Weight Management - Healthy Lifestyles
Weight management doesn't refer to losing weight constantly but achieving a healthy weight and maintaining it. It is not enough to start eating healthy foods and taking up exercise for a few weeks or months - eating habits and other behavioural habits that make you overweight must be addressed. These changes have to be permanently incorporated into your life.
First steps to a healthier lifestyle...
Choosing a healthy lifestyle does not always mean giving up everything you enjoy! While it will mean changes, they can be gradually brought in to your life painlessly. And the good news is that within weeks, you'll be feeling and looking so much better, you won't want to go back to your old ways!
To kick start yourself focus on the short term benefits:
- You may lose weight once you start enjoying a healthy diet, even if you didn't intend to slim down.
- You'll have far more energy (physical and mental) than before.
- You'll sleep better than you used to and wake feeling refreshed.
- You'll feel calmer and better able to cope with everyday stress.
- You'll feel much fitter
- You'll suffer fewer minor aches such as backache and PMS.
- Your hair and skin will look better and your eyes clearer
Once you have made up your mind to make some changes in the way you live there are three long term goals to think about:
- Changing to a healthier diet.
- Getting more exercise.
- Learning to live with stress.
By achieving all this we set ourselves up with a more positive outlook and a better chance at health!
Does this describe you?
Are you always on a diet?
Are you unhappy with your weight?
Are you 'apple' or 'pear' shaped?
Is your excess weight starting to get you down?
Do you read every magazine article about weight loss?
Unsuitable weight loss methods...
If you follow faddy diets the only thing you'll lose long term is money, your self-esteem and the wrong kind of weight.The goal of a healthy eating / weight loss plan is to lose fat, not just weight. Rapid weight loss that occurs initially may feel great but the rebound gain will be just as rapid. To lose weight, think long term and try to form healthy eating habits that you can maintain for a lifetime. Make healthy food selections, monitor your portions and follow your exercise plan.
How to improve your chances of losing weight...
- Make a commitment: you must be internally motivated to lose weight because it's what you want to do.
- Sort your priorities: it takes mental and physical energy and strength to change habits. If you are having problems with a relationship or finances or employment, you may be less likely to follow through on your good intentions.
- Set a realistic goal: if you've always been overweight, reaching a weight at which your energy levels improve and at the same time looking good and feeling better, may be a more realistic goal.
- Eat a variety of foods: a varied diet increases the likelihood that you'll get the proper nutrients. Variety also allows you to balance a your higher fat & calorie foods with your lower fat & calorie foods.
Healthy weight loss is slow and steady - aim to lose no more than 1-2lb per week. Learn to enjoy more healthy foods - the diet is more likely to work and be adhered to. Short-term measures such as liquid diets, diet pills may kick start you into feeling better but don't work in the long term. You don't have to lose a lot of weight to enjoy health gains from weight loss - even small losses can bring health benefits and major returns.
Where do you carry your extra weight?
Apple shaped - having too much fat on your tummy.
Pear shaped - carries extra fat on your hips and thighs.
Being apple shaped actually carries greater health risks because fat carried within the abdominal wall goes straight into the liver before circulating to the muscles. This fat within the liver tends to make the liver resistant to the effects of insulin, and may result in an increase of insulin levels. This can put you at risk of increased blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions. Losing just 5 - 10 % of your body weight may help -
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Reduce snoring
- Reduce risk of diabetes
- Cut risk of osteoarthritis and other joint problems
When you eat... This refers to the time of meals, and the number of meals per day
Where you eat... This is the location of your meals (canteen, restaurant, home) and in what room (kitchen, TV Room)
How you eat... This is how you prepare your food, the speed at which you eat, and how many course
Why you eat... A very important question to ask yourself. Are you eating for a purpose other than nutritional needs?
Physical activity is the only way the body can increase the amount of energy it burns. Simply put, it means moving your body, that is moving it yourself, not with machines. There are five levels of physical activity -
- Resting - Sleeping, reading, watching TV.
- Low - Driving, office work, standing.
- Average - Normal walking, golf, light gardening, housework.
- Moderate - Brisk walking, heavy gardening, tennis, slow swimming, cycling.
- High - Heavy manual labour, jogging, football, weight training.
What other help is available?
The following health professionals may help you achieve your goals of losing weight and fat.
- Your pharmacist - can advise on healthy lifestyle, diet, risk factors associated with excess weight. Can also advise on dietary supplements.
- Your GP - may prescribe medication in association with a weight management programme to assist your weight loss.
- A dietician - can design a personalised eating plan just for you, taking your particular preferences into account.
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