If you've read the article Obesity in America is Becoming the Leading Cause of Preventable Death, you’re aware of the obesity epidemic in America and how it affects everyone. It's important to know that weight is the key to helping you to have a healthy life, or a life that’s plagued with illness.
If you've determined that you're overweight, you're taking a great first step in acknowledging it. The next step involves taking action and making a plan to improve your numbers, and not just your weight. We'll talk more about the numbers you should monitor in addition to your weight, to improve your overall health.
Based on what we learned in the article on obesity, the first step to take with your health is to determine your numbers as they relate to your weight. From the article, and the HBO Series, The Weight of the Nation, we learned that studies have shown that obesity puts individuals at risk for many of the major diseases, including heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes and kidney disease. Obesity is the underlying cause for these health issues.
The good news is that being overweight or obese doesn't have to be a permanent condition. It can be improved and totally eliminated with the right information and an action plan. In the process of losing weight, you will gain much more than the confidence that comes from looking and feeling great, you'll also gain many health benefits that we will discuss in this article.
Getting your weight under control can help if you have risk factors for these conditions, and possibly help you avoid health issues in the future. If you have looked at an obesity chart and you have confirmed that you are overweight or obese, take the steps discussed below to take action and lose the excess pounds and inches.
If you think you’re overweight but you’re not sure, read on and take a look at how to determine if you’re on track with your weight. Review the three pieces of information you’ll need to accurately determine whether your weight is on track as well as the obesity chart shown below. If your weight is not on track, take a look at the steps outlined below to take action to manage your weight.
Keeping Tabs on Your Weight the Right Way
It’s a common practice for your health professional to take your weight, temperature, blood pressure and other vitals when you visit their office. This is a clear sign that these are important indicators of your health. So why do many of us leave monitoring these vital signs only to our doctors? These are number that we can take and monitor from home, right?
Why do we rely so much on sources outside of ourselves to be responsible for our health? Monitoring your numbers throughout the year and discussing them with your health professional during visits is a great way to (1) help you become your own advocate (because you actually know what’s going on with your weight), and (2) it gives your healthy professional information they can use to determine what’s happening between visits and (3) it helps them help you to make the best health decisions.
That leads us to another proactive step you can take regarding your health. That would include, writing down or tracking your own weight (and even blood pressure) numbers. Each time you visit a health professional, write down your numbers during each visit. With the right tools, you can monitor your numbers at home on a monthly basis. For example, write the numbers into a manual chart once a month and you’ll start to see patterns. Either your numbers will remain the same over time, they will go in an upward or downward direction or they will fluctuate.
Download and print our PDF Weight Tracker Worksheet. You can enter your numbers into a program like Excel, part of Microsoft Office that may already be configured on your computer. The electronic version of the Weight Tracker Worksheet is also available on Google Sheets a free spreadsheet program on Google.
You can use our tracker or create your own, so that you can see patterns in your weight and other important health numbers that we discuss below. You will also have a great tool that you can use to spark discussions with your health professional. To get started, ask your health professional to provide your numbers for the past six months to a year and then track your numbers going forward.
Three Important Pieces of Health Information
You’ll need three pieces of information that will tell whether you are on track, struggling or completely out of sync with your weight. The three pieces of information you’ll need includes an accurate weight, your body mass index, and waist circumference. These numbers will help you determine whether you are at an optimal weight, overweight or obese. You’ll also want to know whether these numbers have changed over time.
Measuring your waist circumference. You can also take your waist measurements with a simple tape measure that can be purchased from most stores. You may wonder how the size of you waist can impact your health.
Fat stored around your waist, sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat, may further increase your risk of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Women with a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 35 inches and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have more health risks than do people with smaller waist measurements. Like the BMI measurement, your waist circumference should be checked by a health professional at least once a year and monitored from home on a regular basis, especially if you have gained or lost weight.
Monitoring your weight and body mass index. Most of us are used to getting on the scales and either being happy or not with what we see. Do we know based on our height, how much we should weigh to maintain optimal health? Probably not.
What standard are we using to determine our optimal weight? Is it what we see on TV or are we using an obesity chart or a height and weight chart like the ones shown below? Are we setting goals and making healthy food and exercise choices? Or are we using fad diets?
There is a difference between being overweight and obese. You’re obese when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Body mass index is calculated by using your weight and height.
There are scales on the market that will not only provide your weight, but your body mass index as well. You can obtain your optimal weight from reviewing height and weight charts and also from consulting your health professional. Scales are not that expensive (we will display some below this article) and they make it easy to obtain these important numbers from home.
If you’re not sure about your BMI here is an obesity chart that displays the BMI guidelines from the Mayo Clinic:
18.5 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
30.00 – 34.9
35.0 – 39.9
40 and above
Obese (Class I)
Obese (Class II)
Extreme Obesity (Class III)
For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category even though they don’t have excess body fat.
If you are off track with any of these numbers, make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss your concerns and get screened for health issues. Your health care provider can suggest a diet and exercise plan to improve your numbers and prescribe medication if needed. You can also consult a nutritionist (if needed have your health professional to give you a referral) for ideas on healthy eating and how to shop for the right foods, based on your particular health concerns. This is a proactive approach that will help you avoid major issues down the road.
