We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is vital. It not only influences how we look and feel but has an array of health benefits that helps decrease our risk for many health conditions. So, how do we get started? Perhaps we need to move more and eat a little less. Switch off the television and skip the second helping of food. Whatever your strategy may be – you are sure to get some useful guidance to get yourself on the right track. Let’s take a closer look.
WHAT IS A HEALTHY WEIGHT?
To find out whether your weight is within the healthy range for your height you could work out your Body Mass Index (BMI). This useful indicator works on different ranges, for adults older than 20 years, you can work on the following1,2:
- A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.
- A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a healthy weight.
- A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
- A BMI of 30 and above is considered obese
Okay great, but how will I know what my BMI is? You can follow the link to our website which has a BMI calculator, there for your convenience BMI calculator: www.futurelife.co.za alternatively you can use the following calculation:
Weight (in kilograms) ÷ [height (in meters) x height (in meters)] = BMI.
- Waist Circumference (WC)
Another way of finding out your risk for health conditions is measuring your waist circumference where your health risk is associated with excess fat around the waist:
- For males a waist circumference of 102cm and greater
- For females a waist circumference of 88cm and greater
Is associated with an increased risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Just remember that although both BMI and WC can be used to determine whether your body weight is healthy, it is still advised to ask your healthcare provider or dietitian to help accurately determine your body composition which can include other measurements such as body fat percentage and lean muscle mass this will help give a more complete representation of your health status.
THE WEIGHT ON MY HEALTH
Overweight and obesity rates are increasing rapidly, in South Africa according to the statistics, almost 40% of men and 70% of women are either overweight or obese. Furthermore, reports have shown that these rates are also high in children aged 2 -14 years with one in four girls and one in five boys being overweight or obese.
Overweight and obesity have adverse metabolic effects on cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin resistance. An increased BMI increases your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and diabetes mellitus and the risk for cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, kidney and gall bladder. Some cancers in South Africa account for 43% of deaths where obesity is one of the five top risk factors for death.
It’s interesting to note that worldwide South Africans ranks as one of the top 10 consumers of soft drinks. Most carbonated, sugary drinks have little nutritional value and have about 10 teaspoons of sugar per 500ml drink. Here we see the importance of healthy choices day in and out.
MAINTAIN, DON’T GAIN
This article clearly shows the importance of maintaining a heathy weight to ensure you live your best life. Here are a few nutritional tips which may help you on your health journey:
- Small changes make a big difference – you need to start somewhere
- All foods can fit in a healthy diet when eaten in the right portions – for more on portion control visit: http://futurelife.co.za
- Eat small frequent meals including snacks
- Healthy snack options include fruit, 30g of nuts (roasted, unsalted), a handful of lean biltong, air popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers with cottage cheese, sugar free peanut butter or smashed avocado, low fat milk/yoghurt, FUTURELIFE® High Protein SmartBar, FUTURELIFE® High Protein LITE SmartBar, FUTURELIFE® Whole Grain Granola Bars or FUTURELIFE® Crunch Bar
- When looking at the food groups:
- Carbohydrates: choose whole-grain, low GI and high fibre options to ensure you are fuller for longer and to keep your digestive system healthy.
- Protein: lean options are best choose chicken, fish or lean mince. Plant proteins added to soups, stews and salads are higher in fibre and lower in fat – these options are also more affordable for those of us on a budget.
- Fats: choose plant fats over animal fats. Healthier fats include peanut butter, olive oil, seeds, nuts and margarine.
- Fruits and vegetables: aim for 5 servings per day in the rainbow of colours these provide us with vitamins and minerals. 1 serving of vegetables would be half a cup cooked or 1 cup raw.
- Water: aim for 8 cups a day, if water isn’t your thing add things like strawberries, lemon, apple, kiwi, cucumber or mint.
- Try fit exercise in to your routine and ensure you get a good night’s rest.
Ensuring your weight is healthy makes the world of differences when it comes to your health. It helps decrease the risk for numerous diseases. We need to try our utmost best to follow a healthy, balanced diet and include exercise as often as possible. Every small change makes a difference in your health journey, what’s most important is just to start somewhere.
- Mahan, L. K., Escott-Stump, S. & Raymond, J. L., n.d. Krauses Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 13 ed. United States: Elsevier.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institue. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/index.htm [Accessed 25 November 2018].
- 2018. Harvard. [Online] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/ [Accessed 30 November 2018]