FAQs About Obesity and Nonsurgical Options to Lose Weight
Study this page to get answers to some of your questions. These facts address our most Frequently Asked Questions about weight loss and how our weight loss programs can help you live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
What exactly is obesity?
The American Society of Bariatric Physicians states that obesity is a result of a complex interaction between genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors that cause imbalance between the energy a person takes in and the energy expended. Accordingly, the National Institutes of Health states further that an increase in a person’s weight of just 20% over the ideal body weight range for a person takes them to the condition in which their excess weight poses a clearly established hazard to health. And not just these upper ranges (20% or more over ideal body weight) cause health hazards. Being marginally over weight in the lower levels of extra weight can constitute serious health risks including the onset of serious disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
What marks the line between being obese and simply being overweight?
Body Mass Index Table (BMI) data sets are often used to distinguish between these two conditions. Although not a hard and fast rule, and clearly lacking in clarity (see our other articles on the differences between different body measurements related to weight loss) Body Mass Index (BMI) measures an adult’s weight as it relates to their height. The CDC clarifies that a person is overweight when their BMI falls within the range of 25 & 29.9. Obesity typically means having a higher amount body weight and especially body fat as it compares to lean muscle mass. Accordingly, the BMI scale that registers at 30 or higher is said to fall within the obesity category. Morbidly obese is an additional state that kicks in when a person’s BMI is 40 or higher. When you visit the office, we take measurements and calculate this number for you when needed to help get you a snapshot of where you are now–and more importantly, we’ll give you help to make any changes to your body weight that is needed to get you living the happiest and healthiest life possible!
What are the health problems associated with the hazard of obesity?
It’s been said that if cancer could be cured, Americans would add 2 years to their life expectancy as a population. But then think about this: If on the other hand we cure obesity, a whopping 6 to 8 years would be added to the life expectancy of the average American. But it doesn’t stop there. Not only are 6-8 years added to the life span, but the person who achieves a healthy body weight will also live a much happier, enjoyable life free of pain and constant health issues and the associated stress. The stats show that people who are obese die at an increased rate for nearly every disease imaginable even down to suicide. Included in the unfortunate effects of obesity we find:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Coronary heart disease
- Physical Disabilities
- Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage & underlying bone inside of a joint)
- Dyslipidemia (including high levels of triglycerides or high total cholesterol)
- Sleep apnea and other respiratory problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Many cancers (including breast, endometrial and colon)
Because of the higher pressure and elevated strain on joints, obesity also makes a person more prone to serious accidental injuries. For these reasons, obesity is fast becoming the number one public health epidemic in this country.
Does obesity place strain on blood vessels and the heart?
The answer to this is a clear Yes! Called atherosclerosis and caused by high blood pressure and diabetes, these side-effects to obesity make a person at an incredibly higher risk to heart attack.
Can obesity be managed, cured, or overcome?
Yes is the clear answer to this question as well! But although the solution to obesity may appear simple to many, it is extremely difficult for many. The best way to be certain that unwanted weight gain does not occur is to carefully be sure that the energy taken in as calories in food stays at or below the amount of energy expended through activities and exercise during each day. Losing weight means consuming less caloric energy than is expended, and each person can take this on by choosing foods with care, managing portion number and size and with the assistance of weight loss medications or procedures that can help bring weight under control. A daily exercise regimen that a person enjoys is an important way to assure good cardiovascular health and weight loss results.
How many food calories can be burned by common exercises?
The calories expended during working out will vary with the type, intensity and also with the duration of the type of exercise. Additionally, the body shape, weight, and fitness of the person exercising is also a factor. Obese people burn calories at greater rates while performing similar tasks to a person who is in fantastic physical shape. This is because it takes more energy to do the same activities, which interestingly puts the obese person in a position that they can get a lot of return on the investment of even medium amounts of exercise. Most people do not sustain exercise regimens for the long term because they often will start out with too intense of a program. They expect too much too fast and opt for ‘power exercising’ and ‘crash exercising’ and unfortunately end up also ‘crash dieting.’ Safe, effective exercise regimens begin with medical supervision beginning with an exam, and under the watchful guidance of a trained health professional. These well planned programs then progress from a balanced, low intensity cardio and strength training & walking program and move toward higher intensity. Other low impact aerobic workouts may be preferable to walking and can be arranged according to taste. As higher impact and higher intensity strength training ensue, these aerobic activities bring additional caloric burning benefits. See below for a list of a handful of common activities to show the calories a person might burn at different body weights.
