How Will Weight Loss Affect My Health?

Just a little more exercise and less food can make you fitter

Being overweight or obese has serious health risks. It can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, some kinds of cancer and more. Though it is ideal to reach the best weight for your height and body type, losing even a little bit of weight can significantly improve your health. Healthy weight loss should include a blend of diet and exercise.

Healthy weight loss

The key to healthy weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this by following a healthy eating plan and increasing your activity level. Though there are many programs aimed at helping you lose weight, researchers at the National Institutes of Health claim that the only proven long-term and safe method is to reduce your caloric intake and increase your energy expenditure. As the saying goes, eat less and exercise more.

How much weight loss is healthy per week?

Though you’ve probably seen the TV or magazine ads featuring weight loss products that promise rapid weight loss of 10 or more pounds per week, that kind of drastic weight loss is unhealthy and the results often don’t last. The amount of weight loss that is considered healthy is different for each individual. However, slow and steady weight loss of one to two pounds per week is recommended and considered healthy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, one pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. So, to lose one pound a week, you should consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week, or 500 calories per day. To lose two pounds per week, you would need to consume 1,000 fewer calories per day.

If that sounds unattainable, keep in mind that your activity level also significantly impacts weight loss. The deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can come from a combination of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake on a daily basis.

Health, wellness, weight loss and you

Weight loss should only be a part of your overall health and wellness goals. Eating better and increasing your daily activity level also improve your long-term health and wellness, in addition to helping you lose weight.

The National Institutes of Health recommend avoiding foods that are high in sugar and fat, as well as reducing your alcohol intake, to encourage and maintain your weight loss. To improve your overall health and wellness, the same researchers say you should avoid stress, frustration and boredom, and avoid a sedentary lifestyle by increasing your activity level. Even simple things like walking instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can benefit your health, increase your weight loss and improve your overall wellness and well-being.

Weight loss and your health

If you’re even slightly overweight, you can improve your health by losing weight. Researchers at the Lilly Research Laboratories and Eli Lilly and Company found that even a small amount of weight loss appears to be beneficial for your health. This is even truer in obese patients. These same researchers found that modest weight loss (10 percent) in obese patients appeared to improve glycemic control, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recommend slow weight loss of one or two pounds per week, until you reach your desired body weight, to improve your overall health. They also encourage gradual changes in your eating habits to lead to a healthier and permanent lifestyle change.

If you need help with your weight loss goals, a registered dietician can provide an individualized health and weight loss plan. Support groups like Weight Watchers are also beneficial learning tools and sources of encouragement.

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