Even though obesity can lead to numerous health problems, the number of Americans who are obese continues to grow each year. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 more than 35.7 percent of U.S. adults were considered obese, up from 33.9 percent in 2008.
Most are aware that obesity can cause heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure, but did you know that it can also increase your risk of getting cancer? Not to mention that an unhealthy weight can have a negative effect on your condition if you already have cancer.
The most common way to measure obesity is by calculating your body max index or BMI. If your BMI is over 30, then you could be at risk for the health problems listed above. Click here to calculate your BMI.
In terms of cancer, obesity is associated with increased risks of cancers of the breast, gallbladder, uterus, colon, rectum, kidney, pancreas, gallbladder and thyroid – and possibly more. Also, obesity can make treatment more difficult. According to one study in breast cancer patients, obesity was linked to shorter time to recurrence, disease-free survival and overall survival.
These facts, figures and studies aren't meant to scare you, but demonstrates how important it is to get your weight under control as soon as possible, as it may save your life in more ways than one. Fighting obesity is an important step to take for those without a cancer diagnosis, but it is just as vital – if not more so – for those who have already begun treatment.
Losing weight is somewhat of a national obsession in America, and it is never easy. If your BMI is over 30 – or if you simply want to get into better shape - there is no time like the present to get started! Even if you’ve never felt sick a day in your life, losing those extra pounds can simply help you feel more alert and active on a daily basis.
Here are a few tips to help you get started!
1. Talk to Your Doctor – If you are serious about beginning a major weight loss program, speak with your doctor first! Not only can he/she provide advice and help you create a plan, but your doctor can also make sure that your body is ready for what’s coming and recommend experts, such as a nutritionist, who can help you along.
2. Join a Group – There is a reason Weight Watchers has been around since 1963 – they know what they’re doing. Fad diets rarely work, and if they do it’s not for long. Organizations like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig have easy-to-follow weight loss plans, and make the process easier with support groups to help motivate you along the way.
3. Set Realistic Goals – Weight loss takes time, and unreasonable goals will only make you frustrated. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in a month, you are setting yourself up to fail. Create reasonable, attainable goals that take into account your personal fitness level, health concerns and available time. Achievable goals will also help you feel confident and successful along the way.
4. Get Moving – The basic keys to weight loss are simple: exercise and eating well. If you aren't active, take small steps to get moving. Park your car as far away from your destination as possible, or opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. These tiny steps add up to slowly increase your activity level. Start small with your activities, and slowly build them up.
5. Keep a Journal – This will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your thoughts and feelings during the process. Some weeks you’re going to lose a few pounds, and other weeks you’ll have setbacks. You can also keep track of your exercise and eating habits, and take note of what works and what does not.
6. Try to Enjoy the Process – Losing weight doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Seek out ways to make the process more fun by getting others involved. Invite friends and family to try out a healthy recipe, or go on a long walk on a nice day. Also, remember that losing weight doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating all the foods you love and change your life completely, but you will need to adjust your habits and lifestyle. If you’re having some fun along the way, then the road to weight loss will be much smoother.