How to lose weight is one of the most pressing health questions for many people.
People gain weight by consuming more energy than they burn, so consuming fewer calories, or energy, can help. However, other factors play a role, such as genetic factors, metabolism, hormones, the type of food you eat, your body type, and lifestyle.
This article will review reasons to lose weight, the most effective methods, and medical interventions.
Health experts around the world now see obesityTrusted Source as an epidemic.
Every year, at least 2.8 million people die due to complications related to excess weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity was 42.4%Trusted Source of adults in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018.
Obesity affects some groups more than others. According to the CDC, 49.6% of Non-Hispanic Black adults are obese, followed by 44.8% of Hispanic adults, 42.2% of non-Hispanic White adults, and 17.4% of non-Hispanic Asian adults.
The health risks of excess weight include:
- a higher risk of diabetes
- certain types of cancer
There are many reasons for losing weight:
- Appearance: Some people may feel that if they lose weight, they will look more attractive, fitter, or healthier.
- Confidence and body image: Some people with excess weight or obesity may feel uncomfortable about their appearance.
- Overall health: Maintaining an appropriate weight can help to boost overall health and prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
- Specific conditions: Symptoms of sleep apnea or type 2 diabetes, for example, may improve or go away when a person loses excess weight.
- Fitness: A weight-loss program that involves exercise can leave a person feeling fitter, with more energy and stamina.
- Sports competitions: In some sports, such as boxing, an individual may seek to control their weight to stay in their existing weight category.
- Fertility: Fertility treatment appears to be more effectiveTrusted Source in women with obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) if they lose some weight before treatment.
Many diet plans make weight-loss claims. It can be difficult to know if they are true.
Some are evidence-based, safe, and effective, but others are not. Many health professionals, dietitians, and nutritionists agree that the best results tend to come from combining a healthy, weight-reduction diet with physical activity, especially in the long term.
This 2017 article discusses nine popular diets rated by experts.
It is not always possible to know how effective a diet will be.
Many factors determine how many calories a person should eat per day to lose weight.
Some of these factors include:
- desired weight loss
- desired speed of weight loss
Below are the daily calorie recommendations for adults from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Daily recommended calorie consumption for males:
- Sedentary: 2,600
- Moderately active: 2,800
- Active: 3,000
- Sedentary: 2,400
- Moderately active: 2,600-2,800
- Active: 3,000
- Sedentary: 2,200-2,400
- Moderately active: 2,400-2,600
- Active: 2,800-3,000
- Sedentary: 2,000-2200
- Moderately active: 2,200-2,400
- Active: 2,400-2,800
Daily recommended calorie consumption for females:
Age 19 to 30 years
- Sedentary: 1,800 to 2,000
- Moderately active: 2,000 to 2,200
- Active: 2,400
Age 31-50 years
- Sedentary: 1,800
- moderately active: 2,000
- Active: 2,200
Age 51+ years
- Sedentary: 1,600
- Moderately active: 1,800
- Active: 2000 to 2,200
If a person wants to lose weight, they should consume fewer calories than the amounts listed above. It is important to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet.
A person should check with a dietitian, nutritionist, or doctor, if possible, before changing their diet.
A person should make sure their carbohydrate, protein, and fat ratios are suitable for good health.
- Are fats good for you?
- What are carbohydrates?
- What are proteins?
A meal plan should be balanced in terms of nutrients, as a poor diet and malnutrition can occur regardless of calories. A poor diet can also lead to a low mood and loss of motivation.
When a person has reached their target body weight, they should gradually increase their daily intake of calories until they reach their “weight maintenance” figure.
A person can control their body weight successfully by combining a well-balanced diet with regular exercise.
If a person gets adequate sleep, it also could help them control their weight. A 2018 reviewTrusted Source states that there is scientific evidence that impaired sleep may lead to enhanced appetite, cravings, and a decrease in motivation to perform physical activity.
There are many ways a person can control their weight after losing weight. Some helpful options include:
- Avoid restrictive diets: Too much calorie restriction can slow downTrusted Source the metabolism and alter hormones that regulate appetite. This can cause weight gain.
- Exercise: A 2013 studyTrusted Source shows that exercising for 200 minutes per week can help maintain weight loss.
- Eat more protein: Protein can make a person feel fullTrusted Source and reduce hunger.
- Be mindful of carbs: Some studiesTrusted Source have found a low-carb diet can help keep weight off after losing it in some cases.
Some health professionals and researchers believe that dieting and weight-loss efforts may lead to further weight gain and poorer health.
A 2021 studyTrusted Source of 60 women, ages 20-30, found that those with an individualized diet plan paired with goal-oriented psychotherapy saw more weight loss over the long term.
This study states that primary cause of obesity is the inability to control overeating, so obesity should be treated as an eating disorder. Supporting weight loss with psychotherapy can help mitigate the negative effects of issues arising from traditional diets.