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
- Gallbladder disease and gallstones
- 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?
Obesity is defined as an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her Body Mass Index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 30.
3. Is any fat healthy?
A certain amount of fat in the diet is good and necessary to be healthy. However, nutrition experts agree that most Americans should eat less fat than they currently do. When you do eat fat, make sure it is primarily unsaturated fat, such as fat that comes from nuts, grains, and vegetable sources like olive oil.
4. What steps should I take to lose weight?
- Decide you want to permanently lose weight.
- Educate yourself.
- Have a realistic weight loss goal in mind.
- Formulate a structured weight loss plan with your doctor and receive proper follow-up.
What type of exercise is best?
It does not matter what type of physical activity you perform -- sports, planned exercise, household chores, yard work, or work-related tasks -- all are beneficial.
Over the past few years, exercise advertisements have targeted simplified exercise routines for weight reduction and maintenance. Some exercise advertisements sell the belief that one machine will work your entire body and give you the results you need. However, many of these machines may only be good for one type of conditioning, such as cardiovascular. These machines also have limitations to the type of exercise you can do and they are not appropriate for everyone. To determine the best type of exercise program for you, talk to your doctor and a certified athletic trainer.
How much exercise should I do?
Studies show that even the most inactive people can gain significant health benefits if they accumulate just 30 minutes or more of physical activity per day.
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 (anaerobic) training two to three days of the week is recommended for best results.
If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.