A person’s body weight is clinically measured in relation to height, and given as their body mass index (BMI). It is the BMI that is used to determine whether an individual has a healthy weight, is underweight, overweight or obese.
An obese person has a BMI of 30 or higher. It happens when one consumes more calories per day than their body uses. This can greatly increase the chances of developing such problems as diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart problems, arthritis and cancer.
What should I do?
You have most probably acquired all the extra weight over many years. Therefore it is best to shed it the same way: gradually, but consistently. It’s better to lose weight slowly and keep up the changes to your lifestyle. Crash diets or one-time bursts of exercise don’t help to control your weight in the long term.
It is usually recommended to lose about 10 percent of the body weight over the first six months. You may want to divide this out into a weekly (short-term) target and work towards it. To do this, you need to start by consuming fewer calories each day than you use.
Weight loss programmes combine a low-calorie diet, suitable exercises and behavioural therapy to help achieve the best results with losing weight. The longer your weight loss programme lasts, the more likely it is that you’ll keep the weight off.
• A low-calorie diet could mean eating smaller portions, and choosing foods with fewer calories. Men are usually advised to eat around 1,200 to 1,500, and women, 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day to lose weight. There are dozens of different diets that can help achieve this, however, studies haven’t found that one single diet is better than the other in the long-term.
• The more exercise you do, the more calories you use. At least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week is needed. However, exercise alone won’t help you to lose enough weight. Calorie intake must be cut down too.
• Behavioural therapy helps you change the way you eat and your exercise habits. By understanding why maintaining a healthy weight is important both for you and those around you, it becomes easy to stick to your weight loss programme.
Some people also take medicines to help them lose weight. But they still need to follow a low-calorie diet and exercise regularly.
One of the main drugs is orlistat. It works by stopping the body from absorbing some of the fat from the food eaten. Orlistat can stop you from absorbing certain vitamins, so the doctor may have to prescribe vitamin supplements.
You may lose more weight if you also take a food supplement called levocarnitine along with orlistat than if you take orlistat on its own.
Another medicine sometimes used for weight loss is lorcaserin. It works by causing a feeling of fullness, so that you eat less food.
If your weight is extremely high and is putting your health at high risk, you may need to lose weight quickly by having surgery. But this is often used as a last resort. This is called a weight loss (or bariatric) surgery. This makes your stomach smaller can help you eat less and lose weight.
People can lose as much as 40 to 100 percent of their excess body weight. The amount of weight you lose depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do after surgery. Surgery, however, doesn’t work for everyone. Some people don’t lose any weight, or put most of it back on. Surgery has also been shown to improve the conditions of people with type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
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What will happen to me?
It is usually quite difficult to lose weight after gaining so much of it. But with the help of a specialist and an effective weight loss programme, the task is made easier.
Even when you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, keeping the weight off can be a struggle. Most people put back on at least some of the weight they lose. The best bet is to stay in a long-term weight loss programme, with regular support from a health professional.