Weight loss is serious business! In the United States alone, the weight loss industry is worth in excess of $60 billion. There are endless streams of commercials, both on and offline, which promise to separate your from your excess weight — as they part you from your hard-earned cash, and although many of these regimes are sound, there are more which claim that they can transform you from fat to fit in a matter of weeks. This is far from realistic. If you want to lose weight in a healthy and lasting way, you need to put in a lot of hard work.
Since losing weight is such hard work, especially if you are used to eating what you want and living a sedentary lifestyle, it is important that, along with stocking your shelves with healthy foods and buying new workout gear and picking the perfect diet and exercise regime, you make an appointment with your doctor to get yourself tested.
Find Out How Fit You Are. You see, every time you get up and exercise, you are putting pressure on your body, including vital organs like the heart. If you are fit, healthy and slim, then this is good for you – getting your heart rate pumping and moving your muscles will only have a positive impact – However, if you are a bit overweight and out of shape, you need to be more cautious. If you want to pound the pavement or lift weights without ending up in the hospital, you need to assess your fitness levels before you even get started.
You might feel like there is nothing wrong with you and there is no need to see a doctor before you start your new regime, but do you really know that for sure? You might not have had a heart attack yet, and your lungs may feel just fine, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems that could be exacerbated by sudden burst of intense exercise. Of course, most people will be absolutely fine, and the doctor will send them away with little more than the usual advice to eat and exercise modestly, building up slowly as you get fitter. But, some won’t. Some people’s doctors will find worrying signs that can be further investigated so that a bad experience can be avoided when the individual starts to exercise.
Avoid Painful Surprises. Basically, seeing your doctor before you start to get fit will help you to exercise in a manner that is safe and comfortable for you without any painful surprises such as severe chest pains and fainting. If you want to lose weight, get fit and achieve your aims, you need to know what you are working with, and having the current condition of your body assessed will help you to do that. It will also give you a base from which you can mark your progress.
If your doctor finds a problem, they will almost never tell you not to exercise or clean up your diet at all. IN fact, quite the opposite, they will encourage you to get healthy, but they will give you ideas of how you can do so without pushing beyond your limits and causing yourself even more problems. So, what exactly do you need to do?
Fitness Evaluation. If you want to exercise with confidence, you first need to get a fitness evaluation. These are checkups that will look at your overall fitness levels as well as your current health so that you can make the healthiest decisions possible for yourself.
Here are some of the tests and evaluations you might want to have as part of your own personalized fitness evaluation:
Your Health History. Perhaps most important of all, your own personal health history, including the medical histories of your family members, should be given to your doctor for evaluation, along with a breakdown of your present lifestyle. This will help the doctor to calculate any possible health risks you face now and could face in the future. You are likely to be asked about things such as your current diet, alcohol and cigarette consumption and any health issues you’ve been having. You’ll be given a basic physical exam and suggestions for your new healthy lifestyle will be taken from there.
Physical Exam. A physical exam is a must. It will rule out the symptoms of common diseases that can be worsened by sudden intense exercises, such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Ideally, you should have tests such as blood pressure exams more than once, since various outside factors such as stress can have an impact on many readings, and you’ll get a more accurate picture of your health by repeating them a few times and taking the average.
Blood Tests. Having your blood taken can highlight a number of issues. For example, it can be used to check your protein levels, the amount of cholesterol in your body and your sugar levels, to find out if you have diabetes or are at risk of heart problems. A mean platelet volume test can even be used to predict whether or not you are likely to suffer from illnesses such as anemia, stroke and even bowel disease. Since many of these things can put a strain on the internal organs, it is important to know about them before you start to exercise regularly.
Exercising When You’re at Risk. If your tests do reveal that you are at an increased risk of various illnesses and diseases unless your doctor says otherwise (and you should always ask your doctor for advice), you should still be able to exercise, but you will need to be more careful. Brisk walking, swimming, and light strength training can actually help your body when you’re suffering from things like heart disease, asthma and other major illnesses, but you need to know your limits. As well as seeking the help and advice of a doctor, you might want to think about hiring a personal trainer, who will be able to put together a safe health and fitness program for you.