How do I know if I am at a healthy weight?
This depends on your height and your overall health.
Doctors use a special measure called ''body mass index'', or ''BMI'', to help understand a person's weight. Your weight and height are used to calculate your BMI ( figure 1). Based on this number, you fall into 1 of the following categories:
Your doctor or nurse will often want to calculate your BMI at your medical appointments. But it's important to remember that your weight and BMI are just 1 piece of your overall health. Someone with a lower BMI might not be healthy overall, and someone with a higher BMI can still be healthy.
How does my weight affect my health?
Having obesity increases the risks of many different health problems. It can also make it harder for you to move, breath, and do other things that people who are at a healthy weight can do easily.
People with obesity are more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and lots of other health problems. People with obesity also live less time than people of normal weight. That's why it's important to try to keep your weight in a healthy range.
What should I do if I want to lose weight?
If you would like to lose weight, you can start by talking to your doctor or nurse. They can help you make a plan to lose weight in a healthy way. It can also help to work with a dietitian (food expert).
In general, to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories and move your body more.
Studies have compared different diets such as the Atkins diet, the Zone diet, and the Weight Watchers diet. No specific diet is better than any other. Any diet that reduces the number of calories you eat can help you lose weight, as long as you stick with it. You should try to find an eating pattern that works for you. A dietitian can help you make healthy changes to your diet while making sure that you get the nutrients your body needs.
Physical activity works the same way. You can walk, dance, garden, or even just move your arms while sitting. Even gentle forms of exercise are good for your health. For weight loss, the important thing is to increase the number of calories you burn by moving more. And you have to keep doing the extra activity.
If you go on a diet for a short time, or increase your activity for a while, you might lose weight. But you will regain the weight if you go back to your old habits. Weight loss is about changing your habits for the long term.
The best way to start is to make small changes and stick with them. Then, little by little, you can add new changes that you can also stick with.
Are there medical treatments that can help me lose weight?
There are medicines and surgery to help with weight loss. But these treatments are only for people who have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise.
Weight loss treatments do not take the place of diet and exercise. People who have those treatments must also change how they eat and how active they are.
How do weight loss medicines work?
Weight loss medicines work by reducing your appetite or by changing the way you digest food. They are appropriate only for people who:
Can I try herbal or non-prescription medicines to lose weight?
Many herbal weight loss medicines are unsafe and do not work. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any herbal weight loss medicines. There is also an over the counter (non-prescription) version of a prescription medicine called orlistat (brand name: Alli). It is safe to try, but it can cause unwanted side effects, such as cramps, burping, and gas.
Some weight loss medicines are sold over the internet. However, they can contain harmful ingredients and be unsafe.
How does weight loss surgery work?
Surgical procedures for weight loss work by making your stomach smaller. Some types of surgery also change the path that food takes through your digestive system. With these types, your body absorbs fewer calories and nutrients from food.
Weight loss surgery is appropriate only for people who:
How do I decide if weight loss treatment is right for me?
If your doctor suggests weight loss treatment, ask these questions: