How to stay healthy at any size
If experts agree on anything, fitness is key and kgs on the scales are less important than body fat around the tummy.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australia is increasing. Recent studies estimate that more than half of all Australian women (52 per cent) and two-thirds of men (67 per cent) are overweight or obese. That is, almost 60 per cent of the adult population in Australia is overweight or obese
And despite an increase in weight-loss education efforts the problem appears to be increasing, which suggests we may be approaching the problem from the wrong angle. It's not the number on the scales or the size of your jeans that will kill you, after all. It's the elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels that can lead to heart disease, stroke, joint problems, sleep apnea, diabetes and cancer. If you eat well, take regular, moderate exercise and ace the GP physical, what does it matter if you can't squeeze into a size 10? Or 14 for that matter.
Find out how to stay healthy at any size with Liz Nowosad's top tips:
- Doctors see excess weight as a concern since it is a risk factor and can lead to a number of health risks. See your GP regularly – at least yearly for check-ups.
- Get moving. Regular exercise can help you burn fat, strengthen muscles, lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, reduce stress and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Check out your family tree. Find out if there is a history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or any other ailments in your family.
- Understand the numbers. More important than the numbers on the scale are blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, waist circumference and blood sugar levels.
- Determine how your weight is distributed. If it is around the abdominal area you need to try and shift it. See a personal trainer and/or nutritionist if you need guidance and support. If you are an emotional eater, a counsellor can help.
- Smoking dramatically increases the risk of deadly heart attacks, stroke and cancer. Quit.
- Control blood pressure. Reduce intake of salt, alcohol and caffeine. Find healthy ways to decrease stress and anxiety. Losing even five kilos can make a big difference in your blood pressure, as can regular exercise.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Use healthy oils like olive or flax seed oil and low fat or non-fat dairy products.
- Remember, being healthy is a lifestyle. To sustain it, treat it as a new way of life, not a fad diet or one-time effort.