For many people, losing weight is a goal and it isn’t hard to understand why. Research suggests that weight loss isn’t really the best obesity treatment. Since 1980, obesity has been defined by body mass index or BMI of >30. Rates have risen significantly around the world with a three-time increase in the United States to more than 42% in 2018. Overweight people (as defined by a BMI of 25-30) and obesity rates around the world continued to rise. This has led researchers to investigate whether there is a more effective way to approach treating obesity than weight loss. Focusing on lifestyle changes that are sustainable can improve the quality of life and lower rates of disease.
Exercise is more beneficial for overweight individuals:
iScience published an article recently that suggests that being active, which is defined by doing vigorous exercise at least 3 X a week, has shown to have huge health benefits for those who are overweight. The results prove that poor health outcomes are even more significantly reduced for people overweight than people in a healthy range of weight. This is a great statistic to know as often weight loss programs are unsustainable but living a healthy active lifestyle can be more achievable. Consequently, this leads to weight loss.
Learn how to be active for sustainable weight loss:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest “at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking (and) at least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles” for adults. The biggest takeaway is that it has to become part of your daily life.
Here are a couple of tips for you to incorporate for a more active lifestyle:
Start small - commit to 15-20 minutes. This can be walking to the shops instead of driving or taking the dog around the block. Begin with your own sustainable fitness habit. Make small changes in your daily routine - take the stairs rather than the lift, park a bit further away in a car park so you can walk more, etc.
Set a small goal and then a slightly bigger goal. Perhaps it is a 5km walk and then a 1km run and so forth. Each goal moves you on to the next, resulting in better fitness.
Find someone to hold you accountable and that will help encourage you along this journey.
Find a friend or a community where you can share this lifestyle with you. Sharing the journey makes it easier and more enjoyable.
Find a coach or use a training plan to help you with scheduling and structure: If you’re highly motivated, a fitness-focused training plan can provide you with the structure and guidance you may be wanting.
Identify where you would like to end up - what is your end goal.
Being overweight is associated with poor health and or long-term health outcomes but by being more physically active there are important health benefits that make losing weight easier. Research suggests that incorporating a physically active lifestyle that is sustainable will improve quality of life and lower rates of disease.