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Weight Loss

Two out of three adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. And our children are following closely in our footsteps. It’s a recipe for a public health disaster with ripple effects felt far and wide. It’s easy to see why weight gain has become epidemic: Cheap junk food, everywhere you turn. Technological innovations that make it possible to rarely lift a finger. Car-dependent suburbs. Busy schedules.

Yes, the decks may seem stacked against you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take charge and make a change. And, in many cases, a little weight loss goes a very long way. Did you know that losing weight can greatly improve survival for many obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer?

Consider this:

  • Even losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can lower blood pressure.
  • People at risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease with weight loss and extra activity. If you already have the disease, losing as little as 10 to 15 pounds can lower blood sugar levels, making it possible to use less medicine.
  • A 10 percent weight loss results in improved sleep and reduced daytime sleepiness for people with obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder).
  • People with asthma (a chronic lung disease) who lost an average of 30 pounds over a year experienced improved lung function, fewer asthma episodes, and better overall health.
  • Whether achieved through diet or exercise, moderate weight loss in healthy but overweight middle-aged adults restored the heart’s elasticity right away.

And, that’s not all. Weight loss also reduces levels of blood fats and stress on joints. You can move and breathe easier and have more energy to do all the things you love to do. 3

Do you need to lose weight? If so, what are the “damages?” Search online for the term body mass index (BMI) and you’ll find several places to calculate your BMI. These calculators compare your height and weight, and indicate whether you are underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight.

If you need to shed some pounds, the formula is simple: the calories you burn must equal the calories you eat. A few steps in the right direction? Eat smaller portions, choose low-fat and low-calorie foods, and avoid sugary drinks. Also add activity to your day, whenever you can: walk during your lunch hour; grab a game of ping-pong with your kids; take the stairs, not the elevator.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Rarely. But here are a few strategies that may help:

  • Set realistic goals – don’t try to do too much too fast. For example, start by adding an extra serving of vegetables each day or 30 minutes of extra exercise each week. Make this a habit, and then move on to another change.
  • Avoid diets, but make rules you can live with. For example, don’t eliminate treats altogether, but limit them to once a week.
  • Stock up on healthier foods and keep tempting ones out of the house as much as you can.
  • Serve food on smaller plates and bowls.
  • Weigh yourself at least once a week.
  • Find an exercise partner for support.

Do you want to know more about over-the-counter or prescription weight-loss products? Are you taking medications that might cause weight gain? Our pharmacist staff can help answer your questions. For more information, visit www.healthmart.com and click on “Health and Wellness.” In the Wellness Library, you’ll find many articles about weight control.

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