How to Shed Excess Pounds Safely

Obesity rates among U.S. adults have gone up 30 % since the late 1970′s. A staggering 61 % of American adults currently meet the scientific definition of obesity putting them at risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, depression and several forms of cancer. Obesity is defined as being greater than 25-30 pounds over one’s healthy weight. Most people who are obese are not happy about it and would like to change to a normal weight. Meanwhile, just one-third of U.S. adults meet experts’ recommendations for at least thirty minutes of exercise five days per week. This is probably the most sedentary generation of people in the history of the world. These statistics are similar for Canadian citizens.

Now that the holidays are over, many have promised themselves to begin a New Year weight loss program. If you are one of them, here are a few tips.

  1. Prepare a mental plan of action. Your degree of success if proportionate to your degree of motivation. Small goals are more attainable than large ones. Begin by focussing on 5 pounds of weight loss not 50. Get into the right “head space” and stick with your plan.
  2. You do not get something for nothing. Effort, motivation, and compliance are mandatory prerequisites.
  3. Exercise is a must in order to help burn calories already stored in the fat tissue. This can be as simple as walking daily, treadmill, stationary bike or swimming, to more difficult activities such as aerobics, weight training and running. Pick an exercise that you like and can see yourself doing regularly. Be careful at the start so as not to hurt yourself and then be “laid up” for weeks. If need be, seek the advice of a personal trainer. Activities such as cleaning the house, work, golf, bingo and shopping don’t count for much. These movements are not adequate to burn calories in large amounts.
  4. Eating habits must be consistent with a health, whole-food diet. Although there is a bazillion diet plans on the market, each has strengths and weaknesses. What is in vogue today is gone tomorrow. Reducing refined grains and sugars, incorporating adequate amounts of protein and drinking plenty of water are mandatory measures. Starvation diets and yo-yo diets are counterproductive and often cause more weight gain in the long run. Junk food, processed food and alcohol in excess are not appropriate for the obese person. Vegetables, fruit, high-fibre whole grains and protein are a must.
  5. Some people do have slow or low metabolic rates. The thyroid gland and pancreas often are the culprits. This area is best approached with the help of a nutritionally minded physician. Various herbs, supplements, and drugs do exist that can safely support one’s metabolic function. Certain underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, and insomnia may interfere with the various weight loss medicines and must be used carefully.
  6. An average person should be able to lose 1-2 pounds weekly. There will be times of plateau and loss cycles. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. You can see that it takes some effort to effectively lower one’s weight. Just remember, the benefit is yours.


Copyright © 2003 by Dr. Garrett G. Swetlikoff

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