Avg. Cal/hr. Burned
|Activity||150 lb. person||200 lb. person||250 lb. person|
|low impact Aerobics||141||552||690|
|Mopping a floor||306||408||510|
|Shopping in a mall||162||216||270|
Can I “spot reduce” areas of my body? I.e. can I focus on my stomach by doing sit-ups?
The only way for a person to instantly reduce fat in a specific area of the body is through surgery and otherwise it is really not possible to choose areas that we’d like to reduce fat content. However, a lifestyle of discipline, good nutrition, regular aerobic exercise as well as appropriate strength training absolutely will reduce body fat ALL OVER the body. This will also have the desired effect of hitting trouble areas like the mid section, butt, or thighs. When a muscle is exercised, signals spread throughout the body to fat depots which can be tapped. These fat depots release fat in the form of energy to power the exercise being performed. The fat from these depots are converted to energy, carried to the muscles performing work, and depending on the gender, body type, age and a handful of other factors, fat will tend to be removed from certain body areas in an order specific to the person before it is burned from other areas. The type of exercise performed does not, however, control this. The main point of exercise is to kick start and then to continue expending more energy than the amount that is consumed each day. The body will continue to require nutrients and calories to continue life sustaining processes and to help increase the metabolism of the person through building muscle to be healthy and strong.
What types of foods are most ideal when dieting?
The guidelines of the American Heart Association encourage adult Americans that are in the process of losing weight and keeping it off to consume no more than 35% of daily calories from fat in total. Less than 7% of daily calories should come from saturated fat. Even further, less than 1% of daily calories should come from trans fats. Diets of these types can jump-start a quick weight loss because one of the effects of eliminating carbohydrates from the diet is to cause a loss in body fluids. Entirely removing carbohydrate intake can also prevent the complete burning fat in the body. Cutting across all lines will be important, but focusing on foods with high caloric values such as fats and sweets are a correct, and intuitive way to begin.
Healthy dies include all sorts of food in a variety of styles. Those rich in whole, fresh fruits, vegetables and accompanied by regular physical exercise help most people achieve and maintain weight loss for appearance’s sake and also for cardiovascular benefits to health. The American Heart Association also urges Americans to follow safe, proven routes when losing weight and setting up healthy maintenance. Paying close attention to the amount of portions and the size of portions will help ensure that the amount of calories falls within appropriate guidelines. This certainly allows a person to enjoy nutritionally balanced as well as healthy and enjoyable weight loss that can be maintained for a lifetime. But remember, that you’ll certainly need to plan on using discipline when you’re choosing your foods while losing weight.
Weight Loss Wars and Project Weight Loss are both excellent resources that you can use to track caloric intake and expenditure and also to chart your feelings as you experience struggles, success, and even the occasional neutral days. Sign up on weight loss wars and get a free, private (or public if you choose) profile and begin charting and recording your feelings along the way.
What about protein and dieting?
The American Heart Association does not recommend a significantly high-protein regimen for weight loss. These types of diets often restrict a person to a single type of food (namely protein in this case.) Accordingly, other healthy foods such as vegetables, and especially fruits are often passed over and essential vitamins and nutrients are not received. The diet rich in mainly protein also may not provide the kind of variety of foods that is required to adequately reach a person’s specific nutritional needs. Medical research supports the case that people who maintain these diets over prolonged periods of time may not consume enough vitamins and minerals and face additional serious health risks. Our medical team and physicians can help you to determine the diet that will work for you and that is also safe and healthy.
The American Heart Association as well as the National Institutes of Health support the case that as few as 50-60 grams of protein food is sufficient for the average adult, hence only 10-12 percent of total daily calories is suggested to be consumed as protein. The human body needs just 0.36 grams of protein per lb. of body weight and this can be calculated in each individual person’s case. Just multiply ideal body weight by 0.36 to get the number of grams. This optimum daily amount of protein in grams also depends on the portion of a person’s body that is composed of lean body mass and not composed of fat. For this reason, ideal weight should be used when calculating this number instead of using actual current body weight to calculate it.
Sources of high-quality protein can come from tuna that is canned in water, chicken breast (roasted or baked), turkey breast, salmon, and yogurt. People who are vegetarian can go to foods like tofu, nuts, soy foods, seeds, and lentils meet their protein requirements.
