January 12, 2018

Being overweight or obese is hard on your physical and mental health, and it’s more common than you might think. More than one in three adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are obese.

Being overweight means you have extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat and/or water. Obesity is a condition in which an individual has a high amount of excess body fat. Your doctor may use a measure called Body Mass Index, or BMI, to determine whether you’re overweight. This measure uses your height, weight and sex to calculate a score that indicates whether you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

We know controlling your weight isn’t an easy task. These seven tips are examples of simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.

Set goals

Setting goals is the best first step in managing your weight. You need goals that focus on nutrition, physical activity and short-term and long-term weight loss. Make sure your goals are specific, doable, measurable and forgiving.

Eat right

To lose weight, you must reduce calories in your food and drink choices. Portion control is crucial. To lose weight, you must decrease the number of calories you eat and increase the number of calories you burn.

Increase physical activity

You don’t have to run a marathon to lose weight or be healthy, but you must increase your level of activity. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you might need about five hours of exercise a week. Don’t become overwhelmed by that number. Break up your exercise into manageable sessions of 30 minutes, two times each day, five days a week.

Keep a food and activity diary

Keep a record of the food you eat. Making notes of your input and output helps track behavioral eating, which might occur when you’re bored, sad or even happy.

Every time you exercise, write that down too. You’ll start to see a relationship between healthy eating, increased activity and weight loss. A diary is also a great tool to take to your doctor appointments.

Eat a high-protein breakfast

Research has shown that eating high-protein foods decreases cravings and calorie intake throughout the day.

Increase water intake

Drinking water 30 minutes before meals may increase your weight loss by as much as 44 percent over three months.

Weigh yourself daily

Although it doesn’t sound like much fun, weighing yourself helps you know how close you are to reaching your goals. It also allows you and your doctor to gauge how much activity you need each day to maintain your progress.

Being healthy is a big deal, and maintaining a healthy weight is a big part of keeping your body in good condition. If you’re ready to create a weight loss plan, talk your primary care doctor today.

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