Lose Weight: How and Why? by Annette J Dunlea
Published In The Carrigdhoun Newspaper 25th August 2012 p.9
At it’s most basic, losing weight is about burning more calories than you eat. The real secret to weight loss is to make small, lasting changes. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run. Exercise is an important weight loss tool, but how much you need varies from person to person. The guidelines recommend at least 250 minutes per week, which comes out to about 50 minutes, 5 days a week. If you’re a beginner, start small, for example with 3 days of exercise for 15-30 minutes, gradually adding time each week to give your body time to adapt. Learn more about getting in shape and getting started with exercise. There are lots of ways to increase the amount of activity you do. Team sports, racket sports, aerobics classes, running, walking, swimming and cycling will all improve your fitness levels. Get out and about at the weekend. Leave your car on the drive and walk to the shops. Try to incorporate longer walks into outings to the park, coast or countryside and take a picnic, so you’re in control of what you are going to eat that day. Every extra step you take helps. Always use the stairs instead of the lift, or get off the bus a stop before the usual one and walk the rest of the way. Reduce your calorie intake. There are no shortcuts to losing weight in a healthy and reasonable way.
Eating 300 to 500 calories less per day should lead to a loss of between one and two pounds per week. This is a realistic target. It may seem slow, but it would add up to a weight loss of more than three stone in a year. Fat contains the most amount of calories out of all the food types so a good way to achieve this is to cut down on fatty foods and eat more wholegrain bread, fruit and vegetables. Replace fizzy drinks and fruit cordials with water. Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed, or semi-skimmed for skimmed. Eat less lunch than usual. For example, make your own sandwich and limit the use of margarine or butter and full-fat mayonnaise. Stop taking sugar in tea and coffee. Have smaller portions of the food you enjoy. Avoid having a second helping at dinner. Cut out unhealthy treats – such as confectionery, sugary biscuits and crisps between meals. Cut down on alcohol intake. All these things will influence your health in a positive way. Finally, don’t be tempted to skip breakfast or any meal to lose weight. While skipping a meal will reduce your calorie intake for that hour, it will leave you much hungrier later on.
If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your diet, try keeping a daily diary of everything you eat and drink. You can use a notebook or an online diary. At the end of the week, review your entries for problem areas. Look out for processed foods, alcohol, fast food, roasts, creamy sauces and fried foods. If your diet seems largely healthy, look at portion sizes. Be patient and persevere. It might take a week or two before you notice any changes, but they will steadily appear. After the first month you’ll be able to see the results and measure them in terms of looser fitting clothes. Keeping your motivation up is one of the most difficult aspects of dieting. There will be days when healthy eating goes out the window, and there will be weeks where you may not lose any weight – or put a little back on.
There are many health benefits for individual weightloss. Studies show that overweight women who lose between 10lb and 20lb halve their risk of developing diabetes. For men, the risk of heart problems reduces considerably. Generally, we gain weight as we age. A few pounds over the years are not a problem, but people who gain more than 20lb compared to their weight as an 18-year-old will rapidly increase their risk of health problems due to that extra weight. In particular, women increase their risk of heart attack and double their risk of dying from cancer. Benefits include: increased energy level, lower your cholesterol levels, reduce your blood pressure,reduced aches and pains, improved mobility, improve your breathing, help you sleep better and wake more rested, prevention of angina, chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart,decreases your risk of sudden death from heart disease or stroke, prevention of Type 2 diabetes, improved blood sugar levels. If you’re overweight or obese, you have a higher risk of:high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke,type 2 diabetes,some types of cancer, infertility,osteoarthritis,back pain and depression The best way to lose weight is to make small, realistic changes to your diet and the amount of physical activity you do.
Make your commitment to weight loss because you want to lose weight to improve your well-being,not because someone else has pressured you to do so. Before you start a weight loss regimen, decide that you want to change your life for the better; not just please your family, friends or significant other. Learn to enjoy food in small portions and experiment with new foods you haven’t ate before. As you lose weight you will receive more compliments about your appearance and from this comes confidence. Buy modern clothes off the hanger in any store and cheaper than outsize stores. Dress well and having confidence in your appearance. Learn to enjoy exercise,sports and get involved in your community. Know that you have will power and control of your own destiny. In conclusion, it is a personal journey and a long battle. With all the health cut backs I read letters of abuse from people criticizing overweight people. Do not judge others one does not know what medical problems people have!Weight gain can also be caused by health conditions such as hypothyroidism, food sensitivity, Cushing’s syndrome, organ disease, prescription drug use, anxiety, blood sugar imbalance, back problems and essential fatty acid deficiency. Thyroid hormone deficiency can decrease metabolism of food, causing appetite loss and modest weight gain. No one is perfect. Weight gain can also be caused by organ enlargement, such as from an ovarian cyst, and obstruction of lymph fluid. Some people with depression overeat, which can lead to obesity. Certain medications, notably steroids, some antidepressants, and high blood pressure drugs, and seizure medications can also cause increased body weight. Everyone is entitled to medical care. People drink and smoke and these too have ramifications for people’s health. So be kind to those battling weigh gain and offer them support if a friend or family member goes on a diet and healthy living programme.
Causes Annette Dunlea Supports
The National Council of The Blind, Ireland