Obesity & Your Health: Am I Too Fat?
What is the difference between being obese and being overweight?
Overweight and obesity are labels for weight ranges. These labels are used when comparing your weight to your height, a measurement called BMI or body mass index. Overweight is the first category of having excess weight as compared to height. Obesity is the next category, which has three stages.
How does obesity occur?
Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories (energy) than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might affect your weight include your genetic makeup, hormones, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active.
Does obesity have health risks?
Being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. It also gives you a lower quality of life, can contribute to depression and anxiety, and makes it difficult to function physically and perform daily tasks. If you are obese, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these conditions. This means losing 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.
What is the best way to avoid obesity?
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
A healthy diet emphasizes eating a proper balance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and drinking water. It also means consuming only the calories necessary for your level of activity.
Physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (or a combination of both) per week. Some regular weekly strength training also is recommended.
What’s the best way to start losing weight?
Talk to your primary care provider or a dietitian about assessing your weight and determining your body mass index (BMI), potential disease risk, and what your healthy weight should be. Learn about balancing calories (how many calories you should be aiming for in a day) and healthy eating habits. Look up nutritional information on foods. Track your calories. Prepare healthy recipes. Then learn about different types of physical activity and the amount you need each day. Walking is often the best first step. It’s important to create environments that make it easier to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet.
Does Weeks offer any obesity and weight-loss services?
We offer a referral service to meet with a staff dietician to discuss weight loss. You must contact your primary care provider for a referral. We also offer an Intensive Behavior Therapy (IBT) program as a treatment for obesity for anyone on Medicare. IBT targets poor habits that lead to obesity and teaches you to change your eating and exercise habits. The goal is to help you lose weight. Through IBT, you work closely with a registered dietitian one on one. You will learn to track your eating, change your environment to avoid overeating, increase your activity level, create an exercise plan, and set realistic goals.
How can I sign up for IBT and what is the schedule?
You need to be referred by your health care provider to join the IBT program. IBT is covered 100 percent by Medicare. Generally you will meet with a dietitian once a week for the first month, every other week during months two to six, and then once a month after that. The ideal length of IBT is one year. Appointments are held at our Lancaster Physicians Office.
Please contact your primary care provider to discuss weight loss today at 603-788-5095.
By Jennifer Nobles
Jennifer Nobles is a registered dietitian at Weeks Medical Center and is the facilitator of the Weeks Intensive Behavior Therapy (IBT) program.