A few extra pounds may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of your health, but you'd be surprised how much each extra pound can affect your body. Being overweight or obese can have serious consequences on your overall well-being.
Your risks for stroke, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, gallstones, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancer increase when you're carrying excess weight. However, you don't have to resign yourself to the possibility of these conditions. By shedding a few pounds, you can improve your health and feel better about the way you look.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set realistic, specific weight-loss goals. It's great to say that your goal is to get more exercise, but you're more likely to do it if you are specific and realistic. Aim to walk for 30 minutes each day to start out, then ramp that up to a run or a set number of miles each day once you get more fit.
- Start with 5 percent. Figure out how much weight you need to lose to be within a healthy weight range and aim to lose it in attainable increments. Begin by aiming to lose 5 percent to 10 percent of your starting weight, and then go from there.
- Track your progress. Whether you write down your daily calorie intake, servings of healthy foods or the amount of physical activity you get each day, monitoring yourself as you work toward your goal will help you stick to it. Changing your habits little by little and rewarding yourself with treats other than food will make you more likely to succeed. Rather than telling yourself you're going to give up dessert altogether, make a positive change like switching from ice cream to frozen yogurt or from a candy bar to an ounce of dark chocolate.
- Seek support. Consider asking a friend, your partner or a family member for support. Weight loss groups, either in person or online, may also be helpful. Everyone could stand to be healthier and more active, and working as a team can have positive benefits and help you keep the weight off.