Overweight and Obesity Management
Reaching and maintaining weight loss for the long term is challenging. It is important that you continue your treatment plan and adopt heart-healthy lifestyle changes you can keep up for the rest of your life. This will help prevent obesity-related complications.
Tips for managing overweight and obesity
Changing lifestyle habits takes time and patience. Follow these tips to help maintain the healthy lifestyle changes your healthcare provider recommended to aim for a healthy weight.
- Use an app on your phone or a journal to record your daily food intake and physical activity. Talk about your goals and your progress with your provider.
- Weigh yourself every day. Daily weighing has been shown to help with initial weight loss as well as long-term weight loss for many people.
- Set specific goals. An example of a specific goal is to “walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week” or “eat a serving of vegetables with each meal.” Be realistic about your time and abilities.
- Set doable goals that don’t change too much at once. When starting a new lifestyle, try to avoid changing too much at once. Slow changes lead to success. Remember, quick weight loss methods do not provide lasting results.
- Learn from your slips. Don’t worry if work, the weather, or your family causes you to have an occasional slip. Remember that changing your lifestyle is a long-term process. Find out what triggered the slip and restart your eating and physical activity plan.
- Celebrate your success. Reward yourself along the way as you meet your goals. Instead of eating out to celebrate your success, try a night at the movies, shopping for workout clothes, a visit to the library or bookstore, or a hike.
- Identify temptations. Learn what environments or social activities, such as watching TV or going out with friends, may be keeping you from meeting your goals. Once you have identified the issues, use creative strategies to help keep you on track.
- Plan regular physical activity with a friend. Find a fun activity that you both enjoy, such as Zumba, jogging, biking, or swimming. You are more likely to stick with that activity if you and a friend have committed to it together.
How does obesity affect your health?
Overweight and obesity can directly cause a variety of health problems and indirectly make other health issues more likely to occur. The good news is that losing 5% to 10% of your body weight has meaningful health benefits.
Obesity may cause the following complications:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart and blood vessel diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke
- High blood cholesterol
- Respiratory problems, including asthma, sleep apnea, and obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- Higher risk of serious illness from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- Back pain
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Osteoarthritis, especially in weight-bearing joints such as the knees, because extra weight can damage the cartilage and bone
- Urinary incontinence, which happens when pelvic muscles that are weakened from chronic (long-term) obesity can no longer help maintain bladder control
- Gallbladder disease
- Depression or other mental health conditions
- Cancers, such as pancreatic, colon, breast, and liver cancers
Take care of your mental health
Overweight and obesity can lead to depression or self-esteem issues for people of all ages but especially in children and teens. Obesity and overweight may also lead to or be a sign of an eating disorder.
Talk to your or your child’s provider or a professional counselor. Sometimes a history of childhood trauma, such as emotional neglect, divorce, or substance abuse, is contributing to overweight and obesity. It is important to get professional help for these issues to help you or your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. If you are depressed, your provider may recommend medicines or other treatments that can help.
Support from family and friends can also help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.