Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. The condition is more than just a cosmetic concern; being overweight increases your risk of disease and health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. After smoking, it is the second leading cause of preventable death.
Obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S. Based on the BMI criteria, one-third of all Americans are obese. This amounts to 58 million Americans who are overweight and that includes 1 in every 5 children. Your body mass index (BMI) is a formula based on your height and weight. If you have a BMI of 30 or higher you are considered obese. Morbid obesity occurs when you have a BMI of 40 or more and this can bring on serious health problems. Here is a simplified way to calculate you body mass index (BMI). Multiply your weight in pounds by 705; divide by your height in inches; divide this number by your height in inches a second time. The resultant figure will be your body mass index (BMI).
Inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep and some medications can contribute to obesity. Certain illnesses such as hypothyroidism can also cause obesity. Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, increased weight will always occur when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat. The only reason for the success of any dietary plan is that it makes you consume fewer calories than what you are expending.
When you’re obese, your overall quality of life may be lower, too. You may not be able to stay involved or to perform normal daily activities as well as you’d like. Participating in family activities happens less and less. You may choose to avoid going out in public where obese persons encounter discrimination. In addition, depression, disability, physical discomfort, sexual problems and embarrassment are familiar conditions for those suffering from obesity.
Some studies show that your social networks influence your weight; you’re more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives. The condition tends to run in families, not only just because it is inherited but because family members tend to have similar eating, lifestyle and activity habits. If one or both of your parents are obese, your risk of being obese is increased.
Weight loss is possible through dietary changes, increased physical activity and exercise, and behavior changes. In some cases, prescription medications or weight-loss surgery may be options. If you want to make changes in your body through positive means, the following suggestions will start you on the right path.
Eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and reduce portion sizes. Always eat breakfast, the most important meal of your day. To lose weight and keep it off you have to adopt healthy eating habits that you can maintain over time.
Keep track of how much you eat and drink each day. You may be surprised at how many calories you consume in one day. A calorie counter is an important method, keeping your plan at the forefront after each meal.
Increase your activity level. Take more walks. Move around in your home more frequently. As your health practitioner to start you on an exercise program, starting gradually and working up to maximum peak. A good weight-loss program should include: exercise; a low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate, high fiber diet; behavior modification; social support; and medications if required.
Set realistic goals. Make small changes in your diet instead of attempting drastic changes that you’re not likely to stick with for the long haul.
It is your life and you want to get as much enjoyment from it as possible; having the right body will open up new doors for you.