Weight Loss Wisdom
There is no shortage of weight loss advice, and certainly an abundance of products out there promising to get rid of your excess weight. Typically, each year ads a few lingering reminders for most Americans. Between summer and vacation indulgences, followed by a triple-combination of Halloween candy, and a solid festive season of Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies, washed down with festive New Year’s celebrations, you have the recipe for a healthy treat left delectably around the mid-section.
The official confirmation is that 61% of adult Americans -- roughly two in three -- are overweight and growing, and over 31% are blatantly obese. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s statistics that is the same ‘figure’ as last year, and higher than 10 years ago.
But, it’s never too late to change and start fresh. If one of your resolutions is to lose weight, the best way to do it is slow and steady. Perhaps the only real magic bullet in terms of weight loss is a modest caloric decrease offset by increased activity.
Consider these statistics:
- Overweight people have double the risk of high blood pressure compared to those of normal weight.
- They also have two to three times the risk of a heart attack, double the risk of stroke and up to four times the risk of diabetes.
- They have two to three times the risk of developing gallstones, double the risk of getting colon cancer and at least double the risk of developing arthritis in their knees.
- Overall, people who are overweight have a 50 percent to 100 percent higher risk of death from all causes than those who are of normal weight.
- Overweight people report having less satisfying sex lives.
Losing even one pound a year, over several years, can dramatically improve your health. For example, one study found that people who lost a pound a year for eight years cut their risk of diabetes by between 37% and 62%.
To lose a pound a year, all you need to do is cut out 10 calories a day -- less than the amount in a couple of potato chips! But don’t forget the exercise component. Dieting alone isn’t the only factor necessary to achieve better overall health. Exercise along with dietary improvements are the best way to lose weight. Perhaps you could start by walking, a simple activity everyone can do that requires no equipment. The Surgeon General recommends that every American get 150 minutes of moderate exercise -- such as walking -- each week. You don’t have to be a marathoner to be in good shape.
And if you are feeling a little bit saucy, combine walking and weightlifting; you will do even better. By replacing fat with muscle, you burn more calories. A recent study found that women who lifted weights for 40 minutes continued to burn an extra 155 calories in the two hours after they stopped exercising. Men burn even more.
It’s time to leave the waist-land. Begin with adopting a new attitude towards eating and exercise. Be specific. Forget far reaching promises that won’t last a week. Determine to slowly implement food choices for the better. (I.E. – No soda for two weeks. No french fries or chips, cut out white flour…) Controlling portions and easing into regular physical activity makes it easier to be successful. When you can exercise for thirty to sixty minutes each time, increase the number of days. Get stronger every day.