Weight Loss: What Are Your Options?

Related Media: Weight Management: Changing Our Eating Habits

image for weight loss option article The prevalence of obesity has increased steadily in Western cultures over the past century, particularly during the last several decades. In fact, most health professionals agree that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic in the United States. Being overweight is closely linked to many very serious health conditions, most particularly risk factors for heart disease and stroke , including high blood pressure , high cholesterol , high triglycerides , low levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein—the "good" cholesterol), and type 2 diabetes . Fortunately, even modest reductions in weight can help improve these conditions. Plus, practicing the behavioral changes of a healthier diet and regular exercise may actually reduce these risk factors whether weight loss occurs or not.

Energy Balance: The Simple Principle of Weight Loss

Scientists often explain weight loss quite simply in terms of the energy balance equation: energy in versus energy out. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn or, in reverse, you must burn more calories than you consume.This is, of course, easier said than done. But no matter what weight loss methods you may employ—diet, exercise, medications, supplements, surgery, therapy, group support—the principle of energy balance is unavoidable. In fact, experts from both traditional and nontraditional disciplines agree that to achieve and maintain weight loss you must make changes in your diet and activity level to favorably affect the balance of the energy equation.

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