The weight we lose is the life we gain

The weight we lose is the life we gain

Do you know that it is important to maintain a healthy weight, not just to look good, but also because it matters to your health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 – 39 per cent of adults aged 18 and over were overweight and 13 per cent were obese in 2016. This matters because there are many consequences to one’s health, when either overweight or obese.

For instance, it increases the risk of many diseases including:

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High cholesterol

  • High blood pressure

  • Stroke

  • Cancers like breast, prostate and colon cancer

  • Sleep apnea

  • Fatty liver disease

  • Osteoarthritis

Being overweight may also cause poor self-image, resulting in lowering self-esteem and confidence.

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Common causes of weight gain

There are numerous reasons for weight gain, including having a sedentary lifestyle, eating more processed foods, underlying health conditions or not sleeping well.

With the busy lives we live, many of us depend on the convenience of buying packaged meals, which tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt. This means that we are not fully aware of what we are eating, unless we carefully read the labels.

And many have also gained weight over this past year because being in lockdown meant spending more time at home, being less active and constantly snacking.

How to check if you are overweight or obese

  • Clothes fitting

With time have you found that your clothes do not fit that well? So you either have them loosened or you buy the next size up? This is the simplest sign that you are putting on weight.

And if your clothes are snug (and do be honest to yourself about this), you may be thinking “I don’t need to do anything about my weight right now, as it’s not that bad.”

And you then start wearing tracksuits or stretchable clothing only. But, this only results in more weight gain. So don’t ignore how your clothes are fitting you.

  • BMI

A common tool used to check if you are overweight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). For most people, having a BMI of over 25 is considered overweight, and 30 obese. If you do not know what your BMI is, do visit the NHS website and CLICK HERE TO CHECK YOUR BMI

Please note, healthy BMI does differ, depending on your ethnicity. For South Asians, BMI up to 23 is healthy.

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  • Waist size

Your waist size is another indicator so you should also check your waist circumference using a tape measure. According to the NHS, you are at lower risk if, for a woman have a waist that is 80 cm and for a man if it is less than 94 cm.

  • Waist to hip ratio

Another indicator is your body shape. Research done at the Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen (Source: diabetes UK) has indicated that those who have an apple shape (where they carry more weight around their stomach), are at a higher risk of these diseases. This is because the harmful visceral fat sits around the organs. So even though you may not be “overweight” according to your BMI, you should check your waist to hip ratio. This can be done at the Diabetes UK website.

And once you have done these checks, don’t be disheartened if you are overweight or obese. I have guided many clients over 10 years to improve their health.

So, if you have been sitting on the fence, waiting for the right time to begin, don’t leave it too late, or you may have to face the long term consequences on your future health.

Sujata Din is a Certified Health Coach and Certified Professional Cancer Coach. In this regular column for iGlobal, she offers some special insights, from useful wellness tips to recipes for creations that are not only delicious but also healthy.

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