After all that has transpired in the last few years, it’s no surprise that health is top of mind for many people and something that we are all paying more attention to. A significant contributor to your overall health is the maintenance of a healthy body weight, and there’s no time quite like the New Year to set goals for your fitness and health. To help make it a little easier, we have put together a list of some benefits of weight loss, diet and exercise tips, and other methods that can help us reach our weight loss goals when diet and exercise just aren’t enough.
The Benefits of Weight Loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the potential consequences of an unhealthy weight, specifically obesity, include an increased risk for:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breathing problems
- Joint problems and osteoarthritis
- Gallstones and gallbladder disease
- Certain cancers
- Neurodegenerative Disease
With these notable health concerns, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to your long-term wellness. Losing weight can quickly help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve your insulin sensitivity which reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or help manage the condition if you already have it.
Additionally, weight loss can also have a positive impact on mental health. Many people who struggle with their weight report feelings of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Losing weight and improving physical fitness can help to boost self-confidence and improve overall mental well-being.
Weight Loss Part 1: A Healthy Diet
Weight loss isn’t always easy, and as much as it would be wonderful to have a “magic solution” to shed the pounds, success primarily comes down to two factors: diet and exercise. To help make a healthy diet and regular exercise as simple as possible, we have put together some of our favorite tips.
A good diet for weight loss is one that is balanced, nutritious, and sustainable. It should provide you with all of your essential nutrients while limiting the intake of calorie-dense foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. In addition to helping you lose weight, a nutritious diet will also provide you with enough fuel to where you feel good and have enough energy for regular exercise. Some general tips for creating your weight loss diet are:
- Eat a variety of whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, and lots of lean protein. These foods are generally lower in calories and higher in fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Limit processed foods and added sugars. These types of foods are often high in calories and low in nutritional value.
- Control your portions. Eating oversized portions of healthy food can still lead to weight gain. Pay attention to serving sizes and try not to eat more than you need.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water can help keep you feeling full and reduce the temptation to overeat.
All these tips can seem like a lot, especially when you’re first getting started. If you’re looking for some extra guidance, check out our page on Nutritional Counseling. As an expertly trained Naturopathic physician and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Chef, Dr. Sorr has years of experience in connecting people with nourishing, delicious food, and can provide customized nutritional counseling to support your weight loss and your optimal health.
Nutritional Counseling with Source of Health has numerous options, including education and food planning, food allergy testing if you think certain foods may be hurting you, and seeing if supplements like vitamins and minerals may be a worthwhile addition to your diet. Each solution is tailored to your specific needs and involves evidence-based approaches to improving digestion, metabolic health, and longevity.
Weight Loss Part 2: Exercise
Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan, as it burns calories, helps you achieve a caloric deficit, boosts your metabolism and immune system, and contributes to many other critical health factors. However, like dieting, it can be intimidating to start exercising regularly, particularly if you haven’t in a long time. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Find an activity that you enjoy. The most important thing is to find an activity you actually like to do! If you don’t like the gym, choosing dancing, swimming, cycling, or hiking can all get you moving while giving you something to look forward to.
- Start slow and build up your endurance. Starting slow is crucial to avoiding injuries. Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts over time can help to improve your fitness level and burn more calories.
- Incorporate strength training. Resistance training helps to increase muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism and burns more calories. Resistance training can take the form of weight lifting or other workouts that target muscle development.
- Move throughout the day. If you sit for extended periods of time at home or work, try to take breaks that allow you to move around. For example, climb the stairs instead of using the elevator, or go for a walk during your lunch break.
- Consistency is key. To see results, it’s essential to be consistent with your exercise routine. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t seeing the results that you’re hoping for after only a week or two. Keep at it, and you’re sure to notice a difference in the way you look and feel!
No matter what type of exercise you prefer, The American Heart Association recommends that you get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is considered anything that increases your heart rate and breathing, but still allows you to carry on a conversation. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is activity that increases your heart rate and breathing to the point where it is difficult to carry on a conversation. You could think of the difference as “medium difficulty” versus “hard difficulty.”
Semaglutide and Tirzepatide: The Latest Tools in Weight Loss
Sometimes, various factors such as genetics mean that diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to meet your weight loss goals. Traditional medical weight loss intervention can be invasive, costly, and/or require a lot of downtime. Our team is excited by the recent emergence of two new methods of chronic weight management: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide.
Semaglutide, which goes under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic, is a medication that was originally designed as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes. However, after multiple clinical trials, the FDA approved the use of Semaglutide for chronic weight management in 2021, the first time a drug has been approved for this use since 2014.
In their approval of the drug, the FDA said, “Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.” Essentially, Wegovy tells your body that you are more full than you are, which helps you eat less food and lose weight. One of the clinical trials found that recipients who received once-weekly injections of 2.4mg of Semaglutide experienced an average weight loss of 14% more than the placebo group.
Similarly, Tirzepatide was also developed as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, specifically to treat patients with this condition who are also struggling with their weight. Tirzepatide is a dual-acting receptor agonist, mimicking both GLP-1 and GIP, incretin hormones that are released after eating and affect insulin secretion from the pancreas. In a phase 3 clinical study, recipients of 5mg, 10mg, or 15mg per week of Tirzepatide saw increased weight loss compared to the placebo group.
These are both exciting options for chronic weight management. However, to safely manage weight long term, it is crucial for patients to combine this treatment with a sustainable healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Why it’s Essential to Consult a Healthcare Professional
Weight loss is a complex and multifaceted goal that requires a combination of healthy diet, regular exercise, and a sustainable approach. Setting realistic and specific goals, tracking progress, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals or nutritionists can help increase the chances of success. It’s important to remember that weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all process and what works for one person may not work for another. By consulting with a healthcare professional, you can create a personalized plan that is safe, effective, and tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Our team at Source of Health is here to work with you to create the best approach to your health, whether that is through Nutritional Counseling and advice, helping to create a sustainable exercise regimen for you, or looking into adding pharmaceutical options and supplements to your treatment plan. All of this is done through a holistic look at your health and wellness in an effort to meet your goals. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to our team of experts for a free consultation – we would love to help you meet your health and weight loss goals this year!