Obesity is a significant health problem in the United States. Some estimates indicate that approximately one third of the adult population is morbidly obese.
Moreover, the connections between obesity and many ailments including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some forms of joint pain and some kinds of cancer are well established.
And, not surprisingly, obesity places a tremendous strain on our already troubled health care system.
Many people who want to lose weight do not really understand the mathematics of weight loss.
Early in my career, I directed the counseling program at a hospital based program where we treated more than four thousand obese and overweight patients. Understanding the mechanics and techniques of losing weight was quite important for those patients and it may be important for you or for someone you are concerned about.
A Successful And Inspiring Case History
Susan, a patient of mine, is a middle aged female who weighs one hundred and sixty pounds. She has a sedentary job and a sedentary lifestyle. She has gained two pounds a year for the last ten years and her weight was holding at one hundred and sixty pounds.
Susan wanted to weigh about one hundred and twenty five pounds.
In all likelihood, she was probably consuming about 1,600 calories per day when she first came to see me. This number was derived by simply multiplying her body weight by ten. (160 x 10=1,600).
Susan decided that she wanted to lose weight by first increasing her activity level. She began a daily walking routine and with her doctor’s approval and guidance, she gradually built up to walking forty five minutes a night six days a week.
Susan also made an effort to move as much as possible during the day. She would use the steps, park far away from her destination and move briskly from point “A” to point “B.”
There was little discussion about diet when she began her program. We focused solely on her motivation, her goals and changing her activity level.
Susan also received some help and training in stress management, self-hypnosis and
visualization. She practiced these techniques with a cd program in order to stay motivated and to reduce her tendency to engage in emotional eating when she was anxious or depressed.
By increasing her activity level in the aforementioned manner, Susan was able to consume 2,600 calories per day and lose about one pound per week. Because she increased her activity level, we can now apply a multiple of 20 to her body weight.
This now allows her to consume almost twice as many calories per day as she was ingesting prior to her adopting her new regime. (160 x 20=3,200)
However, if Susan consumed 3,200 calories she might remain at one hundred and sixty pounds. But, by eating 2,600 calories daily, she is now able to lose about a pound per week.
Interestingly, as long as she remains active, she can consume almost the same 2, 600 calories per day at her goal weight of one hundred and twenty five pounds. (125 x 20=2,500).
(By the way, where one’s goal weight is concerned, it is often best to utilize a range of weight of approximately five pounds. It is quite hard to remain at the exact same weight every day.)
Regular exercise also produces a natural appetite suppressant and it is helpful in managing the stress, anxiety and depression which drive much overeating.
Diet is very important. However, many people can lose weight and, in fact, eat more, if they simply increase their daily and their weekly caloric expenditure.