You know the drill: You go to the gym and remain bent on keeping a balanced, nutritious diet. Your meals are packed with solid-quality protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. When you pair that with at least a 30 min exercise a day, you can reach those weight loss goals.
But, then there is this major setback – losing weight as an obese person is much harder than it looks. An obese patient simply doesn’t have the energy or stamina to exercise enough. It feels downright impossible to shed the extra pounds through calories burned.
Whenever you try hard enough, it feels as if your body fights back. So, what’s the right way to curb body fat? Is physical fitness more important than the food you munch on? The fact is, there is no magic pill that will miraculously make the body fat go away.
When you try to overcome obesity, it is important to know which approach works best. Not just for burning the fat, but maintaining weight loss as well. Here, we will take a closer look at the science behind weight control for those who want to lose excess weight.
Why Obesity Makes It Hard to Lose Weight?
Healthy weight loss takes more than just having the right intentions and willpower. You need dedication, persistence, and tactics that will get to the root of the problem. After all, you will be fighting your own biology.
As we curb the extra pounds, the body quickly adapts to resist the weight reduction by decreasing the metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is basically the energy spent while the body is idle. The human system slows down to conserve its energy. But also limits the additional weight loss.
Obesity is an underlying cause of many chronic health conditions. That includes unstable cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. There is nothing that obesity won’t touch. Even osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression. When we get obesity under wraps, that’s when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. And you will find it easier to mitigate obesity-related health conditions.
A 2016 study evaluated the persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after weight loss. During the trial, the average weight loss was almost 128 pounds, which is roughly a 40% drop in body weight. Their resting metabolic rate plummeted by 23% on average. In exactly 6 years, volunteers regained about 90 pounds.
However, the notable reduction in metabolic rate continued. So, even if you manage to lose weight. It is critical that you try to keep it off. According to experts, curbing obesity comes down to multiple factors. Such as regular physical activity, a healthy eating plan, a change of habits, and adequate obesity treatment programs.
Sometimes obese patients who can’t lose enough weight to work on their health or can’t keep it from coming back often need expert help. In cases such as these, doctors can suggest additional treatments.
These can include a weight-loss device, weight loss medicine, or bariatric surgery. Doctors typically ask for drastic calorie restriction to almost 300 kcal a day in massively obese hospitalized patients. This strict calorie restriction is to prepare them for surgery.
But, overall, you should lose 5% to 10% of body weight in the first 6 months of treatment. If let’s say, you weigh 200 pounds, that would mean dropping about 10 pounds. These results can decrease your odds of experiencing health issues connected to obesity and overweight. You can better manage hypertension and high cholesterol level.
What Is Considered Obese?
To start working on cardiorespiratory fitness, make sure to first recognize the difference between being overweight or obese. You can then figure out how many calories you need and how much physical activity would better suit your body. The body mass index (BMI) can help figure out your current weight status. If the body mass is 30.0 or above, this is considered obese.
A normal weight falls between 18.5 – 24.9 BMI. While overweight is a BMI of 25.0 – 29.9. If your body mass is not within the normal weight range, then you will need to start losing weight. Otherwise, obesity can lead to numerous health problems, including heart disease.
Plus, the corresponding BMI will range with how tall you are. Let’s say you are 5′ 9″ tall. A healthy weight for this height is 125 lbs – 168 lbs, with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. If your body weight is 203 lbs over, then this is obese. Now that you know what’s considered normal weight, you can mitigate the disease risk and focus on a weight-loss-centric approach.
Exercise Vs Diet: Which One Matters Most for Obesity?
Strong evidence shows that the most effective way to drop the extra weight is diet therapy. Particularly to increase protein and reduce carbohydrates. While exercise is the most effective solution for muscle retention. Resistance training is considered to yield more substantial results than aerobic activities.
The obesity epidemic is not slowing down anytime soon. Back in 2016, over 1.9 billion adults over 18 were overweight. While 650 million were struggling with obesity. Based on rough estimates, 13% of the global adult population was obese. With the global obesity prevalence almost tripling from 1975 to 2016, stated the World Health Organization.
It’s normal for an obese individual to be eager to lose weight, manage their body composition, and cardiorespiratory fitness. But, they should do so without losing as much muscle mass as possible. Building muscle is crucial not just to make your body stronger. But to also keep other bodily functions in tip-top shape.
The muscles keep our metabolic system intact. By keeping a healthy muscle mass, you improve your resting metabolism, which burns calories. With enough strength training, you improve bone health and disease control by lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and so on.
So, is diet more important than exercise for obesity? While both physical activity and diet are critical for weight loss, it’s easier to curb the caloric intake by making some changes to your diet than it is to burn plenty of calories through physical activity.
Some experts believe that weight loss is the result of 20% physical activity and 80% diet. For a ton of obese individuals, having to put the extra effort into sweating out the calories can be downright exhausting. Also, it takes plenty of time.
While adding a few changes to a diet can be done throughout the day. This often makes it a more practical weight loss solution. The goal is to avoid processed goodies that are packed with sugar and salt. The idea is to consume healthy fats, protein, fiber, and supply the system with a balanced diet.
How Is Obesity Affected by Exercise and Diet?
People often underestimate the impact exercise can have. Studies indicate that regular exercise and adequate energy intake can play a crucial role in managing and preventing negative health consequences of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Exercise is linked with better results in people who follow a diet. Plus, improving the diet and exercising (at least 60 min a day) protects obese patients from cardiovascular disease. Regardless of whether this change in lifestyle leads to weight loss.
