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. 




Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index, abbreviated BMI, is a valuable indicator that physicians use today to measure the body fat of their patients, both children and adults. By taking into account your height and weight, you can very simply find out if you are underweight, at normal weight, or overweight. 

Knowing your BMI is very important, as being overweight can increase the risks of certain diseases. High blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and other heart complications (such as heart attack or stroke) can be contributed to being overweight. Combining healthy, balanced meals with exercise can lead to a more healthy body and decrease your risk for diseases associated with being overweight. 

http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ReportsResearch/ucm081857.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9846588http://online.lexi.com/lco/action/doc/retrieve/docid/hpals/945008

 



Realistic Resolutions

Here we go again. It’s another new year, and you know what that means. “New Year’s” and “resolution” are about as inseparable as Jack and Jill or salt and pepper. So what’s it gonna be this year? Eat less, exercise more, quit smoking, or spend more time with your family?

Easy does it. Before you take the plunge, try rethinking your approach. Instead of making vague, sudden, and difficult-to-keep resolutions, think in terms of healthy lifestyle changes – more of a work in progress.1

Start small, with one goal at a time, and make a solid plan. Remember: small changes really do add up. One way to be more effective is to create SMART goals. These are the elements of SMART goals:            

Specific. State exactly what you want to accomplish. Make sure your goal is not hard to understand. Getting fit is not a specific goal. Being able to run a 5K under 30 minutes is. Write down exactly what you plan to do as well as when and how often. Post it where you’ll be sure to see it.1

Measurable. If a goal is measurable, can evaluate your progress and know when you’ve succeeded. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you can check your body mass index (BMI) or see if you can get the zipper up on a smaller pair of pants.

Attainable. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds by your class reunion this summer. But seriously, now, is this really realistic? Instead, have a conversation with your doctor about safe methods and rates of weight loss.  Losing one or two pounds a week might be more reasonable. Or, maybe you’d like to quit smoking cold turkey, but you know that tapering off will make it easier for you. Set yourself up for success by setting goals that are truly attainable.2

Relevant.  Is this really a goal you’re interested in? Or is it something a family member has foisted upon you? Make sure the steps you’re taking will help you meet your specific goal.

Time-bound. It’s human nature to put things off. So remember to set specific deadlines. Try setting lots of shorter time-bound goals. This may make it easier to stay on track and reach your final destination.2

You are also more likely to succeed if you are clear about why you want to make a particular change and know how it will benefit you. Also, identify your support system and ask for help when you need it. And come up with rewards for reaching specific goals. All these things can help you stay motivated.

It will also help to create visible cues that remind you that you want to make a change. Maybe that means keeping workout clothes within easy reach. By the same token, remove things that will undercut your will. 2 For example, if ice cream is your weakness, it won’t help to know that there’s a half-gallon of mint chocolate chip in the freezer with your name on it. But, remember: slip-ups happen. So don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on the proverbial horse and keep going.3

Need more ideas about lifestyle changes you can make? Stop by the pharmacy and we can discuss your goals. 

Sources 

  1. American Psychological Association: “Making lifestyle changes that last.” Available at: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/lifestyle-changes.aspx. Accessed April 18, 2012.
  2. American Council for Exercise: “Reaching Your Goals the SMART Way.” Available at: http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=2637. Accessed April 18, 2012.
  3. Hungtington Medical Foundation: “Making lifestyle changes that stick.” Available at: http://www.huntingtonmedical.com/about-hmf/hmf-newsletter/making-lifestyle-changes-that-stick/. Accessed April 18, 2012.