In the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness, weight loss means a reduction in average fluid loss, body fat (adipose tissue) or lean mass (i.e. bone mineral deposits, muscle, muscle, body weight) and total body mass. Weight loss occurs unintentionally due to malnutrition or an underlying disease, or may result from a conscious effort to improve the perceived overweight, obese condition. "Unexplained" weight loss that is not caused by a reduction in calorie intake or exercise is called cachexia and can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Intentional weight loss is often referred to as slimming.
Intentional weight loss is the loss of total body mass as a result of efforts to improve fitness and health or change appearance through slimming. There is evidence that weight loss can prevent its progression from the main cause of obesity treatment and prediabetes.
In overweight or obese individuals, weight loss can reduce health risks, increase fitness and delay the onset of diabetes. It can reduce pain and increase movement in people with knee osteoarthritis. Weight loss can lead to a reduction in hypertension (high blood pressure), but it is unclear whether this reduces the harm associated with hypertension. Weight loss is achieved by adopting a lifestyle that consumes less calories than is consumed. Depression, stress, or boredom can contribute to weight gain, and individuals are advised to seek medical attention in these situations.
A 2010 study found that diets who got a full night's sleep lost twice as much fat as those on a sleepless diet. While it is assumed that vitamin D supplements can help, studies do not support this. Most diets regain weight in the long term. According to the UK National Health Service and Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people who achieve and manage a healthy weight do this most successfully, by being careful to consume enough calories to meet their needs and by remaining physically active.
In order for weight loss to be permanent, changes in diet and lifestyle must also be permanent. There is evidence that counseling or exercise alone does not lead to weight loss, whereas diet alone leads to significant long-term weight loss, with the combination of diet and exercise providing the best results. Food substitutes, orlistat, and very low-calorie dietary interventions also result in significant weight loss.
Orlistat (Xenical) is the most commonly used drug to treat obesity, and sibutramine (Meridia) is a drug withdrawn due to cardiovascular side effects.
Increased fiber intake is recommended to regulate bowel movements. Other weight loss methods include the use of drugs and supplements that reduce appetite, inhibit fat absorption, or reduce stomach volume. Bariatric surgery may be indicated in severe cases of obesity. Two common bariatric surgical procedures are gastric bypass and gastric banding. Both can be effective in limiting food energy intake by reducing the size of the stomach, but as with any surgical procedure, both have their own risks that should be considered in consultation with a physician. Dietary supplements, although widely used, are not considered a healthy option for weight loss. Many are available, but few are effective in the long run.
The virtual stomach band uses hypnosis to make the brain think the stomach is smaller than it actually is, thus reducing the amount of food swallowed. This brings weight loss as a result. This method is complemented by psychological therapy and hypnopedics for anxiety management. Research has been conducted on the use of hypnosis as a weight management alternative. A study in 1996 found that cognitive-behavioral therapy was more effective at losing weight when reinforced with hypnosis. Acceptance and commitment therapy, an awareness approach to weight loss, has been shown to be beneficial. Herbal remedies have also been suggested; however, there is no strong evidence that herbal medicines are effective.
There is an important market for products that claim to make weight loss easier, faster, cheaper, more reliable or less painful. These include books, DVDs, CDs, creams, lotions, pills, rings and earrings, body wraps, body belts and other supplies, gyms, clinics, personal trainers, weight loss groups, and food products and supplements.
In 2008, between US $ 33 billion and US $ 55 billion annually on weight loss products and services, including medical procedures and medicines, were spent in the US, and weight loss centers covered 6 to 12 percent of total annual expenses. More than $ 1.6 billion was spent annually on weight loss supplements.
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