What Is Extreme Obesity?

A healthy BMI ranges from 17.5 – 25 kg/m2. If your body mass index is 40 or higher, you are considered extremely obese (or morbidly obese.) Several websites and smartphone apps offer tools to measure and calculate your BMI.

A woman is extremely obese if she’s 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds, making her BMI 40.3 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 24.8, she would have to lose 90 pounds to reach a weight of 145 pounds.

A man is extremely obese if he’s 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds, making his BMI 40.4 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 25.0, he would need to lose 120 pounds to reach a weight of 195 pounds.

Doctors use BMI to define severe obesity rather than a certain number of pounds or a set weight limit, because BMI factors weight in relation to height.

Why Should I Lose Weight?

If you’re extremely obese, losing weight can mean less heart disease, less diabetes and less cancer. Metabolic improvements start to occur when people with extreme obesity lose about 10 percent of their body weight. Losing weight can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke; risk factors like high blood pressure, plasma glucose and sleep apnea. It can also help lower your total cholesterol, triglycerides and raise “good” cholesterol — HDL.

How Can I Lose Weight?

If you’re extremely obese, taking action to lose weight and improve your health may seem overwhelming. You may have had trouble losing weight or maintaining your weight loss, been diagnosed with medical problems and endured the social stigma of obesity.
Get started by finding a compassionate doctor with expertise in treating extreme obesity. Become more active, but don’t start a vigorous workout program without getting physician advice and not until you’ve lost about 10 percent of your body weight. Some people with extreme obesity may have health issues like arthritis or heart disease that could limit or even be worsened by exercise. Talk to your doctor about the health benefits and the risks of treatment options for extreme obesity:

  1. Change your diet. You may be referred to a dietician who can help you with a plan to lose one kilogram per week. To lose weight, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume. Reduce calories by 500 calories per day to lose about a one pound a week, or cut 1,000 calories a day to lose about two pounds a week. Several diet apps like Noom, Healthify and MyFitnessPal allow you to calculate your calories.
  2. Consider adding physical activity after reaching a minimum of 10 percent weight-loss goal.
  3. Some people can benefit from medication to help with weight loss for extreme obesity, but only after consultation with a medical expert. Keep in mind that medication can be expensive and have side effects.
  4. If changing your diet, getting more physical activity and taking medication haven’t helped you lose enough weight, bariatric or “metabolic” surgery may be a last-resort option for those who are healthy enough for the procedure and have been unsuccessful with lifestyle changes and medication. Risks can include infections and potentially dangerous blood clots soon after the operation, and concerns about getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals long-term.
  5. Although some people can modify their lifestyle and lose weight on their own, many need extra help. A social support system can help encourage your progress and keep you on track. Decide what support best fits your needs — either a weight-loss support group or one-on-one therapy.
  6. Some people with extreme obesity suffer from depression. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment, as some anti-depressant medications can cause weight gain.

How Do I Keep The Weight Off?

OK, you’ve lost some weight. Now you can relax, right? Not so fast! Maintaining weight loss can take just as much effort as losing it. Here are some tips:

  • Know your triggers, roadblocks and favorite excuses. We all have them!
  • Don’t kid yourself. This is a long-term effort. The first year or two after significant weight loss may be the hardest, but if you can stick it out you’re more likely to make it in the long run.
  • Learn from others who’ve succeeded and follow their example.
  • Make sure you have a social support network of friends, family and health professionals who will support your new healthy habits.
  • Find healthy ways to motivate yourself to stick with it.
  • At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make.
  • For people trying to keep weight off, exercise is even more essential. Opt for 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week to keep those extra pounds from creeping back.
  • Avoid lapsing and relapsing. A lapse is a small mistake or slip into old habits. This can happen when you have a bad day and overeat or skip your workout. A relapse is when you go back to old habits for several days or weeks. To get back on track, try to find new, healthier ways to handle life’s stresses besides overeating or becoming one with your couch.

Content source: Heart.org

Consult Dr. Renuka