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The body needs fat to regulate temperature, keep the cells functioning, and absorb vital nutrients like vitamins A, E, and D. Further, having a healthy balance of fat and muscle also boosts your immunity and helps you maintain your skin and hair health. Overall, fat is a good thing to have around. However, as with all things in life, moderation is the key, and when you have too much body fat, you put yourself at risk of a long list of health concerns.
The Problem With Excess
Being extremely overweight, particularly if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, which puts you in the obese category, can take a significant and alarming toll on your health. For one, you leave yourself open to heart disease and strokes. You’ll also increase your blood pressure, up your chances of coming down with cancer or diabetes, and may feel the effects of osteoarthritis at a young age.
OnHealth.com notes that being just 20 percent overweight can also increase your vulnerability to these and other conditions. Perhaps most alarmingly, having an excess of fat around your midsection can negatively affect your sleep quality by causing nighttime disruptions and, for many, sleep apnea. It makes sense, then, that losing even just a few pounds of body fat can go a long way in your ambitions to improve your overall wellness.
How To Lose Body Fat
If you’ve never been one to pay much attention to your physical appearance, the thought of losing body fat might be a bit intimidating. But it does not have to be, and if you follow the advice below, you will be well on your way to improving your health one pound at a time.
Try an Appetite Suppressant
When you’re extremely overweight, you’ll find that motivation comes in the form of the numbers on the scale. Unfortunately, it does take time for your body to naturally begin losing weight. For this reason, many people opt to enhance their weight-loss endeavors by taking a supplement to reduce their appetite or to burn fat. While these are largely considered safe, talk to your doctor before you put anything into your body they have not prescribed. If you have an underlying health condition or are sensitive to any of the ingredients, you may suffer serious side effects. Do your research, and make sure that you know what is in your preferred appetite suppressant.
Incorporate Moderate Exercise Into Your Day
You likely will not be able to jump into a high-intensity workout. And that’s okay! Your body does not need to be put under undue stress in the early stages of your health quest. Instead, plan to incorporate low-intensity to moderate aerobic exercises into your day. You may be better off joining a gym that offers personal training to help you get a feel for how to exercise and how your body responds. Other ideas are to take up a leisurely activity, such as swimming or walking, and then gradually increase your intensity to things like badminton or tennis. You’ll also want to prioritize strength training, which will also help you lose body fat.
Cut Back on Bad Foods and Increase Your Intake of Good Ones
While genetics can play a role in your overall weight, lifestyle plays a huge part in the numbers on the scale. In many developed countries, part of our lifestyle is to eat foods that taste good or are convenient instead of preparing our own foods based on our health needs. Start small, perhaps substituting cereal in the mornings for a bowl of heart-healthy oatmeal. Similarly, instead of grabbing a bag of chips as a snack, consider a healthier alternative, such as a crunchy apple. Of course, eventually, you’ll need to see more healthy foods on your plate than not, and this usually means adding more vegetables to your diet. If you’re not a fruit and vegetable person, you can incorporate them into your favorite foods by doing things like grating carrots and zucchini into your meatloaf to partially replace the red meat. Cooking Light also recommends making Monday your meatless meal day.
Drink More Water
You’ve heard your entire life that you should drink eight glasses of water every day. This is a good place to start, but the reality is that you probably need much more. Most adults should strive for around 11 cups to 15 cups per day. While water itself will not burn fat and calories, Weight Watchers asserts that it will help you reduce the number of calories you intake, and this is particularly true if you tend to drink sodas or fill your coffee with sugary creamers. Even if you drink diet sodas, swapping your preferred hydration method with water may lead to other healthy choices. Something else to consider is that each system in your body has to be adequately hydrated for optimal health. This means that everything from your digestive system to your eyes will work better if you meet your daily hydration needs.
Cut Out Your Bad Habits
Overeating is not the only lifestyle factor that contributes to your health. If you’re a smoker, a drinker, or neglect your oral or mental health, you are at a higher risk of your body failing you when you need it most. Pay attention to what you do to yourself and what you put into your body. You should know that a single beer, for example, can add up to 580 calories to your daily intake, which is more than a quarter of what’s recommended for a healthy adult. Men’s Health notes that even a fairly low-calorie ale can add 160 unnecessary calories to your ledger.
Losing weight is not an overnight process. It takes time and a commitment to yourself and your well-being. But shedding the extra weight is the best way to improve yourself from the outside in. Doing so will help you feel better, sleep better, and be better in all aspects of your health.