According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult obesity is on the rise, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Nineteen states have an obesity prevalence of 35% or above.
Obesity is on the rise worldwide.
Losing weight takes long-term lifestyle changes, consistency, and patience.
There are many myths around how to lose weight, all untrue.
Body Mass Index is a measure to determine your health. A BMI is over 25 is considered overweight, a BMI over 30 is considered obese.
That is double the number of states in 2018! If we zoom out, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that worldwide, obesity has tripled since 1975. The WHO also states that obesity is preventable. So what can we do?
Let’s dig into what defines the terms overweight and obesity, common myths you’ve heard about losing weight, and finally, how to lose weight properly.
The WHO defines both overweight and obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health”.
These categories can be determined by calculating your Body Mass Index or BMI.
The formula is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters or kg/m2.
A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is considered overweight.
A BMI greater than or equal to 30 is considered obese.
So what are the consequences of a high BMI?
You'll have an increased risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, and gallbladder disease. And that’s just the beginning! Mentally, you can have less confidence and can be more susceptible to depression.
Five common weight loss myths
1. You need to make a radical change to your exercise routine
Going from zero to one hundred is not sustainable in trying anything new. If you take this approach, you’re going to be more likely to burn out. Start slow and create a schedule so that you can keep up with it. Don't forget to add adequate rest days.
Aim to build up to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' recommended guidelines for physical activity. This is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. You can also do a combination of both. In addition, you should add two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activity.
2. Carbs are bad
To put it simply, they are not. A carbohydrate is a macronutrient that supplies your body with glucose. This glucose is turned into energy for your body and your brain. Energy is important!
But keep in mind carbs come in a variety of healthy and less healthy options. Stick with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans as your source. If you can, avoid white bread, processed foods, and sodas.
3. Low or reduced-fat foods are healthy.
Again, they are not. Typically these low or reduced-fat foods make up for the flavor by adding more sugar. If you are curious or are considering a low or reduced-fat food, compare the nutritional label to the full-fat version. It may not be healthier in the end.
Remember, like carbs, fat is not bad either. Fats help your body absorb certain vitamins such as A, D, and E. That means these vitamins need fat for your body to take them in. There are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Aim for more of the latter.
4. Skipping meals and starving yourself will help you lose weight
Skipping meals and starving yourself is not helpful. You deny your body of energy and nutrients that it needs to operate. You’ll become sluggish and mentally drained. While you know that fewer calories consumed are helpful in weight loss, cutting an entire meal is not the way to go. Instead, spread out your daily calories throughout the day to avoid the inevitable crash.
5. Crash diets and get skinny quick methods work
They are called crash diets for a reason. They are unsustainable and after you’ve relapsed, you’re likely to gain more weight than what you’ve lost in the first place.
There is no get skinny quick trick. You don’t need skinny teas, magic pills, or harsh diets that you see all over social media.
Losing weight takes time, patience, and consistency.
How to lose weight properly
As you can tell, there is no magic formula to quickly lose weight. It’s not easy but it is worth it.
If you are interested in losing weight, first start with your diet. The adage, “six pack abs are made in the kitchen,” is true to some extent. Focus on proper nutrition to fuel your body and create a calorie deficit. Adjust week after week as your weight lowers.
Next, add exercise to your routine. Specifically, try to follow the guidelines outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To recap: you need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity and two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activity.
As you know, consult a medical professional before starting a new exercise regimen.
Ease into your new exercise routine to avoid burnout.
Lastly, and more importantly, have patience with yourself. Losing weight takes time, and that’s ok! Stay consistent with your commitment to a healthier you. It’ll be worth it in the long run.