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Obesity: To Lose is to Win

Posted on December 7, 2011 | No Comments on Obesity: To Lose is to Win

An estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide are overweight. According to he International Obesity Task Force, at least 155 million children are now classified as overweight or obese.

In the last two decades, obesity rates have tripled in developing countries that have embraced a westernized lifestyle of too little physical activity and too much calorie-dense food. Unfortunately, packing on excess pounds may also mean packing on excess risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, cancer and diabetes. The rise in diabetes prevalence is intimately linked to this upsurge in obesity occurrence.

About 85 to 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and 90 percent of them have too much body fat. Previously seen only in older adults, type 2 diabetes now afflicts obese children even before they hit puberty. The number of people globally with blood sugar handling problems due to obesity, such as impaired glucose tolerance, is expected to skyrocket from 197 million to 420 million by 2025.

Some experts have coined these twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity as “diabesiiy”. To hit the two birds of diabesity, one stone may just be the key—weight loss. Approximately half of all diabetes cases could be averted by avoiding weight gain. Regrettably, this is easier said than done.

Losing weight at first isn’t much of a problem, keeping the weight off is. A whopping 90 to 95 percent of people who lose weight do gain it right back and then some.

Why? The human body doesn’t take kindly to weight loss. It adapts by preserving fat stores and preventing starvation. Hormones meant to curb appetite such as leptin go down, while appetite-stimulating ones such as ghrelin go up. Metabolism also slows down so the body needs eight fewer calories for every pound of weight lost. In other words, if you lost 30 pounds, you would need 240 calories less per day than you did before you lost weight.

How can you keep the pounds off? The National Weight Control Registry in the U.S. which has been tracking over 5,000 people who have successfully kept a 30 pound weight loss for a year or longer may provide some answers.

These successful losers have lost an average of 66 pounds and maintained weight for 5.5 years. Majority of them did the following:

  • followed a low-calorie, low-fat diet
  • Ate breakfast every day
  • Exercised for an average of one hour a day
  • Weighed themselves at least once a week
  • Watched less than 10 hours of TV per week

When it comes to weight, even small losses can spell big gains. As little as 5 percent weight loss can rein in the benefits of better blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and self-esteem levels. A longer life is another plus.

May you win the battle bulge by being the biggest loser!

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