Obesity is both a chronic disease on its own and a risk factor for other diseases — the heavier you are, the sicker you often become. Learn some of the biggest weight worries and smart ways to tip the scale in your favor.
I try diets but can't stick with them. How can I get the willpower?
Rule number one of dieting: Willpower alone doesn't work. Researchers have specifically tested this. A 2016 study found that participants who practiced willpower exercises for six weeks didn't improve their self-control issues. What should you try instead? Brainpower — that is, thinking about and planning how you eat. For instance, don't keep junk food in the house. And if you're going out to eat, check the menu online first and know what you're going to order. Also try mindful eating — focusing on and savoring each bite of food you eat in the moment and pausing between bites to do so. It may help control binge eating and emotional eating, a 2014 study analysis in Obesity Reviews showed. The good news: Getting older may help you take back control. “Our weight-loss research has found that older adults were more successful with adhering to a weight-reducing diet than young adults were,” says physician Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Do I eat too much sugar?
Even without knowing your diet, the answer most likely is yes. Manufactured foods now feature “Added Sugars” on the nutrition label. That's your key to avoiding too much sugar intake, Klein adds. Reduce or eliminate added sugars from your diet while not worrying so much about natural sugars in fruits, for example. Added sugars show up in pasta sauces, flavored yogurts, breads and even salad dressings. While you're cutting sugar, try to eat more beans and lentils. A 2018 study in Clinical Nutrition found that subjects who ate the most beans and lentils had the lowest risk of diabetes.