Diabesity: Are you overweight and at risk of a chronic disease, such as diabetes or cancer?
If you would like to know how to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, then please read on.
You may have been as shocked as me last week, when Cancer UK published some sobering statistics that predicted that nearly 7 in 10 millennials (70%) will be overweight or obese by the age of 35 to 45. So, if you were born in the early 1980s to mid-1990s, this is likely to be you…
Did you know that some experts now think that obesity may now contribute to more ill-health than smoking? This includes:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers (obesity is the second leading cause of cancer after smoking, such as breast cancer)
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Digestive problems, such as indigestion
In other words, diseases related to being overweight or obese can affect anyone and you are one of these people likely to be affected.
If you are uncertain if you are overweight or not (and you may not realise as everyone around you it getting larger), it is really easy to find out if you have too much body fat. One of the best ways to measure your waistline is with a tape measure.
- For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more is cause for concern.
- For men, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more could spell trouble.
Another useful measure, is your hip:waist ratio:
- For women, the ratio is 0.80 or less.
- For men, the ratio is 1 or less.
You will see from the above calculations if you decide to measure your waist or waist:hip ratio, that you don’t have to be seriously overweight for your abdominal fat to be negatively impacting on your health.
So, what are key dietary foods to eat and avoid to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight?
1. Cut out (or dramatically reduce) all foods that contain sugar - and this includes alcohol.
2. Switch to wholegrain bread, rice and pasta (rich in fibre and minerals) and cut out refined carbohydrates, such as foods with low fibre contents, like white flours, rice, pasta and bread.
3. Increase (or include) many more vegetables in your diet (ideally to obtain a really healthful amount of vegetables, they should cover half your plate at each meal). Limit fruit (if you eat more than two servings a day – it is healthy, but often contains a lot of fruit sugar).
4. Eat adequate amounts of good quality protein (from eggs, meat and fish)
5. Increase healthy oils/fats in your diet (if you are cutting down on refined processed foods, as part of a healthy eating or weight loss programme, many of the unhealthy oils will naturally be omitted in your diet anyway)
Exercise or appropriate physical activity, may also help you lose weight (but normally only in conjunction with dietary changes) and lower your risk of chronic disease.
So, how and when should I start?
Keeping a food diary is a good start, as you may more easily be able to identify unhealthy, sugar-laden foods and to make necessary dietary changes.
If you still require further help, as habits are often very hard to break, or if you have already been diagnosed with an obesity-related disease, you could ask a registered nutritional therapist to carry out a dietary evaluation. They will be able to work out from your diet history how to improve what you are eating, what foods to avoid and how to avoid hidden sugars or how to wean yourself off sugar effectively, by employing some simple strategies and delicious alternatives to the sugary foods so readily available.
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