In the United States, the number of people who are overweight or obese has increased over the years due to a combination of the imbalanced diets and inactivity of Americans. A person is considered to be overweight or obese if his or her body weight is not proportional to his or her height, according to standards set by a scale known as the body mass index. Although crash diets may seem like a quick way for these individuals and others to lose weight, the most effective strategy is to establish a balanced diet and exercise plan.
People are often above their ideal weight because of their lifestyles, which include unhealthy eating habits. In the United States, this is especially a problem because many people have diets high in fatty foods, including fast foods. Although body weight is caused by a number of factors, including people's metabolism, genes, and socioeconomic status, one of the main reasons that individuals are overweight or obese is that they consume too many calories and do not engage in enough physical activities to burn off this energy. It is important that people with unhealthy eating habits, especially those who are overweight and obese, make changes to their diets because they have a higher risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.
You will have a better chance at losing weight if you consume foods that are healthier, such as fruits and vegetables, and cut out foods and beverages that are high in fat and added sugars, such as sodas. The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day for an average person is about nine servings of both.
Your fat intake should be about 30 percent of your total calorie intake, and you should reduce the amount of fat you get from certain foods, including dairy products and eggs. Foods that are high in unsaturated fats, which do not raise blood cholesterol, are considered to be healthier. This includes salmon, tuna, olives, and avocados. Other foods that you should eat the most of during a given day include whole grain wheat products such as bread and cereals, brown rice, and pastas made from grain. The recommended daily amount of these types of foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid, is between six and eleven servings. When eating snacks, it is especially important to eat these healthier foods instead of falling back on convenient foods that are likely high in saturated fats, such as potato chips. You also need to drink between six and eight glasses of water a day. Your body needs to be made up of a certain amount of water, between 50 and 60 percent, or it will become dehydrated. Water can also help suppress your appetite and assist your body in using stored fats.
You can reduce the amount of calories you are getting each day by eating healthier, but it is important to do it in moderation. You could risk getting an eating disorder, such as anorexia, if you make rapid changes to your eating habits. Any weight that you will lose while crashing dieting will likely to be temporary because people who tend to lower their calorie intakes quickly often see temporary changes in weight loss. After drastic weight loss, your metabolism tends to slow down, so it will be difficult to keep losing weight at a rapid pace. Your body will also likely start to feel starved, and it may start to draw from muscles instead of fat stores to get energy. If people begin to gain weight after a crash diet, this body weight is likely to turn into fat. It is usually difficult to stay on a diet where you are eating a great deal less than you normally do because you will likely feel hungry constantly. You should generally not consume fewer than 1,000 calories a day, and even this level can be dangerous if you are involved in a number of physical activities. Normal calorie requirements are generally around 2,250 for men and 1,940 for women. When trying to lose weight, a safer method can be to try to lose about one pound a week or less, which means that you should reduce your calorie intake by about 500 calories or fewer. It is important to remember that men often have faster metabolisms than women because they have a greater muscle mass, so they lose weight faster.
Since inactivity is one of the leading causes of weight gain, to lose weight, it is important that you cut out the amount of time you spend on activities such as watching television and movies, surfing the web and playing video games. You can add greater activity into your everyday life by doing activities such as walking to the store instead of driving and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
If you do everyday exercises with other activities, such as sports, aerobic exercises, and strength training, you will have a better chance of losing weight. Doing abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups, is not going to cause you to lose weight because it is through a combination of exercise and a healthy diet that the amount of fat in your body will decrease. Exercises such as sit-ups, however, can help to improve your muscle tone in your abdominal region. Strength training, such as lifting weights, can also be beneficial when done with other exercises because it will help you to gain muscle mass. If you are new to exercising, you may want to join a local gym so that you will have trainers at your disposal to show you some techniques to work out different muscle groups in your body. Generally, you will see better results if you lift weights two to three days a week or work out muscles in different parts of your body on contrasting days.
It is important when you choose physical activities that they fit with your personality, or you will fall off your routine very quickly. If you are an introverted person, you will want to do activities such as swimming, biking, and/or walking. If you are extroverted, team sports such as softball and soccer may be more suited for you. You will want to develop and maintain a program where you engage in different forms of exercises regularly so that you will lose weight in a steady manner. If you are a parent, you can start your children off on healthy habits early by exercising with them.
It is also important when you are exercising to pace yourself. One tip to knowing if you are exercising too long or too hard is if you still feel extremely fatigued 10 minutes after you exercise. The recommended level of exercise for an average person is about 30 minutes per day, three times a week. If you are out of shape when you start, you may want to work up to this level. Consult with your doctor about physical activities you should engage in before starting an exercise routine. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Before starting your routine, you should do flexibility exercises because they will help to reduce your chance of injury and keep your joints flexible. You should stretch for about five to ten minutes before starting to do an activity such as walking or swimming. One popular stretching exercise involves putting one arm straight across your chest and holding the hand of your other arm at your elbow, with your arms at a 90-degree angle to each other. One stretch that works out your legs involves sitting on the floor with one leg placed straight and the other bent under it. While you are in this position, move your waist forward, making sure to keep your back straight, and reach toward your extended leg.