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Weight Management - Getting to a Healthy Weight: Lifestyle Changes

How do you change your lifestyle?

Making any kind of change in the way you live your daily life is like being on a path. The path leads to success. Here are the first steps on that path:

1. Have your own reasons for making a change

2. Set goals you can reach

3. Measure how your health has improved

Before you make lifestyle changes, ask your doctor to check your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Research shows that you can improve your health by losing as little as 5% to 10% of your weight.1 Here's what that means:

  • 5% of 150 lb (68 kg) is 7.5 lb (3 kg), and 10% is 15 lb (7 kg).
  • 5% of 200 lb (91 kg) is 10 lb (4.5 kg), and 10% is 20 lb (9 kg).
  • 5% of 250 lb (113 kg) is 12.5 lb (6 kg), and 10% is 25 lb (11 kg).

Keep track of your weight.

  • Weigh yourself no more than once a week, unless your doctor tells to you to do so more often because of a health problem.
  • Try to weigh yourself on the same scale, at the same time of day, in about the same amount of clothing.
  • Remember that many things can affect your weight. It's normal for your weight to go up and down by a few pounds from one day to the next. Try to look at the general trend of your weight, rather than the day-to-day changes.
  • Aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week. Weight loss of more than that often means that you are not getting enough nutrients to be healthy. And some of the weight you lose may be from lean body tissue (muscle and organ tissue) or water loss, not fat.

Have your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar checked again after you have lost 5% to 10% of your weight or in 3 to 6 months. You can also check your blood pressure and blood sugar at home.

  • Blood sugar levels can tell you whether your lifestyle changes or weight loss are helping to control your diabetes.
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride levels can tell you whether your lifestyle changes or weight loss are lowering your risk for heart disease.
  • Blood pressure can tell you whether your lifestyle changes or weight loss are lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Another way to measure improvements is to look for changes in your fitness level. For example, are you able to walk longer and on more days than when you started? Can you climb a flight of stairs without getting as tired or out of breath? Do you have better strength and muscle tone? Do you have more energy?

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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