by Catherine M. Brzozowski

Weight loss isn’t just about looking good – it’s about being your healthiest.

Obesity is a common and very serious condition that is rapidly rising in the United States. Weight management is a complicated epidemic because it can contribute to many other serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The good news? Living a healthy lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet and regular exercise can greatly lower your risk of developing a serious health issue or condition. Most people have a good idea of what they should be doing to lose weight: choosing veggies over sugary snacks, exercising trumps lounging on the couch and making smart choices throughout your day helps to avoid impulsive midnight snacks.

But when your weight loss reaches a plateau, it can be hard to understand what you should do to achieve the results and goals you set. Instead of focusing on what you can do, focus on why. Why are you or aren’t you doing something? What are your barriers? Common barriers to weight loss can be broken down into four main categories: fatigue, pain, access and motivation.

Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease and sleep apnea. Many medications can also contribute to fatigue. Talk to your doctor if you feel unusually tired. It’s important to rule out health problems to better understand your overall well-being.

The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re tired is exercising, but many studies show that physical activity boosts energy levels.

One of the most common barriers to weight loss is pain. Pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain or discomfort from a past injury can limit the amount of activity one can do. It’s important to assess and manage your pain to get the treatment you need to get back on track.

Purchasing lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods can get relatively expensive, especially for those with a limited income. Add in the cost of gym memberships and other weight loss programs and you’re faced with a relatively expensive solution for weight loss.

Consider what’s available to you online. Recent studies have shown that higher intensity body-weight workouts that can be found online for free can be just as effective for weight loss. Assess your financial priorities to refuel your body with the healthy food it needs. Track your expenses to invest in it more wisely.

Many psychiatric disorders like depression have been related to weight gain. Encourage your friends and family to join you on your weight loss journey. Working as a team helps keep everyone engaged and motivated.

While many different obstacles can seem to stand between you and your goals, it’s important to realize that with any obstacle, there’s always a way to get around it. James Hill, MD, family practice physician from Chestnut Hill Hospital, will discuss barriers to weight loss and various ways to overcome them at our upcoming Breaking Down Weight Loss Barriers lecture.

Join Hill at our free weight loss lecture at Center in the Park, 5818 Germantown Ave., at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 18 to discover the key to achieving a healthy diet and active lifestyle. It’s time to take a transformational step toward a healthier you. The lecture is free, but registration is required.

To register for the April 18 presentation, please call 215-753-2000 or visit ChestnutHill.TowerHealth.org for details.

Catherine M. Brzozowski is the Director of Communications at Chestnut Hill Hospital.

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