Putting on weight doesn’t just mean a bigger waist and ‘growing’ out of your clothes. It also means an increased risk of developing debilitating health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, gout, sleep apnoea and some cancers.
Fat is deposited on our bodies when the energy (kilojoules) we consume from food and drink is greater than the energy used in activities and at rest. Small imbalances over long periods of time can cause you to become overweight or obese.
Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organization using the body mass index (BMI). This is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. People with a BMI of 25 or more are classified as overweight and people with a BMI of 30 or greater are classified as obese. BMI calculations used for adults are not a suitable measure of weight for children or adolescents. A dietician or GP can assess a child’s weight using a special BMI chart, together with weight and height growth charts.
BENEFITS OF LOSING WEIGHT:
However, the good news is that losing even a few kilos of excess weight can have benefits by decreasing your risk of developing chronic health problems and improving your overall health and well-being, so you feel better, have more energy, and can do things more easily. Shedding a few kilos also makes it easier to treat any such conditions you may have and in some cases, avoiding or decreasing your need for medicines to treat any such conditions.
As many of us know, losing weight is much easier said than done. Just as you didn’t put on the weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight - it takes time and effort. Essentially, to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories and be more physically active, that is you need to use more energy than you consume. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and being physically active is the best way to stay healthy and help reduce your risk of disease. These changes should be things that you can maintain as part of your lifestyle – that way you will lose weight and keep it off.
EATING A BALANCED NUTRITIOUS DIET:
To lose weight permanently, you need to make a few easy changes to your eating habits.
* Aim to eat a wide variety of food from all food groups. Ensure every day that you eat from the following food groups - wholegrain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, milk and dairy, and meat, fish or legumes and where possible choose low fat varieties.
* Reduce your intake of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. Make soft drinks, lollies and snack foods an occasional 'extra'. Most adults should eat no more than one or two 'treats' a day. If you are overweight or inactive you may need to limit treats to less than one a day.
* Try to balance an 'extra' food with extra exercise. Remember, you should only add extra foods after you have covered your nutrient needs with choices from the healthier food groups.
* Cut down on saturated fats and alcohol.
* Try to eat more fresh foods and less processed foods.
* Avoid using food for comfort, such as when you are upset, angry or stressed. Explore other healthy ways to cope with these feelings.
Start with small changes, such as drinking a glass of water instead of a soft drink, and eating a piece of fruit instead of a biscuit or two. Also, make changes that you don’t really notice, such as replacing high fat milk with nice tasting low fat milk, and using less oil and fat in your cooking.
BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE:
Being more active means moving around more - it doesn’t necessarily mean a vigorous exercise program. Any movement helps! Exercise prevents muscle loss. So it is important to exercise when you are losing weight. Exercise will protect your muscles and keep your metabolic rate ticking over at a healthy level. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, either in one burst or in shorter bursts that add up to at least 30 minutes.
The best approach to increasing the level of physical activity in your life is to take it slowly. You can increase your activity levels by simply increasing movement throughout the day. For example, park the car a block or two from your destination, so you have to walk a bit further, or walk to the shops instead of driving.
Because losing weight is hard, you can enlist in using weight loss products to help you, but remember that weight loss medicines only work when used in combination with a lower calorie diet and a more active lifestyle.
A few weight loss products you can use to help shed those extra kilos:
* Herbal supplements, such as Zotrim that helps you to consume less calories by reducing your food intake between meals by making you feel fuller for longer.
Furthermore, like all medicines, weight loss medicines may have side effects and may interact with your other medicines. If considering using weight loss medicines it is always best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
SOURCES OF HELP:
You may like to seek advice from health professionals such as your GP or pharmacist. A dietician can help you with dietary advice, and a physiotherapist can help you choose suitable exercise activities that take into account any health problems you may have.
Losing weight is easier when you have support from those around you. Consider enlisting the support of friends and relatives to help you stick to your new healthy eating plan and increased activity levels, particularly during the first few weeks.