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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss

Print these questions and answers to discuss with your health care provider.

1. Can being overweight lead to health problems?

Yes. Being overweight is linked to a number of health problems, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for a short time during sleep) and asthma

2. How do I know if I am obese?

A person is considered obese when his or her body mass index(BMI) is at least 30.

 Your BMI is based on your height and weight. It's one way to see if you're at a healthy weight. A person considered to be a healthy weight has a BMI from 18.5 to 24.9; a person considered overweight has a BMI of 25 to 29.9.

 

3. What steps should I take to lose weight?

  1. Decide you want to lose weight for good, not just briefly.
  2. Learn more about successful weight loss.
  3. Set a realistic weight loss goal.
  4. Make a weight loss plan with your doctor, and follow up with him or her.

4. What type of exercise is best?

It is totally up to you. Sports, fitness classes, household chores, yard work, or anything else that gets you moving.

Ask your doctor if there are any limits on what you can do.

5. How much exercise should I do?

For the greatest overall health benefits, experts suggest 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most (and preferably all) days of the week. Doing aerobic activity for most of the days, and strength training 2 to 3 days of the week, is recommended for best results.

If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with milder activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will let you become physically fit without straining your body. As you get fit, you can make your workouts longer and more challenging.

6. What is weight cycling?

It's another term for "yo-yo" dieting: losing and gaining weight over and over.

A weight cycle can range from small weight losses and gains (5-10 pound per cycle) to large changes in weight (50 pounds or more per cycle).

Some experts believe that weight cycling may be harmful to your health. Yo-yo dieters often regain fat instead of muscle, which can slow down weight loss efforts in the future. Some believe that staying at one weight is better than weight cycling, even for people who are obese. But that's not been proven.

7. How do I spot a fad diet?

Watch for warning signs like these:

  • Promises of quick weight loss
  • Claims that sound too good to be true
  • Oversimplifying complex research
  • Recommendations based on a single study
  • Dramatic statements that scientific organizations reject
  • Recommendations made to help sell a weight loss product
  • Diets based on studies published without review by other researchers
  • Eliminating one or more of the five food groups

WebMD Medical Reference

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