Obesity is the new smoking
Obesity has hit the headlines on the TV and in the newspapers in the last month, being compared with health risks of smoking.
The human body is like a bank account - if you earn more than you spend then your bank balance increases, conversely if you spend more than you earn your bank balance decreases. So if you eat more calories then you expend through exercise then your weight increases.
Losing weight is a matter of eating less calories and burning more calories through exercise - easier said than done for some people. To be successful it has to be a lifestyle change, i.e. you are not on a diet but have decided to eat more fruit and vegetabkes, cut back on cakes and fatty take-aways, and taking a little more exercise eg walking instead of the car, stairs instead of the lift.
With a diet you may be on a strict eating regimen, denying yourself "evil" food and only eating salads - but you could be setting yourself up for failure because:
By denying yourself , you are more likely to relapse, and probably relapsing big time eg eating a whole block of chocolate, after being miserable eating nothing but salads for the last week;
A diet implys a period of time eg "I'm on a diet this winter", "I'm on a diet until I lose 20 pounds" etc, what happens when the diet finishes - you probably go back to your old ways - hence "yo-yo dieting".
So don't go on a diet - change your lifestyle. Educate yourself about what you should eat lots of (Fruit, Vegetables, Cereals, Pasta and Rice), what you should eat in moderate amounts (diary, meat and nut products), and what you should eat infrequently (sugars and fats). Don't forget lots of water, but avoid fruit drinks, soft drinks and alcohol. Read the nutritional information on what you eat eg ready-made supermarket meals and avoid those high in fats and sugar. Also start to increase your exercise like getting off the bus a few stops before work, walking into town instead of taking the car, going for a walk in the park in the weekends, take up swimming or yoga etc.
Obesity is now the most common nutritional disorder in western industrialised countries and arises from the accumulation of excess fat in the body from over consumption of fatty foods and calorie dense foods. Prevalence of obesity in the US and Europe has reached epidemic levels
Being overweight is implicated in a number of diseases or conditions: Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, high Cholesterol levels and possibly certain cancers, such as breast and endometrial in women and colorectal and prostate cancer in men. Other conditions promoted by obesity are osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, gallstones, infertility, sleeping problems and changes in liver function.
The dramatic rise in levels of type 2 diabetes in the population is mainly due to the increase of obesity. It is also responsible for changes in blood lipid and cholesterol levels, predisposing to increased risk of atherosclerosis.
BMI is weight in kgs, divided by height in metres squared - kg/mXm - Calculate it here. Obesity is a body mass index of greater than 30. Underweight less than 18.5, Normal weight is 18.5-24.9, Overweight is 25-29.9.
Apple or Pear shaped
Waist circumference can indicate whether excess fat is being carried around the abdomen, which carries a higher risk of developing heart disease than excess fat around the hips and thighs
|Waist Circumference||Ideal||Increased Risk||Greater Risk|
|Males||less than 94cm/37in||94-101cm/37-40in||greater than 102cm/40in|
|Females||less than 80cm/32in||80-87cm/32-35in||greater than 88cm/35in|
Top Ten tips for losing weight from Cancer Research UK
The tips are simple habits that everyone can permanently fit into their daily routines. Keeping up all ten tips in the long term will help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Keep to your meal routine. Try to eat at roughly the same times each day, whether this is two, or preferably smaller meals five times a day.
- Go reduced fat. Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings where you can. Use them sparingly as some can still be high in fat.
- Walk off the weight. Walk 10,000 steps (about 60-90 minutes of moderate activity) each day. You can use a pedometer to help count the steps. You can break up your walking over the day.
- Pack a healthy snack. If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Look at the labels. Be careful about food claims. Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food.
- Caution with your portions. Don't heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Take time to enjoy your food and eat slowly with breaks in between mouthfuls. Think twice before having second helpings.
- Up on your feet. Break up your sitting time. Stand up for ten minutes out of every hour.
- Think about your drinks. Choose water or sugar-free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice contains natural sugar so limit it to 1 glass per day (200ml). Alcohol is high in calories; try to limit the amount you drink.
- Focus on your food. Slow down. Don't eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
- Don't forget your 5 a day. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (400g in total).
Related external Links
Cancer UK site on obesity.
Weight loss leaflet.
The information given here is of a general nature, for particular information talk to your pharmacist or doctor, especially if you have any other diseases, are taking other medicines, suffer other conditions or pregnant etc.