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What is Obesity? Obesity is a chronic condition affecting 1 in every 3 Americans according to the American Obesity Association. It is defined as women over 30% body fat and men over 25% body fat.


Risk factors of obesity
– include insulin resistance, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, cancer, gallstones, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea.

A person’s weight is determined by the balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure. If a person eats more calories than he/she burns, the excess is stored as fat. If a person eats fewer calories than he/she burns, he/she will lose weight.aweigh2

  • People are more likely to be overweight if one or both parents are obese.
  • Overeating, particularly foods high in fat, contributes to weight gain.
  • Small frequent meals actually will cause a person to consume fewer calories than a person who has 2 or 3 larger meals.
  • Slow metabolism can also cause weight gain. Muscle burns more calories than other tissue and as we age and lose muscle mass, we will gain weight unless we reduce our calorie intake.
  • Less active people burn fewer calories than people who are physically active.
  • Some medications can cause weight gain including antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, certain hormones, high blood pressure medications and some antihistamines.
  • Certain disease states such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovaries and Cushing’s syndrome can cause weight gain.

BMI (Body Mass Index) – measures a person’s height in meter’s squared and weight in kilograms. This is the most commonly used method of measuring a person’s weight.
(BMI=Kg/m2)

Obesity is NOT a short term illness so the treatment for obesity cannot be short term. Instead of trying to achieve the “Ideal” body weight, we need to focus on achieving a “Healthier” body weight.

Even a modest weight loss of 5-10% that is maintained has long term gains that includes lowering blood pressure, reduced blood cholesterol, reduced risk of Type II diabetes, decreased chance of stroke, decreased complications of heart disease and decreased overall mortality.

Exercise and weight loss

  • Physical activity helps burn calories.
  • Exercise helps build lean body mass which increases metabolism
  • lowers blood sugars and decreases insulin resistance
  • Lowers blood pressures
  • Causes a reduction in abdominal fat

Start slowly and progress gradually to avoid injury, excessive soreness or fatigue.

Frequency of exercise should be 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise 5-7 times a week

Consult a doctor before beginning vigorous exercise.

Treatment of Obesity

  1. Decide you are ready to lose weight.
  2. Establish a realistic weight loss goal
    Start with a short-term goal such as 10-15% of body weight
    Set a longer-term goal which is closer to your ideal body weight
  3. One pound = 3,500 calories. You have to burn 3,500 calories more than what you take in to lose one pound.
  4. Set an exercise goal and make a plan as to how you are going to get there. For example, walking 20 minutes a day 5 days a week is more reasonable than joining a gym if you do not have one close to your home or work, or if you are financially unable to join.

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Now Begin

Eat more nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, grains and beens. These foods satisfy hunger, meet nutritious needs for your body and do all of this without taking in too many calories.

Avoid energy dense foods such as simple sugars, red meats, sweets, butter, fats from high fat salad dressings, soft drinks and high calorie snack foods.

Meal substitutes are often low in fat and calories and a good way to get a healthy meal while reducing calorie and fat consumption.

Final thought – Find a buddy. It is much easier to lose weight, eat healthy and to exercise when you have support of a family member of friend. They will help keep you motivated, help you stay focused and can keep you focused on the goal of living a healthier life. Don’t forget, we don’t gain weight overnight and are not going to lose it overnight. Be patient! Take one step at a time and you will get there- given time.

Life Changing Weight loss

In reviewing all of the different weight loss programs on the market today, there are advantages and disadvantages to each one. Almost every commercial weight loss program can work- if you work it. The problem is that there is often a lack of motivation, and, often times we know what to do but have a difficult time doing it.

How to choose a diet right for me?

  1. The plan should be safe. It should include all the food groups and provide for a well-balanced change in eating pattern that you can follow long term.
  2. The weight loss program should be easy to follow and should help you lose between 1-2 pounds per week.* We often lose large amounts of weight in the first week or two of a plan but it is largely fluid and is not a permanent weight loss.
  3. It should not eliminate any groups of foods. In choosing a plan, when we try to avoid a complete food group, it is hard to follow long term and encourages us to “cheat”. So many times, we fail on the short run and then give up on the plan completely.
  4. The plan should have a way to maintain the weight loss. So many times, people lose large amounts of weight but have made unrealistic long term changes in their diet and then are unable to maintain the changes.

Review of the benefits/advantages of some of the commercial diet plans available.

Low Carbohydrate diets -Low carbohydrate, high protein diets allow for unrestricted amounts meats and some vegetables but restricts carbohydrates, sugars, breads, pasta, milk, fruits and some vegetables. The advantage is that by following these plans, it controls the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas causing your body to burn fat for energy which will lead to weight loss. The problem is that these diets restrict the consumption of carbohydrates and other high-fiber foods. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need on a regular basis. In addition, there is very limited variety and difficult to follow.

The Pritikin Diet – this is a low-fat, high carbohydrate eating plan. The focus of this plan is to consume large amounts of vegetables and other high-fiber foods while limiting total calorie intake. The plan also encourages people to eat 6-7 times a day to avoid hunger and cause weight loss. The disadvantage of this plan is that it limits the intake of fat soluble vitamins which are needed for normal cell function.

Sugar Busters – This diet plan teaches that sugars are “toxic” to the body and eliminates refined sugars completely. By restricting refined sugars, it forces the body to convert fat into energy because glucose is not readily available. The body will store less fat and weight loss will occur. The disadvantage is that sugars are not toxic and therefore, this is a misleading teaching. In addition, this plan is difficult to follow long term so the weight will tend to return.

The Zone Diet – this plan is much less restrictive than others and recommends that 40% of daily calories be from carbohydrates, 30% from proteins and 30% from fats. This plan is designed so that when you are in the “Zone” of 40-30-30, you will have maximum energy and weight loss. The disadvantage is that there is limited research to support its effectiveness and tracking calories and their breakdown can be time consuming and confusing for many. It is, however, more balanced than other plans.

Keys to life Changing Weight Loss

  1. Successful weight loss is about burning more calories than you eat.
  2. Avoid Alcohol- Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram which makes it almost twice as fattening as carbohydrates or proteins which only contain 4 grams each. So, for people trying to lose weight, alcohol is not a good choice.
  3. Eat a variety of foods. Choose foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. For example, one cup of roasted chicken breast = 231 calories. While, one soft taco from Taco Bell is 210 calories and one Snickers Bar is 266 calories. The chicken is more filling, more nutritious and a much better choice. It also leaves plenty of room for a cup of green beans at 44 calories and an apple for another 65. By eating the chicken, green beans and apple, you have saved 136 calories, and have given yourself a much more balanced meal and will have satisfied your hunger for several hours.
  4. Decide how many calories you need to limit yourself to in order lose weight.
    Remember 1 pound = 3,500 calories.

    • Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs in order to function properly.
    • The next thing is to look at your activity level. We all burn calories at different rates and even a sedentary lifestyle can burn up to 400 calories per day. Depending on your level of activity, you can increase the number of calories you burn every day.
  5. Plan your meals by waiting to get hungry to decide what to eat, we tend to grab whatever is close and easy. This puts us at risk of driving through a fast food place or going for a high calorie snack to “hold us over”. These options tend to be high in calorie and low in nutrition. Plan ahead. Have some healthy snacks with you at your place of work and at home.
    1. 1 cup of seedless grapes are about 110 calories
    2. An ounce of dry roasted peanuts is about 165 calories.
    3. A tbsp. of peanut butter is about 94 calories.

Know what your body needs, know how active you need to be, plan ahead and start of your steps toward life changing, permanent weight loss.