Are you overweight? Then you probably want to lose some weight. It is obvious that you’ll burn body fat by increasing your metabolism. But be sure that what you burn is fat, not muscles.
After age 25, the average person in America gains one pound or more a year, which means at the age of 50 an average person is 25 pounds or more heavier than he or she was 25 years ago.
As you age your metabolism is slowing down, causing your body to burn less fat.
Without exercising regularly, the average American loses a pound of muscle each year.
A minority of Americans exercise in a significant way, which means less than 50 minutes of exercise per week. Two out of five Americans do not exercise at all.
Motivations for weight loss
Most people’s primary motivation for weight loss is to improve their appearance.
Other motivational factors are the many health benefits of proper nutrition and regular exercise.
Why obesity is dangerous
Reduction of excess body fat plays a vital role in maintaining good health and avoiding disease.
Medical evidence shows that obesity poses a significant threat to health as well as to longevity:
Excess body fat is connected to:
- heart disease
- gall bladder disease
- gastro-intestinal disease
- sexual dysfunction
Why is excess body fat linked to heart disease?
About 4/5’s of deaths caused by heart disease and cancer, are linked to life-style factors, inactivity included.
Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the lungs and to the extra fat throughout your body. Therefore it takes more energy for you to breathe. This extra workload might cause your heart to become enlarged and high blood pressure and life-threatening erratic heartbeats might be the consequences.
Overweight people often also have high cholesterol levels, making them more likely to develop arteriosclerosis. When blood vessels are so narrow that vital organs like the heart, kidneys or brain don’t get enough blood, this becomes life-threatening.
It might go without saying, but the narrower the blood vessels become, the harder your heart has to pump, which results in increased blood pressure… High blood pressure itself poses several health risks, like heart attack, stroke and kidney problems.
Does excess body fat cause cancer?
In general, research has linked cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) to excess, actually as a storage place for these.
Excess fat has been linked to a higher rate of breast and uterine cancer for women
Excess fat has been linked to colon and prostate cancer for men.
How is excess body fat related to diabetes?
There is a delicate balance between the relative amount of body fat, the level of blood sugar and the hormone we call insulin.
Excess blood sugar is stored in the liver and other vital organs, and converted to fat as soon as these organs have got what they need of it.
The pancreas of overweight people often produces more and more insulin. The problem is however, that the body is not able to utilize this to regulate it’s blood sugar levels.
This poor regulation of blood sugar and insulin causes an inbalance in the system, which results in diabetes. This disease may in it’s turn cause heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and death.
How Reducing Body Fat Reduces Disease Risk
At an American University, researchers studied a sample of people following a certain weight management program. This study showed
- decreased HDL cholesterol levels
- decreased triglyceride levels,
- decreased blood pressure.
- increased waist-to-hip ratio,
- an active lifestyle can slow or stop the disease process for most people, even those with a history of heart disease in the family.
Other studies have shown that programs that includes
- regular physical activity,
- low-fat diets
- stress reduction
- reverse heart disease processes.
while other studies shows that reducing body fat through an active lifestyle and low fat diets mean reduced risk for
- prostate cancers for men,
- breast and uterine cancers for women
- non-insulin dependent diabetes for both genders.
So, what shall I do?
You have to change to a new lifestyle, by committing yourself to a long term process that gradually will lead you to a healthier life. This process requires persistence and patience, especially in the beginning. If you stay persistent, your new lifestyle will automatically take over, and it will become natural for you. This process will contain
- moderate, long term fat loss
- aerobic exercise
- strength exercise
Here is the benefits 90 percent of overweight people following this advice has gained:
- improved heart function,
- improved blood pressure,
- improved glucose tolerance,
- improved cholesterol levels,
- lowering requirements for medication,
- eight times less likely to die from cancer than the unfit,
- 53 percent less likely to die from other diseases than the unfit
- eight times less likely to die from heart disease than the unfit people.
But, how can I get started?
The first phase in such a process has shown to be the hardest – it is here most people drop out. The longer you stay in the process, the more likely you are to succeed. And trust me; after you – by means of persistency and patience – have passed this critical start phase, the fun and excitement you gradually will experience will make the change well worth the effort.
You must make the decision to commit to this lifestyle changing process.
If you ever feel tempted to skip it for a day or even give up, confront yourself with your commitment, and go on.
How to stay motivated?
Allow plenty of time for the changes. You should give yourself several years for the changes to take place. If you do so, your body will adjust comfortably and the probability of maintaining this healthy lifestyle permanently, will be higher.