What Lifestyle Changes Should I Make If I Have Obesity?

In the end, weight is the result of two things: calories in and calories out. But not all calories are the same. Your body absorbs and uses the energy from food in different ways depending on the type of food. For instance, calories from simple carbohydrates such as bread, cookies, and many processed foods can cause a spike in blood sugar. Over time, such spikes can lead to a condition called insulin resistance. With this, your body is more likely to store extra calories as fat. Over time, this may turn into diabetes.

It is far better to build your diet around “nutrient-dense” foods like whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins like fish, poultry, and beans. Studies show that people who follow this kind of diet tend to eat fewer calories because these foods help you feel full longer.

So what you eat is just as important, if not more important, as how much you eat. What doesn’t work is extremely low-calorie or crash diets.

Don’t forget physical activity. If you haven’t done any exercising in years, don’t worry! Start with a 10-minute walk. Each day, add 5 minutes until you’re walking at least 30 minutes a day. Also talk with your healthcare professional about other activities, such as strength training. The more muscle you build, the better you get at burning calories.

Start by talking with your healthcare provider. You might also ask for a referral to a dietician or nutritionist. Work with your healthcare professional to identify a good goal for your weight and develop a plan to get there. The two foundations of such a plan are healthy eating and regular physical activity—ideally working your way up to 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That breaks down to about 22 minutes a day!

Experts recommend a starting goal of losing 5% to 10% of your weight over six months. Even that little bit can significantly reduce your risk for obesity-related health conditions. It all begins with habits you can maintain over the rest of your life. You can find some good suggestions here.

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