Tipping the Scale in Your Favor: Losing Weight
Obesity is arguably the biggest health problem facing many adults and now children in the United States. Obesity rates have skyrocketed in the southern states. Nearly one in three adults in Kentucky is obese, and that number is only increasing. We'll be spending two weeks on this topic. This week we'll discuss weight loss in general. Next week we will look at the new medications used to aid people who need more help to quickly lose weight.
Weight loss is one of the top New Year’s resolutions that people make. If this is your goal in the New Year, it is important that you do your homework and understand exactly how to lose the pounds. There are a few important concepts you need to master very early on in your journey to your ideal weight:
Calories: Calories are basically small units we use to measure energy. Everything you eat has calories in it that your body extracts from the proteins, fats, sugars, etc. found in your food. The problem here: when you eat more calories than your body needs it stores that extra “energy” for later use as fat. After years of consuming extra energy, all of those pounds of fat begin to catch up to you.
Sodium and Starches: Consuming too much sodium and starch causes your body to begin to retain fluid. These compounds found in salty foods and things like bread or pasta “pull” water into your body, increasing your body weight. The easiest way for a normal person to quickly lose 5 to 10 pounds is to limit sodium and starches in their diet.
You’ve got to MOVE!: Exercise is key to losing weight and living a healthy life. If you don’t move, your body will not break down the energy stored in your fat cells as quickly and efficiently as it should. Cardio and strength training are both essential to drop fat and build muscle. Limited on your free time? Interval cardio training (brief bursts of high intensity followed by a slower pace) is the best way to blast fat and lose weight.
If your goal is to lose weight this year, start by watching your calories. Keep a journal of everything you eat or drink and keep up with how many calories you consume. Use the free formulas on our Facebook page to determine your Body Mass Index, Basal Metabolic Rate (the amount of energy you burn daily just to be alive), and determine your recommended daily intake for your activity level. Consume 500 calories less than this number each day and you will easily lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Add in some exercise 3 days a week, restrict sodium and starches, and you will reach your goal in no time!
Next week we will discuss some of the new medications that came on the market in 2014 for weight loss.
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Your Family Pharmacist,
Samuel Warnell, Pharm. D