Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Obesity and Weight Management

How to lose wieght?

08/05/2006

Question:

I really want to lose wieght but I`m struggling a quite a lot.I get called names a lot and really want your help.Please help me.How could I improve drammatically with my wieght?

Answer:

I don't know enough about you to give you anything except general guidelines.

To lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you burn off. And the best way to do this is to increase your physical activity as well as reduce calories. However, don't reduce calories too far or you will force your body into starvation mode, which lowers your basal metabolic rate (the calories you burn while at rest).

Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov and type in your age, gender and level of physical activity to find the calorie level you would be eating if you were at your ideal body weight and were moderately active. Think very carefully about your activity level. Moderately active is 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity BEYOND regular daily activity. Moderate physical activity is defined as activity that burns 3.5-7 kcal/minute (walking briskly, mowing the lawn -walking, dancing, swimming, or biking on level terrain). Since you are heavier than you want to be, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound.

Most people are most successful by creating this deficit with a combination of lower calorie intake and increased physical activity. Increased physical activity also has the additional benefit of reducing emotional stress, and it sounds like your current weight is causing you emotional stress. If you reduce your calorie intake 500 calories per day, you will have shaved off 3500 calories in a week. If you increase your physical activity to burn another 500 calories per day, you will lose another 3500 calories. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that this will mean being moderately to vigorously active for 60-90 minutes per day BEYOND normal daily routines.

If by chance you have tried to combat your weight gain by cutting calories WAY down (to 1000-1200) you may have put your body into famine mode as I mentioned earlier. When this happens, your body is extra-efficient at using the calories it gets by slowing your basal metabolism, which means you burn fewer calories while at rest than someone whose metabolism is higher. To kick up your basal metabolic rate you will need to eat more than the 1000-1200 calories AND increase your physical activity. The increased physical activity, especially if it involves some muscle strengthening, tends to change your body composition to a lower fat level and higher lean body mass. This increases your basal metabolic rate. (Lean burns more calories than fat)

Finally, data from the National Weight Control Registry of individuals who have successfully lost weight and have kept it off (for up to 10 years - the length of time the registry has existed) suggest that the most successful weight management regimen includes breakfast every day. I find that a serving of a high protein, high fiber cereal (like Nature's Path or Kashi brands) with skim milk and fruit (sometimes dried and sometimes fresh) is a good beginning to the day. It will 'hold me' for 5-6 hours, so that even if I eat breakfast at 6 or 6:30 I can last until noon. If you say to yourself, "I'm not hungry when I get up" then change your evening eating habits so you are ready to eat. This probably means no eating after dinner.

You need to think of the changes you are making as lifestyle changes. They have to be continued for a lifetime. Think portion control all the time, and if you find yourself back-sliding, successful weight losers periodically keep food records. Every little taste counts. ChooseMyPlate.gov gives you the ability to keep track of the food you eat and your physical activity. Use it to your advantage.

Good luck to you.

For more information:

Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University