Dennis B. Kottler, MD
Westlake Village, CA
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Millions of Americans are plagued by excess weight. And the problem has been getting steadily worse. In fact "Waist" Management has become a major industry in the US and around the developed world.
First, it is necessary to determine how much weight needs to be lost. The BMI, body mass index, provides this information. It is a calculation based on your weight and height.
To calculate your BMI click here: BMI
A Few Words of Caution
Several diets have been popularized to deal with the epidemic of obesity. Some of these diets advocate very low fat and high protein. Other diets advocate high fat and very low carbohydrate. There are many other very radical diets, limited only by the imagination, it seems. And, in fact, most of these diets work quite well in the short term. However, they differ in the degree and manner in which they may cause physical harm.
For example, a diet very high in fat may cause excess cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. This may, over time, predispose an individual to heart disease. Furthermore, the high fat diet (which is usually also very high in protein) results in the production of ketones, metabolic breakdown products of fat, and the production of ammonia, a metabolic breakdown product of protein. Both of these substances can be physically harmful, in the extreme leading to alterations in mental state, and rarely, a comatose state, especially if one has other medical problems
The Sensible Approach Works Best
Cutting back in total calories, maintaining some reasonable balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, and altering lifestyle, will produce the best long-term results in maintaining an appropriate weight. It may take longer to reach a weight goal this way then with a more drastic diet, but the results can be maintained for life. The healthy lifestyle should of course include regular exercise and substituting other social activities for "getting together" and just eating.
We can quit tobacco completely. The same goes for alcohol. Food, however, is a much more complicated problem, since abstinence is obviously not compatible with life. Unfortunately, it is often easier to do something in the extreme rather than in moderation. Perhaps this is the attraction of the many "radical" diets available. Yet the only reasonable approach to weight loss involves lifestyle change, both in moderating food intake and increasing exercise. This approach can be continued for life, unlike the more radical approaches which may lead to temporary success and then a rollercoaster ride back to obesity.
Article by Author: "Why We Are Fat And What We Can Do About It
(This article introduces the
(This article introduces the "calorie deficit" approach to losing weight, an alternative to the cumbersome traditional approach of counting calories. There is also a discussion of the psychological and interpersonal factors which can sabotage weight loss. Understanding these roadblocks can often pave the way to normal weight).
Additional Suggested Readings
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