News Archive

Weight Management

Sabra JacobsWe have been hearing a lot, these days, about weight loss and weight management programs. All you have to do is to watch an episode or two of the Biggest Loser program on television and you will see Americas obsession with weight loss and how best to shed those unwanted pounds. Still, other people may be wondering why the issue of weight management is such a big deal. In this article, I hope to share some insights about what is the ideal weight range for you and why staying within that healthy weight range is an important thing for you to do. I will also provide you with a list of things you can do to help to manage your weight more effectively.

The current estimates are that 68% of Americans today are overweight and that 34% of those people are obese (Flegal, et al., 2010) This obsession with foodeither eating too much or not enoughis a deadly one and one that is dramatically raising the costs of health care and health insurance for consumers.

First, lets see if you are within your ideal weight range. You can determine this in a variety of ways. For instance, you can use skin calipers, calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), or compare your current weight and height to healthy weight tables that you can find in your doctors office. Today, we will learn how to calculate your BMI in pounds. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1 : Multiply your weight by 703.2.

Step 2 : Multiply your height in inches by your height in inches

Step 3 : Divide the answer in Step 1 by the answer in Step 2 to find your BMI

For example, if a woman is 55 and weighs 120 pounds then:

120 X 703.2 = 84,384

65 X 65 = 4,225

84,384 / 4,225 = 19.97 which can be rounded to a BMI of 20

For example, if a man is 64 and weighs 235 pounds then:

235 X 703.2 = 165,252

76 X 76 = 5,776

165,252 / 5,776 = 28.61 which can be rounded to a BMI of 29

A BMI reading between 19 and 24 is considered ideal, between 25 and 29 is considered moderately overweight (about 15% to 30% over ideal weight), and greater than 30 is considered obese (about 40% above ideal weight).

The reason why being overweight or having other eating disorders is bad for you is because there are many chronic diseases that can arise with prolonged exposure to an unhealthy weight. For example, high blood pressure and diabetes may top the list, but these conditions are quickly followed by heart disease, kidney disease, gall bladder disease, and a wide variety of cancers including breast, ovarian, colon, rectum, and prostate cancers (Bray, 1992). Added to these physical health problems is the additional psychological toll obesity takes on people. For example, many people who are obese often feel a sense of low self-esteem, depression, and guilt for not being as thin as others. And these negative emotions only serve to make their weight problems worse as many will turn to comfort foods to help themselves feel better. So, it becomes an increasingly vicious and destructive cyclethe fatter they are, the more they eat and the more they eat, the fatter they become.

Fortunately, there are some good ways to help people obtain and maintain a healthy weight. Weight Watchers is often the preferred national weight loss program because it emphasizes, consumption of water, portion control of food, and daily moderate exercise. Just look at Jennifer Hudson to see the dramatic changes it can help you to achieve.

Here are some additional suggestions to help you to manage your weight more effectively:

Take charge of your weightdecide not to be overweight any longer

Make a commitment to lose weighttell others of your intention to lose weight

Bite and writekeep a journal of all of the foods you eat, how much, when, and how you are feeling while you eat

Avoid sitting for long periods of timedo not spend consecutive hours of time sitting and watching television or on the computer; instead, get up and mix up your activities

Dont skip mealsthis will only make you hungrier when you eat later on

Eat at a moderate pacewhen people eat quickly, they usually consume more food and more calories

Get a moderate amount of sleepwell-rested people eat less and have more energy

Narrow your food optionstry to avoid buffets where there may be too many tempting tastes for one meal

Graze, dont gorgespread your caloric intake over the whole day instead of eating them all at one meal

Read food labelsdont buy or eat foods that have excessive salt, fat, or sugar

Get a buddylosing weight with someone else helps you to lose more weight and keep it off longer

Move it and lose itthe more active you are, the more calories you use up

Suggested References :

Bray, G. (1992). Pathophysiology of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 55, 488S494S.

Flegal, K, Carroll, M., Ogden, C. amp; Curtin, L. (2010). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 19992008. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 235241.

Hales, D. (2000). An Invitation to Health: Brief Edition. Wadsworth Publishing: Belmont, CA.

Karlsson, J. et al. (1994). Predictors and Effects of Long Term Dieting on Mental Well-Being and Weight Loss in Obese Women. Appetite, 23 (1).

Ross, C. (1994). Overweight and Depression. Journal of Health amp; Social Behavior, 35 (1).

Sanderson, C. (2013). Health Psychology: Second Edition. Wiley Publishers: New York, NY.

Questions or Comments? Please contact: Sabra Jacobs, Professor of Psychology, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, 1 Bert T. Combs Drive, Prestonsburg, KY 41653; email sabra.jacobs@kctcs.edu ; call (606) 889-4778; or stop by my office Pike Building, room 209 f on the Prestonsburg Campus.