Sometimes You Have to Lose in Order to Gain
When you look at the diseases that can improve from managing your weight, losing instantly becomes more attractive. Many people have reported that once they changed their diet and lost weight, they were also able (under the supervision of their health professional) to stop taking their medications. Those reasons alone provide a greater incentive to lose weight. These are some of the many benefits you may see once you lose excess pounds and inches:
Decreased risk of diabetes
Lowered blood pressure
Improved cholesterol levels
Improvement in osteoarthritis
Decreased risk of certain cancers
Decreased joint pain
Decreased risk of heart disease
Improved blood sugar levels
Decreased risk of stroke
Reduced back pain
Improvement in sleep apnea
It’s amazing to see all the areas that can improve, just by making changes in our weight. Looking at all the health improvements also shows the link between your health and your weight. If you take nothing else away from this article, please recognize the importance of weight to your overall health.
Now we will take a look at what you can do, once you determine that you’re overweight.
If You’re Overweight, What Can You Do?
You’ve looked at your numbers (weight, BMI and waist circumference), you’ve reviewed the obesity charts above and you have determined that you are overweight or obese. Here are some simple steps you can take to get your weight on track.
1. Set Realistic Goals – If you are currently overweight or obese, establishing a weight loss goal (5, 10, 15 pounds) is the first step. Work with your health professional to set a weight loss goal that is realistic and safe. It’s encouraging to know that you may be able to lose just a small amount of weight to improve your overall health. In fact, some studies show that just a 5% to 10% decrease in your weight can change your health. So if you weigh for example 300 pounds, losing 8% of your weight would be 24 pounds. If you lost 10% of your weight that would mean losing 30 pounds. That’s a reasonable goal to kick-start your weight loss efforts.
2. Change Your Eating Habits – The next step would be to make changes in the way you eat, to promote weight loss. Taking a look at why you eat what you eat. Are you eating a healthy diet, or are you eating more processed or even junk food. Are you an emotional or stress eater? Where are you eating most of your meals? For example, if you normally eat out, you might decide to prepare healthier, lower calorie meals at home. Are you eating in the car on the way to work, a meeting, or in between appointments? How many meals do you eat in a stress free, calm environment? Do you eat at the table with your family?
- Another area to review is in making healthier food choices when shopping at the grocery store. Read food labels to determine foods that have healthy levels of fat, sugar and sodium. Avoid foods that are high in these ingredients by experimenting and trying different recipes for alternatives that taste just as good. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables (these foods have more fiber) into your diet versus buying processed food. Eating higher fiber foods will help you stay full for longer periods of time.
- Using a food diary can give you some great insight on what you’re eating and how much you’re currently eating. This information will help you understand areas that you can improve, and things you can cut out of your diet. Here’s a food diary download that you can copy and use from the American Heart Association. You can make copies, punch holes in the copies and place them in a binder. If you have a smartphone, there are some great food diary apps like My Fitness Pal that you can use on your devices (smartphone, desktop, laptop, iPad etc.) to track your exercise and diet. The Fitbit Tracker will also give you some great information to help you make changes in your diet. Here is a Redbook article that discusses other food diary apps.
3. The next step would be to get moving. Find a workout routine that fits your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be a formal “workout” routine. It can be as simple as finding your favorite exercise, whether it’s biking, walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, yoga, and placing those activities into two 15 minute blocks of time per day.
- If you do better with a leader to help you find the right moves, YouTube has free videos that will give you an excellent way to get moving, right in your living room or den. We like PopSugar Fitness and the BeFit Channel that has several popular workout leaders like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, and more. If you need a slower paced workout, there is also the Sit and Be Fit Channel where the pace is slower and a lot of the exercises are done from a sitting position.
- You can make or more subtle changes like taking the steps versus taking the elevator. When you make your weekly trek to the shopping centers, errands or various appointments try parking far away from your destination to take additional steps during the day. This will increase the number of calories you burn each day. Using wearable technology to help you monitor the amount of exercise you receive each day is also a great way to reach your weight loss goals.
The biggest challenge in losing weight is making changes that last long-term. If you lose weight based on crash dieting, the likelihood of gaining the weight back is higher. Losing weight by making lifestyle changes are usually easier to maintain over time.
Get Started on Your Weight Loss Journey With a Little Help
Consider using natural products that will support your weight loss efforts. We have products in our Wellness Shop that will help you not only reach your goals, but stay on track after you’ve reached an optimum weight.
The thing that makes these products so great is that, along with diet and exercise they can be easily incorporated into your current daily activities and things you’re already doing to help ensure success.
For example if you’re a coffee or tea drinker, we have both the Iaso Detox Tea and our Iaso Cafe Delgada Coffee that have great natural ingredients that you can use each day to curb your appetite, and rid your body of toxins, helping you to lose and maintain your weight.
To ensure that you’re getting the daily recommended amount of nutrients, take a look at our Nutra Burst liquid vitamin. It’s a great multivitamin that can be taken by the whole family (children over 4 years old).
Trial Sizes Available
The NutraBurst, Iaso Tea and Delgada Coffee are available in trial sizes to allow you to try them out before buying the full sized product.
Learn more about the steps you can take and then take action to eat healthier and lose excess weight. Take one step at a time. Find time to work out at home, with friends or in a gym. Share recipes and healthy food information and support each other during your weight loss journey.
If you find that you’re overweight or obese, the bad news is that you may be at risk for a number of health related issues. The good news is that being overweight or obese doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. It can be managed, improved and totally eliminated with the right information and an action plan. Find out how you can take steps to improve the way you look and feel and take charge of your overall health.