About 70% of American adults are overweight, and more than one-third are obese.
This means higher risk for many serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can improve your health, so every step in the right direction counts!
When your weight is in a healthy range:
- Your body more efficiently circulates blood.
- Your fluid levels are more easily managed.
- You are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, osteoarthritis, breathing problems and sleep apnea.
- You may feel better about yourself and have more energy to make other positive health changes.
Losing weight isn’t easy, but there’s no doubt it’s worth it. It sounds simple enough: To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. And to stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance healthy eating and physical activity. Most fad diets and quick weight loss schemes don’t work, because they don’t help you learn how to maintain a healthy weight over the long haul.
There’s no “secret” to success, but there are a few basic steps to losing weight you can take.
Keeping the Weight Off
OK, you’ve lost some weight. Now you can relax, right? Not so fast! Maintaining weight loss can take just as much effort as losing it. Here are some tips:
- Know your triggers, roadblocks and favorite excuses. We all have them!
- Don’t kid yourself. This is a long-term effort. The first year or two after significant weight loss may be the hardest, but if you can stick it out you’re more likely to make it in the long run.
- Learn from others who’ve succeeded and follow their example.
- Make sure you have a social support network of friends, family and health professionals who will support your new healthy habits.
- Find healthy ways to motivate yourself to stick with it.
- At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make.
- And remember, you can’t do it by diet alone. For people trying to keep weight off, exercise is even more essential. The American Heart Association recommends 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week to keep those extra pounds from creeping back.
Lapsing and Relapsing
A lapse is a small mistake or slip into old habits. This can happen when you have a bad day and overeat or skip your workout. A relapse is when you go back to old habits for several days or weeks.
Remember that having a lapse or relapse is not failing. You can get back on track. Try to find new, healthier ways to handle life’s stresses besides overeating or becoming one with your couch. Take a walk, talk with a friend, or do something to help someone else. Just don’t give up!