Weight Management 

In the following, we will examine how important a healthy diet is and will provide you with information and tips on how to manage your weight. 

Being overweight impacts your health: Why?

Whilst most people are aware that by being overweight our health is affected, few people realise that by carrying excess weight, we are increasing our chances of getting life-threatening diseases. The major health risk that is associated with carrying excess weight is heart disease and this is why it is critical to your wellbeing that you maintain a healthy weight. When you have excess weight, it forces your heart to have to work harder to carry out simple tasks (e.g. climbing stairs). A lack of regular exercise aggravates weight problems, increases your risk of high blood pressure and strokes and considerably increases your risk of heart disease. Thus, a healthy lifestyle is essential for you to improve your general health and your wellbeing.

Are you overweight?

A healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
If your BMI is 25 to 29.9, you are overweight 
If your BMI is 30 or more, you are obese

Why is my waist measurement important?

Your waist measurement is recognised as an indicator of potential weight-related health issues. Roughly, men who have a waist measurement over 40 inches (102 cm) and women who have a waist measurement over 35 inches (89 cm) might have an increased heart disease risk.

You have an increased risk of developing both diabetes and heart disease if you are overweight. However, the weight gain in itself is not the only issue. Recently, it has been found that your body shape and the distribution of fat in your body impact your risk of developing both heart disease and diabetes.
The highest risk is carried by people who gain weight around their middle region (often termed a beer belly or when being apple shaped). Doctors call this body shape abdominal obesity.
Reaching and then being able to control both a healthy body weight and a healthy shape can be difficult; however, many studies have shown that by reducing your body weight by only 5 to 10 percent, you can decrease your abdominal fat by 30 percent and therefore significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease.

What are calories?

As you age, you need fewer calories. A 70-year-old burns about 350 fewer calories each day than a 35-year-old does. If you don’t reduce your calorific intake (or don’t burn off extra calories with exercise), then as you approach middle age, middle-age spread will be inevitable.
Building up your muscle can help to increase your metabolic rate; this is the rate at which you can burn off the calories that you have consumed. Exercise helps to increase your metabolic rate for some hours afterwards.
Women (aged 19–49) need 1,940 calories daily to maintain an average weight. 
Men (aged 19–49) need 2,550 calories daily to maintain an average weight.

Facts about calories

Fast calories
Fast food is quite often high in salt, fats and sugars. All of these are potential health hazards if consumed in excess. 
Ready-made meals that are sold in supermarkets often also contain too much sugar, fat and salt. Even those foods that are labelled as low fat might not actually be healthy.
To claim a product is a reduced fat item, it has to contain 25 percent less fat than the standard product. As the original (standard) food items tend to have a high fat content to start with, the low-fat version can still have a fat-laden content. The removed fat needs replaced with other ingredients, and the calorific value may actually even be higher than the original high-fat version.

Takeaways and restaurants
Eating takeaways and eating out in restaurants has become increasingly popular. Yet, unlike the supermarket ready-made meals, there is no way of determining what the actual calorie content is. The chances are that these kinds of food will be high in fat, salt and sugar.

Calorie-burning exercises
To keep your circulation in good order, you need at least 30 minutes every day of some form of physical exercise. This does not have to mean 30 consecutive minutes of exercise. For example, three 10-minute bouts of exercise in one day will work as well in terms of getting your heart pumping faster and thus increasing your breathing rate.
You do not have to become some kind of fitness fanatic in order to do enough exercise in the day to keep your heart in a healthy condition. The key to success is in performing simple types of exercise that you find enjoyable on a regular basis. For example, brisk walking is an excellent form of exercise, it costs very little and it is easy for most of us to do each day. You could go for a walk before lunch or before dinner. You could try out other activities such as cycling, swimming, gardening, badminton, aerobics, jogging or football.

There are countless options for exercise. If you enjoy it, then you are much more likely to make it a part of your daily routine.
If a game of football or a five-mile jog does not appeal to you, there are many simpler activities that might suit you.

  • You could work on increasing your time spent walking by five minutes each week
  • Do you enjoy gardening? This helps with your exercise regime and you can also enjoy being outdoors at the same time 
  • You could spend a night out dancing as this activity burns many calories 
  • Give your house a good spring clean 
  • Use stairs and avoid lifts/escalators when possible
  • Go on a bike ride 
  • Join an exercise class 
  • Go swimming 
  • Do you enjoy shopping? Walking round the shops burns calories 
  • Stand instead of sitting when possible as standing burns more calories

Facts on fats

Cholesterol, a fatty substance vital to all of the cells in your body, is mostly produced in your liver form saturated fats, and only a small proportion in your body comes directly from cholesterol in your diet.
The two main cholesterol types present in your body are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is protective and is usually called good cholesterol, whereas LDL is not so protective, and is usually called bad cholesterol.

Essential fatty acids 
The fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 are required to maintain a healthy heart, brain, joints and skin, and both are required for general wellbeing. Some evidence suggests that Omega 3 oils increase your metabolic rate and thus can help in terms of losing weight. Omega 3 is in oily fish (e.g. tuna, mackerel, sardines and salmon) as well as in walnuts and in rapeseed oil. The Omega 6 fatty acids are in vegetable oils (e.g. corn, sunflower, flaxseed and evening primrose).

Monosaturated fats 
These fats increase your good cholesterol level and thus lower the level of bad cholesterol in your body, with olive oil as the most well-known of these monosaturated fats. These types of fats are also present in nuts, rapeseed oil and avocados.

Polyunsaturated fats
These types of fats are excellent at raising your good cholesterol levels and are present in some types of fish, but are mostly in vegetable oils (e.g. sunflower oil) as well as in some nuts and in most seeds.

Saturated fats
These fats are nutritionally dangerous, raising your levels of bad cholesterol, clogging up your arteries and increasing your risk of both heart disease and stroke. Usually they are solid at room temperature and are often animal-based products, including butter, ghee, lard and margarine, as well as being present as the fats in red meat, pastries, dairy produce and biscuits.

Trans fats
These fats are even worse than saturated fats are. They start out their life as unsaturated fats, but are then processed to both harden and to increase the shelf life of the resulting cakes, biscuits and margarine. They have no nutritional benefit, raise bad cholesterol levels and might even lower your levels of good cholesterol.

Effective solutions for controlling your weight

How much is on your plate?
Experts do agree that one of the key things you can do to help to control your weight or lose weight is to control the size of your food portions. Super-sizing, for example, has not helped many to control their portion sizes, and we also need to remember that women need smaller portions than men do.

How can I get the right balance? 
To control weight and for general health, we need the correct balance of foods in our diet. A well-balanced diet (over the course of each day or each week) should contain:
A third as carbohydrates (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereal) 
A third as fruit and vegetables 
A third as mostly protein (15 percent as meat, eggs, fish or beans; 15 percent as milk and dairy produce; 3 percent as other types of fats and sugars)