Weight Management

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideDiet and Weight Loss: Surprising Sources of Hidden Sugar

Diet and Weight Loss: Surprising Sources of Hidden Sugar

How should people evaluate their weight?

  1. Weigh oneself and have one's height measured. Find one's BMI category. The higher the BMI category, the greater the risk for health problems.
  2. Measure around the waist while standing, just about the hip bones. If it is greater than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men, there is probably excess abdominal fat. This excess fat may place one at greater risk of health problems, even if the BMI is about right.

Learn about other risk factors

The more of these risk factors someone has, the more he or she is likely to benefit from weight loss if overweight or obese.

  1. Is there a personal or family history of heart disease?
  2. Is the individual a male older than 45 years or a postmenopausal female?
  3. Does the person smoke cigarettes?
  4. Does that individual have a sedentary lifestyle?
  5. Has a doctor told the person that he or she has high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids (high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides), or diabetes?

Managing weight

Genes affect one's tendency to gain weight. A tendency to gain weight is increased when food is plentiful and when using equipment and vehicles to save time and energy. Plentiful food and labor-saving devices can make it very difficult to avoid weight gain, but it is possible to manage one's weight through food and physical activity choices.

What works for weight management?

While a number of diet plans may work for taking off extra weight, these plans will only be successful if long-term changes are made to one's eating habits. Therefore, rather than following a restrictive diet that will be impossible or difficult to maintain forever, it is better to revise one's eating habits so that it's possible to not only lose weight but also maintain a healthy weight. To make it easier to manage one's weight, it's important to make long-term changes in eating behavior and physical activity. Here are some tips to accomplish this:

  • Build a healthy base and make sensible choices.
  • Choose a healthful assortment of food that include vegetables, fruits, grains (especially whole grains), skim milk, and fish, lean meat, poultry, or beans.
  • Choose foods that are low in fat and added sugars most of the time.
  • Eating mainly vegetables, fruits, and grains helps one feel full, achieve good health, and manage one's weight.
  • Whatever the food, eat a sensible portion size.
  • Try to be more active throughout the day.
  • To maintain a healthy weight after weight loss, it helps for adults to do at least 45 minutes of moderate physical activity daily (at least 60 minutes daily for children).
  • Over time, even a small decrease in calories eaten and a small increase in physical activity can prevent weight gain or help with weight loss.
  • Don't give up after making a poor dietary choice and allow this to destroy a healthy eating plan. Accept the mistake and continue to make good choices as often as possible.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2014

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