Lose weight, gain health - a little goes a long way

If you're one of those people who would like to weigh a little less but don't see the point of trying to lose weight as you're not obese… then think again. You don't need to lose hundreds of pounds to benefit - small losses such as ten pounds or 10% of your body weight can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.

The benefits of losing weight

Losing just a modest amount of weight can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and certain lung conditions. When you're overweight you can suffer from increased blood pressure and cholesterol but losing just 10% of your body weight can bring these down and significantly improve your life expectancy. Weight reductions of five to ten kilogrammes have also been shown to lessen back and joint pain and improve breathlessness and sleep apnoea.

Losing a few pounds can mean the difference between turning your health around or staying at risk - being confident and positive about changing your weight will help to ensure you make progress and achieve your goal.

Principles of healthy weight loss:

  1. Aim to do two things - eat healthier meals and make sure you get regular physical activity. A diet on its own is not effective for most people, but adding in regular exercise brings with it a range of metabolic changes that make all the difference when it comes to losing weight.
  1. You can try a restrictive diet, which might work initially, but be warned it is more likely to fail in the longer term. Instead of "dieting", think about ways to satisfy your hunger while eating fewer calories. Increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will help you to manage your appetite whist keeping the calories in check.
  1. If you decide to be a role model for your family, you'll be teaching them about healthier eating habits and lifestyles. If everyone in the household aims to eat healthily and exercise more, then everyone's health will benefit and your resolve will be even stronger.
  1. Take some extra time to read food labels carefully so you know what you're eating and stock nutritious foods in your cupboard and fridge, so you'll have all the right ingredients for healthy snacks and meals. Try to plan ahead and take healthy food with you when you're out and about so that you're prepared when you next get hungry.
  1. If possible, identify what led to your weight gain in the first place - and address it. For example, if you overeat because you spend more time at the computer, try taking regular breaks to get some exercise - even if it's just a five minute walk outside of the office or house. It really pays to develop a strategy to address areas that make you vulnerable to weight gain.


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