Extra Weight, Extra Risk
Being overweight raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood glucose (sugar). If you are overweight, losing weight may help you prevent and manage these conditions. And you don't have to lose a lot to improve your health—even losing 10–15 pounds can make a big difference.
Getting started with weight loss
Weight loss can be hard because it involves changing the way you eat and your physical activity. Losing weight also takes time, which can be frustrating. The good news is that you can lose weight and keep it off, even if you've never done it before.
Here's what has worked for some people who have lost weight and kept it off:
- Cutting back on calories and fat.
- Staying physically active most days of the week.
- Eating breakfast every day.
- Weighing themselves at least once per week.
- Watching less than 10 hours of TV per week.
Most people find it easier to make healthy changes in a few small steps instead of all at once. Set realistic goals within a timeframe that works for you, and don’t let stalls or setbacks throw you off course.
Keep a record
Many people find that writing down everything they eat helps keep them on target. Give it a try—even for just a week—to see where you stand.
Keep a small notebook with you all day. Write down everything you eat and drink, including the serving size. There are also many free apps and websites that can help you do this online.
Make a note of what kind of physical activity you do and for how long. It may also help to write down other information, like when or where you exercised, who you exercised with, or how you felt before, during, or after exercise.
Check your weight at least once a week and write it down, or consider how your clothes are fitting as a measure of weight loss.
Your support system
Many people find it helpful to meet with people who are also trying to lose weight—either online or in person. Think about joining a group for weight loss, exercise, or general support. Or create your own support network by talking with friends and family about your successes and your struggles. You may be surprised at how supportive they will be.
Find a walking buddy or friends who also want to improve their health. Then you can support each other while working toward your goals.