Are vitamins important when dieting?
According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended that people take in adequate amounts of nutrients mainly from consuming a variety of different types of foods in strict moderation. This will generally be better than taking supplements. In a few rare exceptions such as folate (folic acid), which is absorbed by the body better in vitamin form than from foods like orange juice, vitamins in foods are generally preferable to taking vitamins in pill form. Another exception is also made for omega-3 fatty acid supplements that is outlined below. It’s generally best to refer to the Dietary Recommended Intakes (DRIs) that are published out of the Institute of Medicine for the best available recommendations and estimates of safe amounts and adequate dietary consumption. Vitamins, mineral supplements, and other supplements are not to be considered as a substitute for balanced meals, nutritious diets, and calorie conscious food portion sizes. Don’t go overboard on vitamins, and remember that it’s often more important to consider the amount of calories and trans fat, saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and sodium when planning meals. First get the portions and calories down before becoming too over-focused on vitamins.
Fish intake has also been linked to decreased risks for heart disease and because of the available data, the American Heart Association suggests patients without a current, documented health issue or heart disease consume a variety of fish– especially those rich in omega-3 – approximately twice per week. Some of these fish include salmon and trout. People with a documented condition of heart disease are additionally urged to consume approximately 1 gram of EPA+DHA which are types of omega-3 fatty acids and specifically preferably from fish. Consult with us here at the office whether EPA+DHA supplements should be considered in a specific case.
What about crash diets?
“Crash diets” put emphasis on short-term progress instead of long-term weight loss. These diets are often very helpful in jump-starting weight loss. But unless they’re followed up with a successful and strict maintenance, they can be unsuccessful in the long run. The purpose to aim for is lifetime health, lifetime change in mental processes, and lifestyle exercise regimens that are enjoyable enough to be adhered to. Eating habits that lead to strong patterns of health help a person stick with a healthy lifestyle permanently. Don’t let yourself be ‘crashed on the rocks’ of diet misfortune. Hold on to the progress that is made through realistic goal goal-setting, and avoid prolonged drastic changes in major lifestyle that are likely to fizzle in the long run. Instead focus on things that can help life be enjoyed during the process of changing to new lifestyle. It is very encouraging to achieve mid-level goals and as these goals are reached, happiness ensues and a feeling of accomplishment. Crash dieting may help you reach a new number on the scale, but unless you can maintain it, your health can suffer, and your emotions can be put through the ringer.
How many calories should be shed from the diet to drop a pound each week?
To lose 1 pound of body weight per day, cut 3500 calories per week from the diet. Think of every pound of fat as being comprised of 3500 calories that is stored as energy. In order to lose 1 pounds, a person needs to remove this amount of calories to do it. A diet that helps a person lose 1 pound per week.
Is fast weight loss desirable?
Yes! But also NO! Most fad diets entice with the promise of quick weight loss. However the marketing schemes and all the quick fixes do not help with overall health or self esteem generally. A person who consistently makes changes to their lifestyle and diet is more likely to succeed than someone who blows from one diet to the next. Quick weight loss is usually what a person wants, but it’s not usually successful, so focus on quick weight loss that is also reasonable. The point is usually to maintain a methodical, progressive, and sometimes painfully slow amount of weight loss of about a pound per week. Don’t stress about body weight in 2 days but rather about body weight in 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, and 5 years into the future. Plus it is very important to have a good base of character that will help you maintain this.
Are weight loss medications effective in losing weight?
The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (www.asbp.org) reminds individuals of risks, side effects, and potentially habit forming situations that may be associated with specific anti-obesity medications. The risks are often minimal if the drugs are FDA approved and are additionally lessened in the case of short prescription duration. Our practice has a combined 50 years of medical weight loss experience. Our doctors, nurses, nutritionists, bariatricians, and trained staff will only prescribe these medications under supervision. These drugs are used as part of a comprehensive regimen that includes diet changes, exercise programs, and also important lifestyle adaptations that are enhanced by the prescription of anti-obesity medications. These can be very helpful as an adjunct portion of a medically supervised weight loss program. Taking medication alone as any kind of a quick fix, or ‘pain free’ or ‘discipline free’ weight loss program will not ultimately lead to the successful maintenance of healthy body weight after initial weight loss. Many appetite suppressants available have long histories and proven, safe, track records for success.