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You don’t need a fad diet to lose weight

Editorial Board • Oct 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that while Tennessee remains at high risk for obesity, ranking 14th in the nation, it has made tremendous progress, no doubt thanks to healthy initiatives on the state and local level.

For 10 years, Tennessee was in the top 10 list of states with the highest level of obesity and as recently as two years ago was the fourth-worst state with an adult obesity rate of 33.78 percent. That’s dropped to a rate of 31.2 percent, but that’s not good enough.

Every state is above 20 percent. Arkansas has the highest adult obesity rate at 35.9 percent, while Colorado has the lowest at 21.3 percent.

The data show that 23 of 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South and Midwest.

Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. Overweight refers to increased body weight in relation to height, which is then compared to a standard of acceptable weight.

Go online to check your BMI — there are numerous sites that give you that information. As well, you can find plenty of information online on losing weight.

Bottom line, you will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume.

The last thing you should do is go on one of those diets you read about. You see the ads for amazing success stories; some are true. But for the vast majority, fad diets do nothing to take off weight and keep it off.

You may lose for a while, but the chances are you’ll put the weight right back on, and you put yourself at health risk by doing that.

The most weight you should lose is three pounds a week; no more. And the best way to do that is to make two changes to your lifestyle: eat less and exercise more.

If you burn just 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose one to two pounds.

For many folks with poor eating habits, an easy way to do that is to cut out high-calorie snacks, and, stop drinking high-calorie soft drinks.

You should eat a diet that minimizes starches, added sugars and animal fat from meat and dairy foods, and focus more on fruits, vegetables, egg whites, soy products, skinless poultry, nonfat dairy foods and 95 percent lean meat. Eat vegetables to help you feel full and drink plenty of water.

But plan on exercise. If you’re an older person, start walking, short trips around the block to begin with and then extending your walks weekly. Losing weight can be fun. It can be exceptionally rewarding. And it doesn’t take a fad diet or a significant change in your lifestyle to accomplish.

Good luck.

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