Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher; and being overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or higher. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters and is often used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

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Obesity is a health issue that’s on the rise in the U.S. Treating it requires lifestyle and behavior changes that include prioritizing healthy eating and physical activity. People with obesity are at an increased risk for serious diseases and health conditions including high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and COVID-19.

Take Action

Height, genes, metabolism, behavior, and environment can all influence your weight. If you’re having problems with your weight, talk to your doctor to determine the best course of action. Writing down what you eat and how much you exercise daily can keep you accountable to weight loss or weight maintenance goals. This Healthy Weight Action Plan can help to guide you on your weight loss journey.

Here are some things you can do to help keep your weight under control and live a healthy life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends balancing diet and exercise to lose and maintain weight – this means that the calories you get from food and drink should be balanced with the calories you use being physically active.

Losing weight at a gradual pace of about 1-2 pounds per week is ideal if you want to be successful at keeping the weight off in the long term. Weight loss and weight maintenance are about shifting behavior or lifestyle habits for the long term.

Work with your doctor and care team on a healthy eating plan that will help you get the right number of calories you need from your diet. Though calories aren’t the only way to determine a food’s nutrition, tracking them can be a good starting point on your weight loss journey. Everyone has different nutritional needs.

Eating healthy should be paired with physical activity. For overall health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. To manage weight, you can increase the time to 60 minutes. Keep in mind that common activities – like walking up and down stairs or pushing a stroller – can count toward physical activity.

Remember that environment and genetics also play a role in obesity, and that your weight management journey is personal to you.

Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, it’s important to continue eating healthy and exercising regularly to maintain your weight for the long term. The CDC has put out daily calorie recommendations for people to maintain their weight based on age, gender, and activity level. Make a habit of eating foods that have a high in nutritional value. AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY) nutritionists have outlined a few common nutrition do’s and don’ts, and the below video talks about other ways to ensure a healthy diet.

Physical activity should remain an important part of your routine as well. Here are some apps that provide free or low-cost at-home workouts.

  • Strava: If you enjoy being outdoors, Strava is a great way to track your runs, walks, and bikes. The app also lets you follow friends, so you can keep each out accountable on your workouts.
  • Nike Training Club: The Nike Training Club app offers a library of at-home workouts. Users can filter by type of workout – from yoga to HIIT classes – as well as time and equipment available. (Yes, “no equipment” is an option!)
  • ClassPass: Available for a monthly fee, ClassPass offers access to both in-person gym workouts and at-home virtual classes.

With more than 2,700 locations across the country, the YMCA is also a great community fitness resource. Click here to find the gym near you.

AdvantageCare Physicians is part of the EmblemHealth family of companies.

A weight loss journey can be difficult, especially if you are not seeing results as quickly as you would like. But, be mindful that even small steps can have big health benefits. The CDC says that weight loss of just 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can lead to improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

Talking to friends and family and creating an accountability system may help to make the journey easier. For example, if a friend is hosting a party, you could check in with them before the event to ask about the food options and then plan accordingly. Friends and family can also be there to observe your lifestyle changes and make sure that you are losing weight in a healthy way.

It might be helpful to talk with a mental health professional or others with obesity who understand how you feel. Your doctor can recommend a mental health professional for you and may know of a local support group as well.

Communicating your needs can help you to stay on your weight loss journey without sacrificing fun or social events. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has a list of tips for how to eat healthy when dining out. For example, consider asking if the restaurant can serve fat-free milk rather than whole milk; or ask for salad dressing and any sauce on a main course to be put on the side.

It’s also important to communicate any struggles you may be having. People who are successful in their weight loss journey often rely on support from others to help them through challenging periods. It can also be helpful to go through weight loss with a partner who is also trying to lose weight to help stay motivated.

Always talk with your doctor about your condition, any concerns you have, or changes to your health.


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