Obesity Overhaul: How to Get Back to a Healthy Weight
We all consider a diet when we put on a bit of weight, but when does an extra few pounds turn into obesity? When you’re obese, it means you have so much body fat that you’re posing a threat to your wellbeing, risking your health with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnoea, and stroke – to name a few. Even though you might feel fine now, and weight loss is such a chore, it’s important to protect your wellness by getting down to a healthy weight.
First and foremost, you need to tell if you’re obese. Medical professionals do this by using a measurement called a body mass index, or BMI, along with a waist size camera. There are many BMI calculators online that can help you determine where you sit on the scale, using your height and weight measurements. You know your weight is putting your health in danger if you have a BMI of 30 or higher. You’re also in danger if you carry too much fat around the middle, rather than around your hips. Women and men have an increased chance of disease when they have a waist size of 35in/88cm and 40in/101cm respectively. If you’re Asian, your health may be at risk if you have a BMI over 27.5 and a waist size of 32in/80cm (women) or 36in/90cm (men).
On one level, weight gain is a simple case of consuming more calories than you burn off. However, in reality there are other factors at play. If you have obese family members, for example, you may have inherited a tendency to gain weight and/or are surrounded by people who shape your unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits. Plus, these days we’re so busy it’s increasingly hard to plan and cook healthy moods, and so we reach for prepared foods, go out to eat, or go to the drive-through. Work schedules, long commutes, and other commitments also cut into the time we have for physical activity.
With weight loss being so at odds with modern life, it’s important that you take the right approach. Instead of focusing on “going on a diet”, turn your attention to your health. The problem with diets is that they don’t produce good long-term results, as they usually involve big changes to your eating habits that you simply cannot sustain. The better thing to do is to make small lifestyle changes that will improve your health and help you to achieve the right balance of energy and calories. This means burning more calories than you take in through reasonable amounts of healthy foods and becoming more active.
In order to create a plan that works for you, consult your GP and consider working with a dietician and fitness trainer. It’s also important to get support from your family and friends who can help motivate you to stick to your plan, rather than tempting you with treats. However, if and when you do stray from your healthy lifestyle plan, don’t beat yourself up about it. Feeling rubbish and hopeless will just make you want to give up, when you’ve only made a little mistake that everyone makes. Instead, look at what happened, figure out what made you go off track and work on ways to fix it for next time. Becoming healthier and staying that way is a lifelong effort, and so it’s likely that you’ll fall off the wagon countless times. Still, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. After all, isn’t your health worth the effort?