Being overweight is a growing concern for many individuals and families, and the health consequences can be significant.
Just a few of the risks imposed by carrying extra weight may include, but aren’t limited to:
- Heart disease
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.
Small changes add up.
- Start with a healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal and whole grain cereals. This may prevent you from overeating later.
- Keep a food diary. Knowing how much you consumed in a day can help you understand your eating habits.
- Turn off the tube. You don’t burn many calories sitting on the couch. Watching television can be a great time to add extra pounds.
- Weigh yourself often, at least once a week.
- Cut calories by consuming smaller portions, skipping seconds, and asking restaurants to bag half your meals to-go.
- Become more active. Physical activity helps you burn calories and stay fit. A great time to sneak in some exercise is during TV time!
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.
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, which fill you up on fewer calories.
- Make smart swaps – for example replace cheese in your sandwich with extra tomatoes, or swap low calorie mustard instead of mayonnaise.
- 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’
- 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 in order to lose weight.
Sugary sodas and coffees can contain up to 400 calories! And what’s worse – these calories don’t satisfy a hungry stomach.
To make healthier drinking choices –
- Drink more water. The National Institute of Health recommends six to eight 8-oz glasses of water a 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 artificial sweetener.
- Choose calorie-free diet sodas.
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:
- Fruits and veggies
- Whole-grain rice, breads, and cereals
- 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.
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!
Here are some activities that can help you go for the burn, based on average calories burned per hour
Physical Activity Calorie Use Chart
The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100-, 150- and 200- pound person doing a particular activity.
|Bicycling, 6 mph
|Bicycling, 12 mph
|Jogging, 7 mph
|Running 5.5 mph
|Running, 10 mph
|Swimming, 25 yds/min
|Swimming, 50 yds/min
|Walking, 2 mph
|Walking, 3 mph
|Walking, 4.5 mph
Being active can contribute to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and even less stress and better sleep. There is no shortage of benefits to living an active lifestyle.
Here are three easy steps to get you started*:
- Know your needs
a. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking and jogging raises your heart rate and breathing. The Center for Disease Control recommends 30 minutes or more a day, 5 days a week, of aerobic exercise.
b. Strength training, such as lifting weights, increases your muscle capacity. You should exercise your large muscle groups at least twice a week.
*Noor Pharmaceuticals recommends you consult your healthcare provider before beginning any weight-loss or exercise program
- 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.
- 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.
Remember, exercising doesn’t have to cost you any money either. Walking or exercising outside in parks work 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 calisthenics, which are exercises that uses your own body weight as resistance, such as pushups, squats, and dips.
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 a family meal
- Offering healthy fruits and vegetables and keeping an eye on portion sizes
The tips offered in this guide are merely a sampling of the vast opportunities available to lose weight and live healthy. Remember even if the steps you take are small, the changes can be vast. Have a positive attitude and you are well on your way towards a healthier lifestyle!
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