A healthy weight is suitable for your physical and mental well-being. Good eating habits and moderate exercise are crucial to keeping a healthy weight and a fit body, and being overweight-weighing too much in relation to your height is a problem for many people. If you are overweight, you have an increased risk of several health problems. The good news is that you can reduce these risks by losing weight.
Checking Your Weight
The body mass index (BMI) is a tool that often is used to measure body fat. It is based on height and weight. To find your BMI, you can use the online calculator at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.
If you are overweight or obese, you also should measure your waist size. Extra fat in the abdomen (an “apple” shape) is a greater health risk than excess fat in the hips and thighs (a “pear” shape).
Stand up and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bones, to measure your waist. Take the measurement just after you breathe out. If your waist size is 35 inches or greater, your risk of specific health issues associated with being overweight increases.
Factors that Affect Weight
How does calorie intake affect my weight? Everybody’s function—from building cells to moving muscles—needs energy. Energy is measured in calories. Calories also measure how much fuel is in a particular food. The body uses only as many calories as it needs for energy. Any leftover calories are stored as fat in the body. Taking in more calories than you use up is the most crucial factor in weight gain.
How can age affect my weight? It is normal to gain a little weight as you grow older. You may not be as active as you were when you were younger. You may put on extra weight if you do not adjust your food intake. Even as little as 100 extra calories a day can add to an unhealthy weight.
How can pregnancy affect my weight? After having a baby, a woman might not lose all the weight she gained during pregnancy. If this happens with each pregnancy, the weight can add up.
Health Risks of Being Overweight
Many serious health problems are linked to being overweight or obese:
- Cardiovascular disease—The name given to various conditions involving the heart and blood vessels.
- Diabetes mellitus—A disease in which the glucose (sugar) level in the blood is too high. In the most common type of diabetes (type 2 diabetes), the body’s cells are resistant to the effects of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is the chemical in the body that carries glucose to the body’s cells.
- Metabolic syndrome—Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are related to this condition. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that includes high blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol levels, a waist measurement of at least 35 inches (for women), and higher-than-normal levels of glucose and triglycerides in the blood. You have metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of these factors.
- Gallbladder disease
- Certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the endometrium, breast, colon, and gallbladder; obesity also may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Sleep apnea
- Joint disease
What is the best way for women to lose weight?
Every woman is different, but recent research suggests that women may lose weight differently than men. Most women need to eat, drink fewer calories, and consume the right amount of healthy foods to lose weight. Increasing exercise or physical activity may help with weight loss, but choosing healthy foods (lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) works best for most people to achieve a healthy weight. Combining healthy eating with increased physical activity is best. Talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any weight-loss program. They can work with you to find the best way to lose weight.
Your environment and other parts of your life may make weight loss more difficult. Talk to your doctor about certain medications that may be affecting your weight. Getting more sleep and dealing with stress can also help you lose weight. Staying active and eating healthy foods can help you stay on track with your weight-loss goals.
For support with weight loss, please make an appointment to discuss your concerns and challenges with one of our providers. We are here to support you and assist you with a healthier lifestyle.
To make an appointment, call us at 407-566-2229.
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