle. Your best friend's diet and exercise plan may be completely wrong for your habits and interests. The key is to find a system that works for you.
- Don't blame yourself if you aren't perfect. If you once fail at your attempt to curtail your overeating, it doesn't mean you are a failure at weight control and that you should just give up. Accept that you made a poor choice, but don't let that poor choice influence the rest of your plan. The same holds true with exercise. Skipping a few workouts doesn't mean you can't get back on track. Weight control does not involve making perfect choices all the time; rather it's about attempting to make good choices more often than poor ones.
- Avoid surroundings where you know you're tempted to make poor food choices. Everyone has a time when we're most likely to overeat, whether it's the morning coffee break or after-work gathering with friends. Try to plan other activities or distractions for those times, or plan in advance how you're going to handle them and stick to it.
- Surround yourself with people who support your efforts. Even our good friends can knowingly or unknowingly sabotage weight-loss attempts. Spend time with those people who will not pressure you to make poor food choices.
- Decide on some nonfood rewards for yourself when you reach interim goals. For examples, at the end of the first week of healthy eating or after the first 5 pounds lost, buy yourself a new DVD, app, or book.
- Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. Get rid of the high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks like chips and candy. But don't forget to have plenty of healthier options available as well, such as popcorn (hold the butter, try Parmesan cheese sprinkles), low-fat cheese and yogurt, fruit, instant cocoa without added sugar, sugar-free popsicles or puddings, or whatever appeals to you when you're hungry for a snack.
- Set small goals and focus on these rather than the "big picture." Decide where you want to be in a week or in a month, rather than focusing on the total amount of weight you'd like to lose.
Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery
"Obesity in adults: Overview of management"
"Obesity in adults: Dietary therapy"
"Obesity in adults: Role of physical activity and exercise"