Weight Loss

Intentional weight loss refers to the loss of total body mass in an effort to improve fitness and health, and/or to change appearance.

Therapeutic weight loss, in individuals who are overweight or obese, can decrease the likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes,[7] heart disease,[8]high blood pressure,[8] osteoarthritis,[9] and certain types of cancer.[8] While being overweight had been thought[8] to be linked to stroke there is no strong evidence to support that link.[10]

Attention to diet in particular can be beneficial in reducing the impact of diabetes and other health risks of an overweight or obese individual.

Weight loss occurs when an individual is in a state of negative thermodynamic flux: when the body is exerting more energy (i.e. in work and metabolism) than it is consuming (i.e. from food or other nutritional supplements), it will use stored reserves from fat or muscle, gradually leading to weight loss.

It is not uncommon for some people who are currently at their ideal body weight to seek additional weight loss in order to improve athletic performance, and/or meet required weight classification for participation in a sport. However, others may be driven by achieving a more attractive body image. Notably, beingunderweight is associated with health risks such as difficulty fighting off infection, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, trouble regulating body temperature and even increased risk of death.[11]

There are many diet plans and recipes that can be helpful for weight loss. While some are classified as unhealthy and potentially harmful to one’s general health, others are recommended by specialists. Diet plans are generally designed according to the recommended caloric intake but it is important to note that the most successful diets are those that simultaneously promote physical activity.There are many dietary programs that claim to be efficient in helping overweightindividuals to lose weight with no effort. However, the long-term efficacy of these plans is questionable.

Intentional weight loss is, in most cases, achieved with the help of diets since dietary restriction is generally more manageable than making a significant change in one’s lifestyle (although weight loss is generally associated with some degree of change in lifestyle habits) or beginning to practice a sport. In that regard, a wide variety of dietary strategies have been designed to meet the needs of individuals seeking to lose excess weight. Calorie-restriction strategies are one of the most common dietary plans. Notably, daily calorie consumption for dietary purposes vary depending on a number of factors including, age, gender, weight loss goals, and many more. For instance, nutritionists suggest that a minimum of 1,200 daily calories should be consumed by women in order to maintain health. The daily calorie consumption by men, on the other hand, could approach 1,500.[12] It is important to note that these recommendations primarily target relatively healthy individuals who seek weight loss for a better body tonus. However, individuals whose obesity places them at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions, may follow a stricter diet, but only under the close monitoring of a physician and/or specialist. In some cases, obese individuals may need to restrict their daily calorie intake to 800 or even 500.[12] According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy individuals seeking to maintain their weight should consume 2,000 calories per day.[13]

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 Executive Summary, which was released on 31 January 2011, those that achieve and manage a healthy weight do so most successfully by being continuously vigilant in taking in only the amount of calories that meet their needs and with physical activity.

Low-calorie regimen diets are also referred to as balanced percentage diets. Due to their minimal detrimental effects, these types of diets are most commonly recommended by nutritionists. In addition to restricting calorie intake, a balanced diet also regulates macronutrient consumption. Therefore, from the total number of allotted daily calories, 55% should come from carbohydrates, 15% from protein, and 30% from fats with no more than 10% of total fat coming from saturated forms.[14] For instance, a 1,200 calorie diet would consist of no more than 660 calories from carbohydrates, 180 from protein, and 360 from fat. Although counting calories seems difficult altogether, the long term benefits of calorie restriction are many. After reaching the desired body weight, the amount of calories consumed per day may be increased gradually, without exceeding 2,000 net (i.e. derived by subtracting calories burned by physical activity from calories consumed). Combined with increased physical activity, low-calorie diets are thought to be most effective long term, unlike crash diets which can achieve short term results, at best. Physical activity could greatly enhance the efficiency of a diet. The healthiest weight loss regimen, therefore, is one that consists of a balanced diet and moderate physical activity.

The golden rule in weight loss is to avoid foods that are high in fats, which contribute to increased body mass and are detrimental to the overall health. Further, weight gain has been associated with excessive alcohol consumption.Depression, stress or boredom may also contribute to weight increase,and in these cases, individuals are advised to seek medical help. A 2010 study found that dieters who got a full night’s sleep more than doubled the amount of fat loss compared to sleep-deprived dieters.[15][16]

Therapeutic weight loss techniques

See also: Management of obesity, Bariatrics, and Virtual gastric band

The least intrusive weight loss methods, and those most often recommended, are adjustments to eating patterns and increased physical activity, generally in the form of exercise. Physicians will usually recommend that their overweight patients combine a reduction of processed foods[17] and caloric content of the diet with an increase in physical activity.[18]

An increase in fiber intake is also recommended for regulating bowel movements.

Other methods of weight loss include use of drugs and supplements that decrease appetite, block fat absorption, or reduce stomach volume. Application of such medications, however, should only be performed under the strict supervision of a physician and/or specialist.

Finally, surgery (i.e. bariatric surgery) may be used in more severe cases to artificially reduce the size of the stomach, thus limiting the intake of food energy.

Dietary supplements, though widely used, are not considered a healthy option for weight loss. Even though a wide array of these products is available to the public, very few are effective long term.

Bariatric surgery is usually considered a last resort in treating severe obesity and it consists of two main procedures: gastric bypass and gastric banding.

Virtual gastric band uses hypnosis to make the brain think the stomach is smaller than it really is and hence lower the amount of food ingested. This brings as a consequence weight reduction. This method is complemented with psychological treatment for anxiety management and with hypnopedia. In 1996 a study revealed that hypnosis reinforced with cognitive-behavioral therapy was more effective than just CBT for weight reduction.[19]

  1. Butler ME (September 2001). “Diabetes study shows value in diet, exercise”. U.S. Medicine. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008.http://web.archive.org/web/20080423042119/http://www.usmedicine.com/article.cfm?articleID=261&issueID=30.
  2. Lean ME (August 2000). “Pathophysiology of obesity”. Proc Nutr Soc59 (3): 331–6. doi:10.1017/S0029665100000379. PMID10997648.
  3. “Prevalence of various medical conditions increases with overweight and obesity”. American Obesity Association. 2005. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070122121959/http://www.obesity.org/subs/fastfacts/Health_Effects.shtml.
  4. Curioni C, André C, Veras R; (Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group) (2006). “Weight reduction for primary prevention of stroke in adults with overweight or obesity”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD006062 (Orig. rev.). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006062.
  5. “Being underweight poses health risks”. Mayo Clinic. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007.http://web.archive.org/web/20070304150801/http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2005-mchi/2796.html. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
  6. “Tips for losing weight”. Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001940.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  7. “The 2000 Calorie Diet – and the RDAs”. http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/2000-calorie-diet.php. Retrieved 2010-07-19.Template:Need medrs
  8. “1200 Calorie Diet”. http://diet.lovetoknow.com/wiki/1200_Calorie_Diet. Retrieved 2010-07-19.Template:Need medrs
  9. Nedeltcheva, AV; Kilkus, JM; Imperial, J; Schoeller, DA; Penev, PD (2010). “Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.”. Annals of internal medicine153 (7): 435–41. doi:10.1059/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006. PMC2951287. PMID 20921542. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/.
  10. Harmon, Katherine (4 October 2010). “Sleep might help dieters shed more fat”. Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=sleep-might-help-dieters-shed-more-2010-10-04. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  11. “World Health Organization recommends eating less processed food”. BBC News. 3 March 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2814253.stm.
  12. “Choosing a safe and successful weight loss program”. Weight-control Information Network. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. April 2008. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/choosing.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  13. Kirsch, Irving. “Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioural weight loss treatments : Another meta-reanalysis.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. [1]