For Westerners losing weight has become the theme of the 21st century. More and more adults as well as children are adopting an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle. Being overweight or obese is caused by a daily regimen of poor nutrition and lack of regular exercise. The statistics on obese or overweight population are a daunting 61.7% in men and 57.2% in women in the UK. According to new analysis of data, more people in the UK are either overweight or obese than at any other time in the past three decades. If we look at the total population, one in four British adults is obese. (Source: www.nhs.uk.)
Health issues related to excess weight and obesity
If you consider the health risk of being overweight or obese, you will understand why it is necessary for heavy people to lose weight. We have listed some of these health risks below (source: www.nationaalkompas.nl):
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus;
- Heart and vascular diseases, e.g. coronary constriction, heart failure, stroke;
- Cancer of the oesophagus, pancreas, gall bladder and kidneys;
- Gall bladder disorders;
- Musculoskeletal disorders, e.g. arthrosis;
- Decreased lung function, sleep apnoea;
- Depression and anxiety disorders.
Telling signs you need to lose weight
As the above list shows, being overweight or obese puts a huge strain on your body and increases the risk for many health problems. But what exactly is considered being overweight or obese? There are two ways to find out:
- The ratio of your height and weight, also referred to as body mass index or BMI, provides an indication of the degree of obesity. Dividing your weight in kg by your height in m2 will give you an indication of where you stand in the healthy weight range. For adults, a BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight, a BMI higher than 30 is considered obese.
- Measure your waist circumference. Place the tape measure directly on your skin, breathe out and measure. Waist circumference thresholds are 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women. As too much abdominal fat indicates an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart and vascular disease, a waist circumference that is too big is a sure sign that you need to lose weight.
Lose weight the healthy way
If you decide to go about it in a healthy way, you can achieve losing weight with just a simple lifestyle change. This means making healthy lifestyle choices, exercising more, and staying away from high-calorie foods and swapping them for healthy, balanced alternatives. Of course, this change will not be easy at first. But with determination and discipline, you can get through the initial hard phase. Another good news fact is that there is a whole world of healthy snacks waiting to be discovered. Losing weight and feeling fitter will also improve how your body looks, bettering self-esteem, improving ease of movement and your ability to carry out daily physical activities without being out of breath. Did you know that 5 to 10% weight loss can already improve your health?
The time to lose weight is now!
No more excuses, it’s time to get serious about weight loss. But remember to lose weight in a healthy way. This will result in a dual benefit: your health risks decrease by eating healthy foods and removing fatty or high-calorie foods from your diet and your body will be better able to fight off diseases and infections.
Losing weight in three stages
If you want your weight loss to be a permanent change, it is best to lose weight in three phases (source: www.voedingscentrum.nl):
- Phase 1: Prepare yourself to start losing weight;
- Phase 2: Eat less and more healthy foods and exercise more;
- Phase 3: Make sure you keep the weight off.
During this phase, you start preparing yourself for losing weight. These three tips will help you do that:
- Calculate your BMI and/or waist circumference. This will give you an idea of how overweight you are, and how many pounds you need to lose in order to reach a healthy weight. Setting clear weight loss goals will give you a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
- Start losing weight only when you are ready. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to lose weight, for example if you are pregnant or older than 70 years. If your BMI is greater than 30, you should consult a doctor before you start a weight loss plan. If you suffer from depression, it may be better to put your weight loss plans on hold until your depression subsides.
- Protect yourself from pitfalls. Determine in advance what your pitfalls are and how to avoid them.
If you find it difficult to make healthy food choices and don’t know which foods are low or high in calories, the food pyramid and the food hourglass are two tools you may find useful. The food pyramid is a guide to help you get the right balance of nutritious foods. The food hourglass shows you how to slow down the signs of ageing through what you eat, and lose weight in the process (source: www.voedselzandloper.nl). Opinions are divided on which of the two is a better and more responsible method for losing weight.
During this phase, it’s all about perseverance. These three tips will help you stick to your weight loss plan:
- Resist temptation. Do not keep sweet or greasy snacks in your home, and avoid the shelves in grocery stores that stock products that tempt you. If you slip up, don’t feel you are weak. Just learn from the experience and go back to your weight loss plan.
- When you have the urge for something sweet or a snack, try to distract yourself. Visit a friend, go for a walk – the best way to beat cravings is by altering your mindset.
- Celebrate your success. Make losing weight more fun by rewarding yourself for your healthy habits and weight loss milestones. Visit a spa, go the cinema or treat yourself to your favourite magazine.
You have reached your weight loss goal. Congratulations! But don’t throw your healthy food choices out of the window as well as your exercise programme if you want to keep the weight off. If you stick to these rules, you will avoid yo-yoing in your weight and find a balanced way of eating that you can maintain.
Two more tips
A little support can do wonders for someone struggling to lose weight. So here are two more tips to help you with your weight loss efforts:
Tip 1: Get support from a dietician
Tip 2: Utilise meal replacements as a tool to aid weight loss
Replacing a meal with a shake can make it easier to stick to your routine after initial weight loss or to keep the weight off after losing it.
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Last updated on October 12, 2016.
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