Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is the key to good health and the prevention of weight-related risks such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and elevated blood glucose levels. The result is a reduced risk of ill-health, from cardiovascular disease which causes strokes, heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.
A healthy body weight is achieved when your energy intake (from food and drink) is balanced by your energy output (your body’s activity levels), and your body mass index (BMI) is between the levels of 18.5 and 24.9 Ask your Life pharmacist to explain the BMI and its measurement.
It is important to approach weight loss with a sensible, practical and realistic plan that fits in with your lifestyle.
A little means a lot
Clinical studies have shown that a loss of even 5% of initial body weight can result in a significant decrease in your risk of illness or the severity of illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Weight loss can improve breathing and sleep patterns, increase energy levels, give a greater sense of well being and reduce joint and muscle pain.
A weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg per week is regarded as a healthy weight loss. However, some people may only achieve this amount per month. When weight is lost slowly it is more likely to come from stored body fat.
Your goal is not just to lose weight, but to keep it off and prevent weight regain.
Keeping the weight off is a difficult part of weight management, but it is achievable, especially when good eating habits and exercise, are part of your normal daily routine.,
Weighing scales are the most common way to measure weight loss, but they are not always the best way. Daily fluctuations in fluid, fluid retention, pre-menstruation and menstruation all can affect body weight. So, when measuring weight loss, try not to rely only on the scales to measure your progress. Use these other means.
- Your waist measurement - aim for It to be less than 102cm for a male and less than 88cm for a female.
- The way your clothes fit (remember muscle is trimmer than fat).
- Moving your belt in another notch.
- Body tone and shape (as muscle mass increases the body may look and feel more trim and toned).
- Improvement in health indicators, including: blood pressure, blood glucose levels; cholesterol levels; sleep disturbances; breathing; energy levels; Joint and muscle pains; fertility.
- Reduction in the medicines required for obesity-associated illnesses (eg high blood pressure and diabetes).
- Increased fitness
Approximately 45 grams of fat (equivalent to three tablespoons) is required per day for good health. Because we eat a lot of fast and convenient foods, many of us eat twice the amount of fat we should.
All fats, whether of animal or vegetable origin, have a similar fat content, i.e. butter and margarine contribute the same amount .of fat. For weight control, it is important to reduce the total fat we eat, especially saturated fat.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables.
- Eat three regular meals per day.
- Read food labels. Select foods that are low in fat (for most foods <5g fat per 1OOg food).
- Aim for a fat intake of 45g fat per day (approximately three tablespoons).
- Aim for palm-size servings of lean meat and chicken.
- Use trim milk, low fat yoghurt and lower fat cheeses such as Edam, cottage cheese and “laughing cow”.
- Trim visible fat from meat and remove chicken skin.
- Avoid high fat foods and fried foods such as fish and chips, meat pies and fried chicken Avoid snacks such as potato crisps and salted nuts.
- Replace mayonnaises and oil dressings with law fat or ail-free dressings. Use less creamy sauces, sour cream and cream cheeses. Choose ‘lite’ versions.
- Grill, bake, stir-fry, BBQ or microwave - try not to fry.
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
Be More Active
Choose an activity that you enjoy. Start by doing 10 minutes activity three times per day. Build up to 30 - 40 minutes at least three or four times a week daily is preferable. Brisk walking is a very good exercise for weight control. Before startling any activity, remember to check with your LIFE pharmacist or doctor if you have any health problems.
Support and follow up
Maintain regular contact with your LIFE pharmacist, doctor or dietician for ongoing support and to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
- Change your lifestyle for you. Not anyone else.
- Identify triggers that may cause you to lose control of your good eating habits and learn to manage them.
- Keep off these scales - only use scales once a month to measure body weight.
- Focus on health and wellness, rather than weight loss
- If you stray from your normal healthy eating and activity plan do not use this as an excuse to abandon your weight management programme. It is important to get back on track to maintain a healthy weight and good health. Talk to your LIFE pharmacist, doctor or dietician or about reactivating yourself.
Maintenance - the future
Weight control is a life-Long issue. If you start to gain weight that you have lost, don’t give up. Try to lose it again by checking what you are eating and increasing your physical activity.
Remember it is not wrong to treat yourself sometimes.
But do not make this a habit as you may slip back into old eating ways.
You will notice that once you make it a habit of eating low fat food, you will develop a taste for it and not like going back to ‘fatty’ food