April 24, 2014
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Obesity

 Health Home >> Obesity >> Managing obesity 

Managing obesity: an overview

Managing obesity involves many things, such as diet changes, physical activity, behaviour therapy (counselling), medications, and surgery. You and your doctor will decide on a plan that works best for you depending on your individually circumstances. Your health care team for a weight management plan may include your doctor, a nurse, a dietician, an exercise specialist, and a psychologist or counsellor.

Eating a healthy diet is always part of a weight loss management plan. Eating 3 regular meals with healthy snacks is a good place to start. Eating breakfast is important - if you skip it, you're more likely to eat too many calories during the day.

Your approach to cutting back the calories needs to be realistic. One-half kilogram (one pound) of fat contains approximately 3500 calories. To lose this much weight in one week, you have to consume 500 fewer calories per day (if you don't increase your level of activity). Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian to help develop a healthy eating plan and to give you support in making changes to your eating.

Physical activity is also usually part of a weight loss program. Physical activity increases calories burned, increases your metabolic rate, and can also help control appetite. The benefits of physical activity are many and can include lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and improved mental health.

For some people, fitting in physical activity may be a challenge due to time limitations and not knowing how to go about getting started. Your doctor may refer you to a health care professional who will help you.

Therapy, social and family support, and other supportive strategies can increase your success in losing weight and keeping it off. Although some medications may be used to help with weight loss, the results are usually modest and side effects may be a problem. Surgical procedures are usually very effective for the management of obesity. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. Surgery is usually only appropriate for people who are severely obese or have health complications due to obesity.

One challenge with weight loss is avoiding regaining weight. A weight management program should involve regular monitoring over a long period of time. These visits will monitor your health, provide support, and help you learn the skills you need to maintain weight loss. Weight management is a life-long process that may include setbacks and improvements, so it's important to stay focused on the journey and not the destination. What you'll learn during the process will stay with you and help you in the future.

Your initial weight loss target should be no more than about 10% weight loss over a 6-month period. Research has found that losing weight faster doesn't produce better long-term results. Above all, be patient. Weight loss is a process that takes time.

 


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