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Weight Loss

Jul 2009
28

What Facts Should I Know about Weight Loss and Control?

Obesity is not simply the accumulation of excess body fat. Obesity is a chronic (long-term) disease with serious complications that is very difficult to treat. As such, it requires long-term treatment to lose weight and keep it off. There is no overnight solution. Effective, permanent weight loss takes some time.

The essential factors in losing weight and keeping it off are motivation, proper eating, exercise habits, and an appreciation of better health. Losing weight will help you feel better. It also will improve your health.

Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States (tobacco is the first). People who are obese have much higher risks of many serious health problems than nonobese people. The most devastating of these health problems include the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallstones
  • Lung disease and sleep apnea
  • Colon cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Depression

How much weight do you have to lose before you notice?

The good news is that you don’t have to reach your ideal weight to lower your risk of developing obesity-related medical problems.

  • Losing even 10% of your total body weight can significantly lower your risk.
  • If you weigh 250 pounds and lose 10% of your total body weight, losing those 25 pounds can have a meaningful positive effect on your health.
  • Losing 10% of your total body weight is a good goal to start with. You can always continue and lose more weight once you have reached your initial goal.

 

Nutrition 101

Weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than the body uses.

  • The average person uses as many as 2,500 calories daily, or 17,500 calories per week.
  • If you eat the amount your body needs, you will maintain your weight. It takes 3,500 extra calories to gain 1 pound.
  • To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than your body uses. You must eat 3,500 calories less than you need, say 500 calories per day for one week, to lose 1 pound.

Calories count. It’s important to understand where calories come from and how to make the smartest food selections. Here are some basics:

  • Foods are composed of the following three substances, in varying amounts:
    • Carbohydrates (four Calories per gram): Examples include grains, cereal, pasta, sugar, fruits, and vegetables.
    • Protein (four Calories per gram): Examples include legumes (beans, dried peas, lentils), seafood, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and soy products such as tofu.
    • Fats (nine Calories per gram): Examples include whole-fat dairy products, butter, oils, and nuts. Make sure you buy sarms as a vitamin supplement for faster results.

Alcohol is a separate fourth group (seven calories per gram).

A calorie is the amount of energy (heat) needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. A kilocalorie (or Calorie with a capital C) is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

  • The energy contained in food is measured in kilocalories but is commonly referred to on food packages and elsewhere as calories.
  • Most people underestimate the number of calories they consume by about 30%.
  • Calculate the number of calories you should consume each day to keep your weight the same.
    • If you are moderately active, multiply your weight in pounds by 15.
    • If you are sedentary, multiply by 13 instead.
    • To lose weight, you need to eat less than this number.

Excess calories from any source (even fat-free foods) will turn into body fat.

  • Any carbohydrate not immediately used for energy will be stored in the liver as glycogen for short-term use. The body has only a limited number of liver cells to store the glycogen. Whatever is left over will be converted to fat.
  • Excess protein and fat in the diet are also stored as fat.

Fat cells are no longer thought to be responsible only for energy storage and release.

  • They synthesize the hormone leptin, which travels to the hypothalamus in the brain and regulates appetite, body weight, and the storage of fat.
  • Leptin was first discovered in 1994. The exact way it works is not yet fully understood.
  • Disorders of leptin account for only a few cases of obesity, usually morbid (extreme) obesity.

How to Lose Weight

For most people who are overweight or obese, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. If you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that. There are no magic pills. Diets that sound too good to be true are just that.

Effective weight loss plans include several parts. You will find tips for achieving these goals in the next sections.

  • Eating less: Unless you eat fewer calories than your body uses, you will not lose weight.
  • Physical activity: Any good diet plan will include physical activity. Physical activity burns calories and is one less opportunity to eat during the day. You should exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Regular exercise also has many other health benefits.
  • Change in habits and attitudes: Most people have enough willpower to lose weight for a few weeks. To lose enough weight to improve your health and keep it off, you will need to change the way you think about food and exercise. As you eat, try to understand some of the hidden reasons you eat. You can learn to spot situations in which you overeat and head off the overeating. You can learn to enjoy eating less and being active.
  • Support: Many people find that enlisting friends, family, and coworkers for support is helpful in losing weight. Others prefer groups such as Weight Watchers or Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) to keep them motivated. The important thing is to seek the support you need to achieve your goals.

Drastic changes in eating habits, such as not eating at all (fasting), are usually unsuccessful. Eating too few calories causes your metabolism to slow down, meaning the body burns fewer calories.

Don’t believe claims about losing weight while you sleep or watch TV, or plans that claim to cause weight loss without dieting or exercise. Such gimmicks just don’t work. They may even be unsafe or unhealthy.

Of special interest to women who have gained weight during pregnancy is that breastfeeding helps you shed some extra pounds. It is good for your baby too.


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