Many people think that losing weight is an impossible task, fraught with frustration and deprivation. As a result, many simply give up on their weight-loss goals. But losing weight does not have to be difficult or impossible. Rather than approaching weight loss as a daunting monolith, set more realistic goals to improve your likelihood of success. Indeed, losing just 10 percent of your body weight yields an extensive array of health benefits. Consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.
It is important to know that some people may not need to lose weight because their weight may not be influencing their health at all. For most people, simply stopping weight gain is the first step to better health.
Often this will require identifying and addressing the causes of weight gain as well as changes in diet, physical activity, sleep, stress levels and other factors that may be driving weight gain. Successfully addressing these issues may not result in noticeable weight loss but can have a significant impact on health and well-being, including, more energy, greater physical fitness, less pain, greater self-esteem and better control of many obesity related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension or cholesterol levels.
Once you have achieved weight stability (i.e. prevention of further weight gain), even a modest sustained weight loss of 5% to 10% of total body weight can lead to additional health benefits including improvements in blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, arthritis, reflux disease, sleep apnea or infertility.
Even greater benefits on health and quality of life can be achieved with weight loss in the 20-30% range; however, this degree of sustainable weight loss is generally only achievable in patients undergoing bariatric (obesity) surgery.
Small amounts of weight loss achieved in a healthy manner is most beneficial. Losing as little as 5% of body weight can improve blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Being overweight increases the risk of many chronic diseases, and losing small amounts of weight can improve your health and slowly help you reach a healthier weight. Experts encourage people to make small changes in your eating and physical activity patterns that you can sustain over time, which will gradually help you lose weight permanently.
My GP says I need to eat more fibre. What are some good sources?
Most people in the UK only have around 14g of fibre a day, when the target is at least 30g. There are two basic types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre, found in whole grains, bran, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, adds bulk to your diet and aids in normal digestion. Soluble fibre, found in oats, beans, peas, apples, blueberries, dates, and pears, has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
To increase your intake of dietary fibre, start by reading labels and choosing foods that have a few grams of fibre per serving. Kick-start your day with a bowl of wholegrain cereal or bran cereal and top it with fresh fruit. At lunch, choose wholewheat bread and add vegetables to your sandwich, or select a salad and top it with vegetables, beans, and nuts. Enjoy wholegrains at dinner along with more fruit and vegetables. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids while increasing your fibre intake to minimise any gastrointestinal discomfort.
Are over-the-counter weight loss supplements helpful in losing weight?
Diet pills rarely lead to permanent weight loss but can help in establishing the process of weight reduction through a healthy diet and regular exercise. The best method for weight loss is eating healthily and taking plenty of exercise. Many people believe it’s better to spend your money on nutritious foods.
Experts agree the best way to lose weight is to take regular exercise and eat meals made up of foods that satisfy hunger and control appetite. Include a source of lean or low fat protein along with high-fibre fruit, vegetables, or whole grains and choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruit or chopped vegetables.
How much water should a normal, healthy adult drink on a daily basis to avoid dehydration?
The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluids a day and men should drink about 2 litres.
For an average 200ml glass, that’s around 8 glasses for women and 10 for men.
Pay attention to thirst as well as the colour and odour of your urine. Dry mouth and concentrated (dark) urine are good indicators that you need more fluids. A dry environment, heat, and exercise, especially during warm weather, all increase hydration needs. Both young children and older adults are more vulnerable to dehydration. Keep in mind your body constantly loses water as it evaporates from your skin. People with larger body surfaces and those who perspire or sweat more will lose more water through evaporation.