When You Are Overweight: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

If you're overweight, your doctor may recommend that you make changes in your eating and exercise habits. Being overweight can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis, or it can make these problems worse. Eating a healthy diet and being more active can help you reach and stay at a healthy weight.

You don’t have to make huge changes all at once. Start by making small changes in your eating and exercise habits. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. You can do this by eating healthy foods in reasonable amounts and becoming more active every day.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Improve your eating habits. You'll be more successful if you work on changing one eating habit at a time. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Remember to:
    • Eat a variety of foods from each food group. Include grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods.
    • Limit foods high in fat, sugar, and calories.
    • Eat slowly. And don't do anything else, such as watch TV, while you are eating.
    • Pay attention to portion sizes. Put your food on a smaller plate.
    • Plan your meals ahead of time. You'll be less likely to grab something that's not as healthy.
  • Get active. Regular activity can help you feel better, have more energy, and burn more calories. If you haven't been active, start slowly. Start with at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Then gradually increase the amount of activity. Try for 60 or 90 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. There are a lot of ways to fit activity into your life. You can:
    • Walk or bike to the store. Or walk with a friend, or walk the dog.
    • Mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow, or do some gardening.
    • Use the stairs instead of the elevator, at least for a few floors.
  • Change your thinking. Your thoughts have a lot to do with how you feel and what you do. When you're trying to reach a healthy weight, changing how you think about certain things may help. Here are some ideas:
    • Don't compare yourself to others. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
    • Pay attention to how hungry or full you feel. When you eat, be aware of why you're eating and how much you're eating.
    • Focus on improving your health instead of dieting. Dieting almost never works over the long term.
  • Ask your doctor about other health professionals who can help you reach a healthy weight.
    • A dietitian can help you make healthy changes in your diet.
    • An exercise specialist or personal trainer can help you develop a safe and effective exercise program.
    • A counsellor or psychiatrist can help you cope with issues such as depression, anxiety, or family problems that can make it hard to focus on reaching a healthy weight.
  • Get support from your family, your doctor, your friends, a support group—and support yourself.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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