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Shedding Pounds

Shedding Pounds

Understanding Weight Loss

Do you want to achieve happiness and health? You may be able to achieve both with some simple and easy changes to your lifestyle.

Healthfully losing weight is a great way to improve your health and quality of life, if you are overweight. Americans eat more unhealthy food and exercise less than ever before. Research results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 35% of adults in America are obese, and 69% are overweight.

How To Lose Weight Healthfully

Losing weight will help you achieve both physical and mental health because mind and body are interlinked. Studies show that people who lose weight are less prone to mental problems like depression, insomnia, and anxiety. You might think losing weight is a near impossible task, but the reality is that there are several simple steps you can take to lose weight!

Losing weight is a great way to improve your health and quality of life. However, it can also be hard. Learn how to lose weight healthfully.

Body Mass Index

Many doctors use a Body Mass Index to see if you are in the recommended weight range for a person your size. The Body Mass Index or BMI is a scale that looks at your weight compared to your height. Body Mass Index is a good general indicator of weight range for most people. BMI also is an indicator of how much fat each person has on their body. Doctors generally prefer this scale because medical studies have shown that there is an increased risk of getting conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease for those individuals that fall into overweight and obese categories of this scale.

While the BMI scale is not perfect in telling you if you are healthy or unhealthy, it does provide a general indication of whether you may need to lose weight.

BMI Chart 2

Once you have determined your BMI, use the table below to find which category your score is in. If you are in the overweight or obese category, you should talk to your doctor about losing weight.


BMIWeight Status
Below 18.5Underweight
30.0 and aboveObese

Waist-Hip Ratio

The waist to hip ratio (WHR) is another simple, but useful measure that can help you determine how fat is stored on your body. Those who store a lot of excess fat in their middle (or belly) are at higher risk for developing diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep an eye on and minimize belly fat.

To calculate the waist-to-hip ratio take your waist measurement in centimeters divided by your hip measurement in centimeters. Women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 or less, while men should have a ratio of 1.0 or less. Values above this are considered clinically obese.

Preparing To Lose Weight… Managing Your Eating Habits

There are healthy diets and unhealthy diets. Fad diets promote dramatic weight-loss results in a short time. They do not offer long-term success and can actually be dangerous to your health. If you are looking for a sensible eating plan to help you with your weight loss, make sure the plan uses a balanced nutritional approach. The following are healthy diet guidelines.

Fruits, Vegetables, Grains And Dairy

  • Try to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies. Also aim for a wide variety of these food items.
  • Choose whole grain bread, pasta, and rice. Look for “whole” before the grain name on the list of ingredients.
  • If you consume dairy, choose the low-fat varieties like low-fat cottage cheese or skim milk.


  • Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening, and lard.
  • Select meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk products low in fat or fat-free.


  • Select fruits and vegetables, and whole grains high in fiber.
  • Limit or eliminate processed foods like chips and cookies. They are usually loaded with calories, sugar, and fat, yet provide little nutritional value.


  • Always try to keep your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg a day—or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  • Select foods with less sodium and eat foods with potassium—like fruits and vegetables.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Drink sensibly and in moderation.
  • If you do drink, it’s recommended that women have no more than one drink per day and men no more than two drinks per day.

Checklist For Successful Weight Loss

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you are on the right path to safe and healthy weight loss:

    ❒ Have you checked with your doctor to let him/her know you were beginning a weight-loss program? Have you asked your doctor to help you develop a safe and effective weight-loss plan?

    ❒ Do you eat at all meal times?

    ❒ Do you eat a variety of foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits?

    ❒ Are you getting your daily nutrients?

    ❒ Are you limiting saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium?

    ❒ Are you limiting the amount of sugar in your diet? Remember, foods high in sugar are often higher in calories and lower in nutrients.

    ❒ Have you reduced the number of calories you drink? Think about eating whole fruits, rather than drinking juices, and avoid soft drinks and alcohol as they are high in sugar.

    ❒ Are you watching your food portion sizes? Keep telling yourself that smaller portions are better than bigger.

    ❒ Are you exercising regularly? Have you chosen activities that you can continue to do and that you enjoy? Are you physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week?

Exercising Your Way To Weight Loss!

Exercise is essential to any weight-loss program. You need to burn the fat that your body has stored while keeping your lean muscle tissue strong. To get the most out of your exercise time and effort, follow the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines:

How often do I really need to exercise each week?

The best work out frequency appears to be four to five times each week. Although health gains can be made with exercise that is only done twice a week for those who are just starting out.

What kind of exercise should I be looking to do?

To burn calories your body has stored as fat, you need to do activities that involve aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups rhythmically and continuously so that heart rate and breathing become raised for a long period of time. The best examples of aerobic activity include walking, jogging/running, swimming, stair climbing, bicycling, and dancing. Don’t feel like you are bound to just doing one kind of activity.

How long do I need to exercise to get results?

This really all depends on your goals, schedule, and physical condition. If your goal is body-fat loss and you are appropriately conditioned, then longer is better. The longer you exercise, the more calories you will burn. You should try and exercise at least 30 minutes with each workout, although 40 to 60 minutes may be optimal if you’re trying to lose weight. Recent research also shows that aerobic fitness levels can improve with as little as 10 minutes of activity, as long as exercise is repeated two to three times a day, and done five days a week. If you only have a few breaks in your day, like a coffee break or the end of your lunch break, walking and exercise during these times can allow you to meet your exercise commitment.

How hard am I supposed to workout during exercise?

You should workout at a moderate level of intensity during your exercise time. A moderate level of intensity means that you are working at about 70% of your total effort. The easiest way to see if you are exercising at the right intensity is to take the “Talk Test.” The “Talk Test” says you should be able to talk comfortably while you are exercising. If you are still able to breathe comfortably and talk while exercising at the same time, then you are probably working at an appropriate intensity level.

Remember, adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week.


WELCOA (Wellness Council of America
17002 Marcy Street, Suite 140
Omaha, NE 68118
Phone: (402) 827-3590


©2014 Wellness Council of America

The information contained in this brochure has been carefully reviewed for accuracy. It is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.