Obesity is the most common medical disease affecting about one-third of the population, so knowing how to lose weight and treat this condition is very important to health. It was thought at one time that you could simply focus on reducing calories or increasing exercise, and the pounds would just drop off. New research has shown that it is much more complicated than that.
For example, did you know that sleeping only four hours per night results in your body conserving an extra 400 calories daily? Did you know that skipping breakfast may sabotage any efforts to lose weight? Skipping breakfast lowers your metabolism and causes you to overeat later in the day.
In other words, the old adage, “it’s just calories in and calories out” no longer applies. If these recommendations do not help you lose weight, seek the care of a physician. Obesity treatment by an expert in obesity medicine will be safer, faster, and more likely to be sustained.
So what are some first steps for weight loss?
- Decide how much weight you want to lose and give yourself time to achieve that goal. Aim for one to two pounds per week. You can lose more quickly than that, but faster weight loss may require treatment from an obesity medicine physician (doctors who are experts at weight loss).
- Eat small, frequent meals that contain a serving of lean protein and low-starch vegetables, such as leafy greens. Eat four to five times per day, and reduce or eliminate added carbohydrates from your diet. That will increase your metabolism and reduce the storage of fat. The leanest proteins are white meat chicken or turkey, fish, shellfish, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, or yogurt. Try to avoid added sugars in these foods.
- Cut out sweetened sugary drinks, smoothies, sweetened coffee drinks, and alcohol.
- Tracking your calorie intake will really help you be more accountable and make sure you are following your plan. You can do this with a pad and paper, or use a mobile app, such as MyFitnessPal™ or Lose It™. Keeping a journal will markedly increase your chances of success.
- Weigh yourself weekly to be sure you are making progress. Weighing more often than that will more than likely show changes in body water rather than true fat loss.
- Start some physical activity if you are doing none, and keep doing it if you already are. The exercise will be key to keeping off the pounds you do lose. Each week do a bit more, until you have worked up to 10,000 steps of walking daily or five hours per week of moderate exercise, either weight training or cardio. If you plan to do moderate to vigorous exercise and have risk factors for heart disease (history of smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension) or already have heart disease, check with your physician to see if you need further evaluation.
- Sleep seven to nine hours per day. You’ll burn fat even while you are sleeping.
If you are struggling to lose weight, you are not alone. There are physicians who can help. Find an obesity medicine specialist in your area here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do females gain weight faster than males?
In addition to having less muscle mass and, therefore, a slower starting metabolism, women have another hurdle when it comes to weight loss: hormones. Read more in “Do Men Really Drop Pounds Faster than Women?”