Weight problems and obesity have become one of the chief health concerns in the Western world today. It is estimated that over 60 million people in the United States alone are overweight while it is increasingly becoming a world-wide problem. However, for many people this can be prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes. In this article we look at how to lose weight the healthy way.
It is possible to gain weight while remaining healthy if you are physically fit and exercise on a regular basis, thus increasing lean body mass. However, unhealthy weight gain happens when people gain weight as a result of putting on too much storage fat. We all need a certain amount of body fat as it serves as a reserve source of energy, provides insulation for the body and protects organs. However, putting on too much body fat can quickly lead to obesity.
There are a number of reasons why people become over weight and some cases it is not preventable. It may be a inherited genetically and can be linked the body’s metabolism in which case it can be difficult to prevent. However, in the majority of cases it is due to factors like overeating, lack of exercise, too much alcohol or stopping smoking. In these cases, a few lifestyle changes can make all the difference.
So, the first thing to do if you are concerned about your weight is to look out for the tell-tale signs of being overweight. These may include:
* irregular heartbeat
* shortness of breath when exercising
* difficulty in walking and moving around
* painful back and knees
* depression or other emotional problems
* swelling of the feet or legs
* osteoarthritis in some joints
* increased blood pressure
* coronary heart disease
* increased cholesterol levels
While it is not foolproof, calculating your body mass index (BMI) should also give you a good idea of whether you are overweight or not. You can ask your physician to check your BMI or there are countless BMI calculators available online that will help you.
If you are overweight or obese it is time to do something about it. There is always the temptation to embark on a crash diet to help you shed those pounds. Certainly, these can be effective in the short-term but they are not healthy. Also, these diets do not lay the foundations needed to maintain a healthy weight. Too often, once people finish a crash diet and reach their desired weight, they fall back into old habits and they quickly gain any weight that was lost.
The key to losing weight the healthy way is a good diet and regular exercise. For many people this involves making some lifestyle changes and breaking some old habits, so it will take some effort. But it can be done. Once you get over some initial hurdles you will feel healthier, happier and more confident.
Initially, at least, you should seek some help and support. Enlisting the help of a dietician and a fitness trainer at the beginning will set you off on the right path. Not only will they tell you what to eat and what kinds of exercises are best, they will also give you encouragement and support through those tough first few weeks. Once you get into the swing of things you should be fine on your own.
It is obvious that a big factor in how much you weigh is what you eat. So, with a dietician or on your own look at how much and what kinds of food you eat every day. Most likely this will have to change, maybe even drastically.
You need to aim for a healthy, balanced diet that you can also enjoy. Take a look at the food pyramid to see what you need to eat each day to stay healthy and slim. If you do not have a dietician you will find plenty of meal plans on the internet to meet your needs. And do not despair, healthy food does not have to be bland and tasteless. Buy a few recipe books and find some meals that you enjoy to cook.
Inevitably there will be some temptation to fall back into old habits but it is essential that you resist this. Try to eliminate sugary and fatty junk foods from your diet altogether.
A healthy diet should help you lose weight, but this needs to be combined with exercise to be really effective. There are many benefits to regular exercise. Not only will you lose weight, it also combats a number of health difficulties and will help your body to burn off toxins.
Daily exercise is a habit you should develop over time, and as time goes on you will enjoy it more and more. However, you should start slowly. A thirty-minute walk every day is a good place to start. As you get fitter, you will find yourself able to cover greater distances at greater speeds.
There are so many different forms of exercise that it should be easy to find something you enjoy, whether that is swimming, tennis, martial arts or whatever. If you can spend at least one hour exercising every day you will soon find yourself shedding those pounds.