As mentioned, inflammatory autoimmune diseases, like psoriasis, increase your risk for other health complications. Being overweight further compounds your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
To minimize your risk of these related and other diseases, it's important to maintain a healthy weight.
To help identify what is a healthy weight for you, calculate your body mass index (BMI.) You can use this calculator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. One pound equals 3,500 calories. If you cut 500 a day from your diet, you will lose a pound a week. People who lose weight slowly, about 1 to 2 pounds per week, are more successful at keeping the weight off. You also will burn additional calories if you increase your physical activity.
Your weight loss plan should:
- Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Contain foods low in saturated fats, avoid trans fats, limit cholesterol and salt (sodium)
- Avoid refined sugars and processed foods.
Some tips to help you lose weight:
- Keep a food diary. Studies have shown that writing down everything you eat is a critical part of sustained weight loss. Noting how you feel when you eat will help you identify emotional triggers that may cause you to overeat.
- Eat slowly. If you eat too fast, you eat more than you need to satisfy your hunger. Your brain needs time to catch up with your stomach.
- Plan your meals ahead of time so you make healthy choices. When dining out, check the menu online and decide what you will order ahead of time. Ask for dressings on the side and opt for foods that are baked, broiled or steamed versus foods that are fried or in creamy sauces. Avoid the chips and bread baskets that can add unnecessary calories to a meal.
- Eat when you're truly hungry rather than when you are tired, anxious, or stressed. Emotional eaters tend to overeat.
- Stay hydrated. Oftentimes people mistake thirst for hunger.
- Eat breakfast. If you skip this meal, you'll be starving by lunchtime and will have more difficulty making healthy choices throughout the day.
- Find resources to help you keep track of your food choices and nutritional values, and that can offer additional support when you need it. Potential resources include CalorieKing.com and MyFitnessPal.com, which offer a searchable database of foods with nutritional values.
If you're overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss approach that's right for you.