In the United States alone, 70% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight to some extent, including obesity, according to the CDC. Being overweight can increase your risk of developing various health complications in life, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Losing weight can be hard, it may even seem impossible at times, but the health benefits that come with it are worth all the hard work. Losing weight can help you have more energy, improve your overall mood, relieve some aches and pains, lower your risk of diseases and some cancers, and improve your overall wellbeing and livelihood. And although bodies should be celebrated in all shapes and sizes, people have reported that losing weight helped improve their confidence and self-esteem as well!
Why am I Gaining Weight?
Sometimes there are medical conditions that may be the underlying cause of your weight gain. For example, an underactive thyroid, Cushing’s syndrome, depression, and polycystic ovary syndrome may all lead to weight gain, which you should talk about with your doctor to figure out the best way for you to lose weight.
Other causes of weight gain that you may need to address include stress, sleep deprivation, an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy diet, dehydration, or medications. Thankfully, these can be controlled, and doing so will help you on your weight loss journey. It may not be easy, but you can change your habits to help you, instead of letting unhealthy habits continue to make you gain weight.
What Can I do to Lose Weight?
To lose weight, you’ll want to get to the root, or roots, of why you are gaining weight, and then find a solution to it. Some people choose to go more extreme in their weight loss, following very restrictive diets or intense exercise regimes, but these are just some generic tips to help get you started. If you are gaining weight from extreme stress, possibly from work, try to do what you can to reduce your stress levels; this includes doing all of your work and not procrastinating, only biting off what you can chew, and talking to your supervisor if it is really unbearable, there is no need to sacrifice your wellbeing for your job. Stress and sleep deprivation often go hand in hand, so if you are stressed, chances are you aren’t sleeping well or enough either. When your body doesn’t get enough daily sleep- which is 7 to 8 hours for the average adult- it leads to increased levels of ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone.
Dehydration can cause your body to retain any water that you do drink, which will lead to extra pounds of water weight when you step on the scale and can lead to bloating. Some medications you take may also interfere with your weight loss, especially your birth control. If you think it’s possible that your medication is causing you to gain weight, you should talk to your doctor about it and look at alternatives.
On top of all this, 2 of the most important things you can do to lose weight is to stay active and maintain a well-balanced diet. Often times people think they are eating healthy, but they really aren’t. Overeating healthy foods can actually be a problem because a lot of them, like peanut butter, are very nutritious, but also very high in calories. Eating plenty of protein is also important because it helps keep you full and contains lots of key nutrients that your body needs. It also needs to be used, stretched, and exercised; a good workout or just 60 minutes of physical activity can do wonders. And although exercise is very important, you can’t depend on it to burn off all the junk calories you eat, which is why diet is equally important.
What do I Need to Avoid?
In general, it is good practice to avoid certain food and drinks, such as alcohol, frozen meals, sugar and carb-packed snacks and drinks. Alcohol is full of empty calories and provides you with no nutrition. Plus, drinking increases the chance of you overeating and decreases your liver’s fat burning efficiency. Frozen meals contain crazy high levels of sodium, which increases water retention and bloating. Lastly, snacks like ice cream, cake, pastries, cookies, and candy and drinks with lots of sugar, like soda and fruit juice, should be cut from your diet as well. They provide no nutrients and only lead to weight gain. However, the longer you swear them all off, the bigger binge you will have if you ever cave, which you will do at least once. That is why you should actually indulge in your cravings occasionally. Being able to reward yourself occasionally makes it so you are more likely to be able to resist cravings later on.
People who are very serious about losing weight may decide to avoid processed foods altogether. Processed foods contain high levels of saturated fats, artificial coloring, flavor, and preservatives, and added sugar, processing foods can also cause them to lose key nutrients. People who cut out all processed foods only eat whole, unprocessed foods, and although this can be very effective, it is not necessarily mandatory.
Losing weight is not an overnight practice, and any diet or exercise program that offers overnight results should set off red flags in your head right away. Weight loss takes hard work, dedication, and patience, but it is very rewarding in the end. Losing weight is something to be proud of, and when you finally reach your goal weight, it feels like such a huge accomplishment. Remember to be realistic as well and realize that you will probably face setbacks along the way. But it’s okay to mess up, everyone is human, just get right back on track and try to stay focused. If you are looking to lose weight, I suggest paying attention to the information in this article and then doing additional research to figure out what is best for you.