So would physical activity alone do the trick? Not quite. One report evaluated 81 premenopausal women with a sedentary lifestyle. The volunteers took up aerobic exercise training to achieve their fat loss goals. They exercised 3 days a week for 30 min. In three months, they did notice some results. But, certain volunteers also regained some fat mass, despite their increased physical activity.
Although the study didn’t exactly talk about the reasons behind the weight gain, it’s not uncommon for people to increase their calorie intake and eat more food. That’s because a lot of them believe that the body fat they just burned was enough to justify the extra food.
Besides, the type of calories you do end up eating will have a massive impact on your intentional weight loss. For example, 100 calories from a candy bar won’t get metabolized the exact same way as eating 100 calories of broccoli.
The candy bar stimulates a spike in dopamine levels. This ends up triggering a cascade of metabolic events, which could eventually lead to obesity and diabetes. Broccoli won’t elicit such effects. It’s just a simple source of nutrients and fiber that the body needs.
For weight reduction to happen, calorie consumption should be lower. Physical activity is best added to a healthy lifestyle that’s tailored towards the heart, lung health, mobility, flexibility, stamina, and strength. Not just to lose weight, explains Beth Haney, assistant clinical professor at the University of California.
What Activities Help With Obesity?
Many people want to know what kind of exercise or activity is needed by someone who is obese. The exercise effect has noteworthy benefits. But to start improving fitness, you should ease into it. Before you jump all in to lose weight, let’s talk about healthy body composition.
The body composition varies in men and women. In women, it comprises of 36% muscle tissue, 12% essential fat, 15% non-essential fat, 12% bone, and 25% organs, etc. In men, there is 45% muscle tissue, 3% essential fat, 12% non-essential fat, 15% bone, and 25% other (organs, etc).
A healthy balance of muscle and fat is essential for proper wellness. Maintaining lean body mass helps boost longevity, energy levels, and self-esteem. It can also help avoid the health risks that come with obesity and overweight.
For someone who hasn’t been physically active in a very long time, jumping straight into vigorous exercise can do more harm than good. You will feel overwhelmed, drained, and will lose the motivation to exercise. Given your current body size, any activity where you move around can burn some calories.
Do the things you enjoy. Like brisk walking, water aerobics, dancing, swimming, etc. Feel free to try long yoga sessions, hiking, or jogging. Weight training is equally beneficial. It builds strength and helps the tendons.
Getting on a bike is another low-impact physical activity that an obese person can handle. It is practical for beginners who’ve led a sedentary lifestyle. Whether that be a road or stationary bike. Then, there is stretching. Before you go for any activity, stretching is critical to ease the soreness and avoid injuries.
For someone who is obese, it is easy to overwork the muscles. They can get extremely tight and hinder your workout progress. Stretching gently works with the muscles, allowing for a more enjoyable exercise. Then again, Improving fitness before you can work on the major muscle groups is all about consistency. So, make sure to pick the aerobic exercise that keeps you motivated.
How Long Should an Obese Person Workout?
Your goal should be at least 150 min of weekly moderate-intensity physical activity. When the body gets used to moderate exercise, you can add 75 min a week of vigorous activities. For an obese beginner and postmenopausal woman, this does look like a lot.
At the start, it doesn’t matter if your sessions last 20 min or 30 min. Do what your body can handle and slowly build towards that 30 min goal. As a matter of fact, 3 bouts of 10 minutes of moderate activity a day adds up to the exact same calorie expenditure as a 30 min physical activity.
How Much Weight Can an Obese Person Lose in a Month?
Working on your cardiorespiratory fitness takes time. Ideally, you would lose around 1 to 2 lb a week. That’s roughly 4 to 8 lb a month. Of course, everyone is different. Some may need more time to get the desired result. Others will notice the effect sooner.
When you assess your weight loss goals and energy balance, it’s important that you implement a combination of regular physical activity and healthy eating. But, if you stray off course, it’s easy to throw all your efforts down the drain.
For example, let’s say you’ve successfully managed to lose 1 pound a week. You’ve gotten to a point where you are close to achieving a healthy weight. So, you decide to reward yourself with some treats. After all, you’ve earned it. The problem is, you can gain around 0.15 pounds a week back.
The weight gain may start slowly at first. But, the more you eat, the sooner you will regain all that weight you just lost. For best results, try to avoid giving in to cravings. It will pose a challenge, but it is not one that you can’t overcome. Especially if you are focused on the goal ahead.
Note: For an obese woman after menopause, the extra weight amplifies the risk of breast cancer. The additional fat tissue raises estrogen levels. Thus making the body susceptible to this type of cancer.
Which Exercises Lose Weight Fastest?
Trials show that aerobic exercise alone provides clinically significant weight loss and health benefits for both women and men. The effects of this weight-neutral approach are so profound that makes it an essential tactic for reaching your weight reduction journey. You can do at-home aerobic workouts, like jump rope, jogging, running, walking. Or you can hit the gym and make the most of the stationary bikes, treadmills, and elliptical machines.
If you are not a fan of either, then swimming will do. It’s low-impact and practical for individuals prone to injuries, limited mobility, and slow recovery. These are all things that affect obese patients. But, most importantly, swimming can help build endurance, strength, and tone the muscles.
Another option to try would be aerobic class sessions. They offer both entertaining and effective weight loss results. You can achieve the desired results through cardio kickboxing, Zumba, and indoor cycling class. The first aerobic sessions can last around 10 min. This is normal given the fact that you haven’t exercised in a long time.
But, as you work with the body and give that fitness routine a proper boost, you will start to handle longer workouts. Eventually hitting that 30-min goal for 5 or more days a week. Choose a routine that’s safest and most effective for you. Sometimes, however, medication or medical treatment may be necessary. If you don’t know which option to try, consult with your healthcare expert or personal trainer. They can set you on the right path.