Losing weight is a weighty topic, with tons of quick fixes and “guaranteed” medical cures floating in the ether. Fortunately, there are also safe and healthy ways to lose weight and manage the results. Board-certified family physician Dr. Robert Pedroza at AGP Family Health Clinic in Tomball, Texas, has five good ways to start you off.
Understanding that losing weight takes time and effort on your part is the best way to reach your weight goal and maintain that weight in the long term. Fad diets promise fast results, but they limit your nutrition, are often unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight includes five main components.
A single pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. That means if you cut your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, you should be able to lose 1 pound per week. This may seem like a trifle, but think about it – if you ate just an extra 100 calories/day, at the end of the year you’ll have gained about 11 pounds. Small changes can make a large difference over time.
Choose foods carefully. Opt for low-fat or no-fat dairy, lean sources of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. Set yourself small and realistic goals to help you lose weight gradually and safely, making you more likely to maintain your weight loss.
Eat three regular, balanced meals a day, and try to plan them for set times so your body becomes accustomed to the schedule. Only add snacks if you’re actually hungry, not just to relieve boredom or help alleviate stress.
You don’t have to join a gym unless that’s something that motivates you to exercise. You should plan on 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, and that can come from a brisk walk, riding a bicycle, swimming, or whatever else floats your boat. You should also devote two days to strength training. Not only will this improve your physical health, but it will also help you feel mentally sharp.
During sleep, your body works to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health, and you should get from 7 to 9 hours every night for maximum benefit.
Failing to get enough beneficial sleep over time raises your risk for chronic (long-term) health problems, including becoming overweight or obese (it changes your metabolism), and how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
When you’re stressed or afraid, your body dumps a lot of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, into your system, to help you prepare for whatever difficulty you’re going to face. Normally, as the threat wanes, so does the response. However, when you’re chronically stressed, your hormone levels are always high, and that takes a toll on your body.
If your muscles are always tense, it can lead to tension headaches and migraine attacks, as well as other chronic pains. You also start breathing harder, which can cause you to hyperventilate. If you have asthma or emphysema, you may struggle to get enough oxygen.
Your cardiovascular system revs up, so your heart beats harder and faster, and your blood vessels dilate, raising your blood pressure. Long-term, stress hormones increase your risk for heart attack and stroke and lead to inflammation throughout the system.
With high levels of stress hormones, your liver produces more blood sugar, so your body will have enough energy to respond to the threat. In the long term, though, your body may not reabsorb the extra sugar from the liver, making you more likely develop type 2 diabetes. And a cortisol overabundance can lead to thyroid problems and impair your ability to think clearly. It can also cause excess abdominal fat.
Weight loss can be a long and lonely journey, which is why so many people fail to reach their goals. However, AGP Family Health Clinic offers medically supervised weight loss. Not only can we ensure that you’re doing everything you can to lose weight, but we also provide a measure of accountability and can get you back on track if you get derailed.
Struggling to manage your weight? You’re not alone, and the staff at AGP Family Health Clinic is happy to guide you on your journey. To get started, give our office a call at 832-861-0393, or book your appointment online with us today.