What Do You Have to Lose?

Focus on Weight Management for a Healthy Lifestyle

From cleanses and detoxes to fad diets, people will try just about anything to lose weight.

While most people focus only on how to meet their weight-loss goal, making lifestyle changes can improve overall health. Research has shown that your health can be greatly improved by a loss of just 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight. 

“Being at a healthy weight can decrease your risk for diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and high cholesterol. For many, being at a healthy weight also makes them feel better and improves their self confidence and self-esteem. Even losing 10 pounds has shown to decrease blood pressure and blood sugar, which could mean fewer prescription medications over your lifetime,” said Eva Imperial, MD, at Spring Valley Family Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

Weight management is even more important if you have other health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol. The effects of these conditions can worsen with poor diet and exercise habits.

If you want to get to a healthy weight and stay there, making lifestyle changes works better than dieting.

Dr. Eva Imperial

“Start with small changes, such as cutting down on tea and sodas or taking a short walk each day,” said Dr. Imperial. “Evaluate your lifestyle and be honest about what you are eating. Even an extra 100 to 150 calories per day can lead to gaining 10 pounds per year.”

If you start to feel discouraged or overwhelmed, focus on the little things you can do to improve your health in the long run instead of how much weight you want to lose.

“Tell yourself that you are making positive health changes for life, not for a ‘diet’ or a fad. It takes time to take weight off and to continue to make healthy choices to maintain weight loss,” said Dr. Imperial.

Some people benefit from following a structured program to develop healthy lifestyle habits, while others use a self-paced approach. According to Dr. Imperial, the ultimate key is accountability. Most people are successful if they have to report to their doctor, attend a weekly weigh-in or follow up with their workout buddies.

“Find out what works for you, whether it’s a medically supervised weight-loss program, getting a personal trainer or joining a gym. There are only positive benefits to eating healthier and staying physically active.”


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