Weight gain: Managing it throughout life is not only difficult, but also critical for good health.
Indeed, weight gain and keeping extra pounds on is a key predictor in a number of diseases and leads to the deterioration of staying healthy. Excess weight can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other problems often associated with aging.
“Our lifestyles are negatively impacting us,” said Stephanie Spaide, a registered dietitian and clinical Service Manager, Lahey Medical Weight Loss Center. “We’re genetically programmed to like sweets and fat and store fat for lean times, but most of us don’t experience lean times.”
Today, about 7 in 10 Americans are obese or overweight, but only 36 percent think they have a weight problem, according to a 2016 Gallup poll.
One reason we like food a little too much, Spaide said, is because it has become a recreational pastime and emotional comfort.
“Keeping structure is really important, and anything we can do more inefficiently is good,” she said. “Things like drive-thrus are detrimental to our health because we don’t have to get out of the car for anything.”
In an attempt to make our lives more inefficient, and thus healthier, small measures like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking slightly farther away from the door help in getting some additional exercise.
Another factor to increasing weight could be portion size. Spaide said a healthy serving portion is about “the size of the palm of your hand.”
“We have to eat less,” she said. “Food is much more affordable, so we think of these huge portions as being normal.”
Still, staying at a healthy weight and not gaining is easier than trying to take it off.
If, however, you find yourself in the position of needing to lose weight, three factors will influence whether or not you’re successful: stress, meal-timing, and sleep.
“Get on the scale regularly so you’re mindful of what is going on with your weight,” said Dr. Amanda Powell, the Medical Director of Lahey Medical Weight Loss Center.
People often underestimate what they eat throughout the day, Powell said. Everything consumed, from snacking and grazing to cream in coffee needs to be watched if you’re trying to lose pounds.
“We have to be mindful of how much our body needs and eat good quality foods,” Powell said. “And getting some form of activity is critical.”