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Want to use Weight Watchers. History of skipped heartbeats and abnormal BP. How to lose weight safely?

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Practicing since : 2003
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Hi. I'm 54 years old, 5 feet tall and I weight 232 pounds. I'm about to begin Weight Watchers, so I'm trying to do something about that. But I'm nervous. The last time I lost 43 pounds in 6 months, I developed skipped heart beats and my blood pressure went to 180 over 110. I'm now on blood pressure medications. I was on Slim Fast and became quite ill. I stabilized after I gained the weight again. My doctor says to accept myself as I am, but my knees hurt and I just don't feel well being this heavy. I feel paralyzed. I'm afraid to stay obese and also afraid to hurt myself even further by losing too much weight. I've read about people losing 100 pounds and then dying of a heart attack, or getting diabetes. I don't know what to do. If I lose the weight, how can I safeguard my body while doing so? Or should I just do what my doctor says and accept myself as I am?
Posted Mon, 8 Apr 2013 in Weight Loss
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 2 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

For a height of 5 feet and a weight of 232 pounds, your Body Mass Index (BMI) works out to 45.3, which indicates that you are severely obese.

Such severe obesity can be associated with a lot of health risks and your knee pain is most likely due to your overweight. So, in my opinion, losing weight is essential in your case. However, the first and the foremost thing to do is to PLAN your weight reduction programme properly. Overenthusiastic efforts initially and later on losing motivation will not help. Moreover, sudden excessive weight loss is also not good for your health and like you have mentioned, can lead to medical problems. So, the first step is to set a healthy weight loss target. I would say that a modest and target of about 3 - 4 pounds a month would be realistic as well as safe.

The second step is planning your diet properly. Remember, diet control is not just about "how less you eat". Rather it's about how healthy and balanced you eat. You should cut down on high calorie, high fat unhealthy foods, and at the same time substitute it with fibre-rich, nutritious foods. Since you have previously developed medical complications after a drastic weight loss program, I would suggest that you avoid any "crash diets" or high protein diets, but rather have a more balanced and healthy diet.

A good dietery regimen should be combined with a good exercise regimen. Again, its better to start slow and go steady. Aerobic exercises can not only help in reducing weight but are also good for the heart and lowering your BP. I would advise you to refrain from any rigorous work-outs or any weight-training (anaerobic) exercise regimes.

Finally, keep monitoring your progress regularly (for example, checking your weight every week). This will not only keep you in track in your weight loss plan, but will also prevent you from losing motivation.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
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