Benefits of Weight Loss
Maintaining a lower percent of body is one of the best things that you can do for overall health. Some potentially life threatening health problems that people who are obese or overweight are more likely to face are diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. Fortunately, reducing your body fat to a healthier percentage can reduce the risk of these health problems. Combining this weight loss with aerobic activity at least 5 times a week can reduce the chances of the above ailments even more.
What Percentage of Fat is Healthy?
A Body Mass Index chart can give you a rough idea whether the amount of fat you carry is excessive, but is not always acurate for all people. A skin fold caliper test can is a better way to guage your body fat percentage. Other tests are also available like a water displacement test that can be done in a clinic.
How to Lose Weight?
The process of losing weight is as simple as burning more calories than you consume. In order to achieve this, however, a lifestyle change must occur, rather than just dieting. This lifestyle change not only includes modifying what you consume and in which quantities, but modifying your activity levels as well. Also, unlike dieting by itself, these lifestyle changes are to be maintained throughout life in order to keep the weight off and remain healthy.
What to Eat, What to Avoid
The first thing to do is to forget all of those fad diets and supplements that promise to help you lose weight and boost metabolism. Although they may help you lose weight, they are not healthy, and as soon as you cease them, the weight will return. Diets that restrict a particular food group, for example, aren't a good idea because our body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fats to remain healthy. The trick is to balance the intake of these nutrients and consume the more healthful varieties.
As a general rule, lean cuts of poultry without skin and cold water fish are the healthiest types of protein. Whole grains would be the preferred choice for carbs. Apart from fish oils, animal fats are not healthy to consume because of their high cholesterol content, while vegetable oils are. Trans fat like hydrogenated oil need to be eliminated from the diet completely.
There is one caveat to consuming fats. As you may already know, fats have more than twice the caloric content of carbs and proteins. This means that for the same volume of space in your stomach, you can pack in way more calories from fats. A reduction in fat consumption can be a good way to reduce the amount of calories consumed, without cutting down on the actual volume of food you eat. Another hidden dose of calories is sugar. Try to avoid added sugar to foods and replace sugary beverages such as sodas and juices with water.
The second part of losing weight is to increase the amount of calories burned. You can do this very easily by increasing your physical activity. In the short term this will increase the calories burned through the exercise itself. In the long term, as muscle mass is increased not only will you burn calories during exercise, but your standing metabolism will increase, allowing you to burn more calories just by being still. An added benefit of exercise is that it will improve your heart function and decrease the chance of heart disease, as well as reducing the risk of cancer.
Other Benefits of a Lighter Body
Apart from the health benefits outlined in the introduction, a lighter body will put less stress on your joints, increase ease of movement, improve sleep (by the reduction of the incidence of sleep apnea) and help you achieve not only a longer life, but also a better quality of life.