Obesity and being overweight are growing concerns for many individuals and families and the health consequences of these two conditions can be significant. Some of the risks associated with carrying extra weight may include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
Here in this post, we will provide some really helpful tips that can assist you in achieving a healthy weight and lifestyle. Let’s get started! How Can You Shape Up? A great way to start is to calculate your BMI, or 'Body Mass Index'. BMI is an approximation of body fat, based on an individual’s height and weight. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and anything above 30 is considered obese. Use the following chart to get an estimate of your current BMI – follow the number on the left for your height, and move across to your weight. The number on the top of that column will represent your BMI. An additional way to determine if you are overweight is by measuring your waist size. Added fat here may put you at greater risk than other areas of the body. Health professionals recommend men aim for waist sizes below 40” and women below 35”. How do your numbers look? Remember - just losing 5-10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risks for health problems! Along with help from your doctor, you can use the tips on this site to help you towards living a healthier happier life. With that being said, the BMI is not the absolute indicator of obesity/ being overweight. Some individuals are more muscular than others and that should be taken into consideration when noting your BMI; therefore, even if your BMI does not match the above chart do not be discouraged and make sure to speak to your healthcare provider about what that number means for your body type and current lifestyle.
Where To Start?
Starting with a healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal and whole-grain cereals is a key contributor to your efforts in achieving a healthy weight. Having a nutritious breakfast will prevent you from overeating later. You can also try to keep a food diary. Being able to see a detailed summary of what you eat throughout the day will help you understand your eating habits as well as see where you can make adjustments. Simple replacements can go a long way! Finally, lessen the time you are sitting on the tv or the internet. The time you spend doing mindless activities are opportunities for you to snack on unhealthy foods and put on extra weight.
Counting The Calories
Diet fads come and go, but one simple rule remains – burn more calories than you take in and you’ll lose weight. Once you’ve reached your goal, keeping your calories balanced will maintain your healthy shape. Consider some calorie counting consultation.
- Get a good start by filling up on whole fruit, salad or broth-based soups. These foods are high in fiber and water and will fill you up on fewer calories.
- Make smart swaps – for example replace cheese in your sandwich with extra tomatoes or swap mayonnaise for low-calorie mustard.
- Avoid processed snack foods, and don’t be fooled by ‘low-fat’ labels. They’re still often high in calories and lack unsaturated ‘good’ fats that satisfy your hunger. Instead, look for foods labeled 'low calorie' and always make sure to check the sugar content in the foods you consume!
- Pay attention to portion – too much of a good thing can still be a bad thing.
- Remember to eat! To stay healthy most men need at least 1500 calories, and women 1200 calories per day. Don’t make the mistake of starving your body to lose weight.
Watch What You Drink
Sugary sodas and coffees can contain up to 400 calories! And what’s worse – these calories don’t satisfy a hungry stomach.
- Drink more water. The National Institute of Health recommends six to eight 8-oz glasses of water a day. Investing in a water bottle with a filter is a great way to make sure you consume water throughout your day.
- Drink a glass or two of milk per day. New research suggests that consuming dairy calcium and vitamin D can help you lose weight. But remember to choose skim milk.
- Skip sugar and syrups in coffee or use an artificial sweetener.
- Choose calorie-free diet sodas.
The Low Carb Trend
Diets that restrict certain types of food usually leave out certain important nutrients. Carbohydrates, for example, are important in providing energy for your body, but eating too many carbs can lead to excess calories. The key is to choose your carbs wisely. To get important vitamins, minerals, and fiber, choose complex carbohydrates and natural sugars found in: 1. Fruits and veggies 2. Whole-grain rice, bread, and cereals 3. Beans, lentils, and dried peas Avoid – carbs found in processed and refined sugars such as candies, sodas, and table sugar. These 'empty' calories have little nutritional value.
Get Your Body Moving
As a general rule, if you cut your daily calories by 500 you will lose 1 pound a week. You can do this by cutting down on calories as mentioned, or exercising, or both! The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100-, 150- and 200- pound person doing a particular activity.
Workouts That Work
Being active can contribute to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and even less stress and better sleep. Consider incorporating the following three activities in your routine.
Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking and jogging raise your heart rate and breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes or more a day, 5 days a week, of aerobic exercise.
Try strength training exercises such as lifting weights, increases your muscle capacity. You should exercise your large muscle groups at least twice a week.
Engage In Sports
Find something fun to do! You are more likely to stay active if you participate in something you enjoy. Consider team sports if you like company, or swimming if you prefer quiet. Noor Pharmaceuticals recommends that you consult your healthcare provider before beginning any weight-loss or exercise program. Remember, exercising doesn’t have to cost you any money either. Walking or exercising outside in parks works just as well as gym memberships. Consider climbing the stairs to work, walking to the grocery store, and getting home exercise videos if money is a concern. You can even switch weights for callisthenics, which are exercises that use your body weight as resistance, such as pushups, squats, and dips. All this may sound like a time commitment, but you can still reach your exercise goals by splitting it up into 10-20 minute parts throughout the day. There is no shortage of benefits to living an active lifestyle.
Don’t Forget The Kids
Overweight and obese kids are susceptible to many of the same health risks as adults and are more likely to develop serious health problems as they get older. Get your kids involved by turning physical activities into family activities and the whole family will benefit. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Help them reach this goal by doing simple things like:
- Walking your child to school (if possible)
- Dribble a ball together after homework is done
- Go to the park after dinner
Remember to also help establish healthy eating habits early on by:
- Choosing healthy snacks
- Making breakfast and dinner family meals
- Offering healthy fruits and vegetables and keeping an eye on portion sizes
And There's So Much More
The tips offered in this guide are merely a sampling of the infinite
opportunities available to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. Even if the
steps you take are small, the changes can be vast. Remember, the first step to a
healthy lifestyle is a positive attitude!