Healthy weight loss - Page 2
Sensible weight loss
Sensible weight loss should be seen as an overall lifestyle change which involves eating a healthy balanced diet and doing plenty of physical activity. You should try to lose weight gradually, about 1-2 lbs (approximately 0.5-1.0 kg) a week. This way, the weight is more likely to stay off. This rate of weight loss is based on using up 600 calories per day more than you take in. The amount of weight you lose will depend on how much weight you need to lose, how active you are and whether you are male or female.
There are some cultural pressures for people to be inappropriately slim, such as fashion and extreme interest in celebrities. Many people try to lose weight even though they may be within the normal weight range for their height or only slightly plump (which is not a risk to health). Unnecessary dieting is not advised as frequent dieting and over concern about body weight takes the enjoyment out of eating and may encourage eating disorders or an unhealthy obsession with food. Some specific diets and ‘yo-yo’ dieting and becoming underweight can all be damaging to your health. Pregnant women and children should seek medical advice before considering losing weight.
Health benefits of losing weight
Studies have shown that, when overweight, losing (and keeping off) 5-10% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. For example, it can:
- Lower high blood pressure
- Improve control of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
- Reduce the risk of angina (heart condition causing chest pain)
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Ease lower back and joint pain
What's more, a sensible approach to weight loss means that you are more likely to keep your excess weight off for good. It is important that you maintain the healthy lifestyle changes you make. Eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping physically active will remain important even after you have reached your desired weight.
- © British Nutrition Foundation 2012