Successful weight management comes down to a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle, which combines eating healthy foods and keeping physically active. Most people put on weight because they eat and drink more calories than what their bodies need. The excess energy builds up in their bodies as fat.
So what is healthy weight? The simplest guide for assessing body weight as well as the amount and distribution of body fat is by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated from a person’s weight and height to determine the amount of body fat.
How to calculate your BMI
Calculate your BMI = Weight (kg) / Height x Height (metre)
18.5 to 22.9 : Low risk
23 to 27.4 : Moderate risk
27.5 and above : High risk
Note: BMI should not be used to calculate health risk in pregnant women, people with muscular build and the elderly (age above 65 years). These BMI ranges also do not apply to children below 8 years.
You should keep a BMI value of 18.5 to 22.9, which indicates that your body weight is within the healthy range. Excess body fat accumulated in the body may lead to health-related problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
How to lose weight the healthy way?
- Eat smaller portions at regular intervals
- Eat slowly and stop eating when comfortably full
- Do not skip meals as it leads to binge eating
- Calculate your calorie consumption so that your total energy intake does not exceed your daily calorie requirements
- Avoid oily food and dishes with coconut cream
- Order soup dishes, or low fat options like lean meat and poultry without skin and fat
- You can also use unsaturated fat oils like sunflower, soya, corn, canola and olive oils in cooking
- Choose unsaturated, low in sugar food and drinks
- It is best to drink plenty of water and limit intake of other drinks e.g. soft drinks, fruit juices
- Drinking plain water also provides a sense of fullness and reduces food cravings
- For a start, consider an exercise routine with a 30 minutes session, one to three times per week at an intensity suited to your fitness level
- Moderate intensity aerobic activities are those that cause a slight increase in breathing and heart rate e.g. brisk walking, badminton, leisure cycling
- You should watch your calorie intake as you increase your physical activity levels
- Always remember to start slow, gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your exercise
- Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more advice if needed
Tips to better manage your weight:
- Set realistic goals for weight loss. Weight loss should be gradual to ensure fat is lost, rather than muscle or water
- Keep track of what you eat. Eat smaller portions and choose a healthier option instead of higher-calorie snacks
- Take part in more physical activities as it keeps your heart healthy. Exercising regularly helps you lose weight and strengthen your heart at the same time
- Track your progress by weighing yourself, measuring your waist circumference and calculating your body fat percentage, once a week
According to WHO, obesity is on the rise and a major health concern. It can cause serious consequences to one’s health. It is a medical condition involving accumulation of excess body fat. Fortunately, it can be prevented.
Weight loss is not about “dieting”. It is about focusing on a healthy lifestyle, combining healthy foods and having an active lifestyle. If you are overweight or obese, losing a small amount of weight gradually can help you feel well and live well.
What can good weight management do for you?
- Improve back and joint functions
- Prevent diabetes
- Prevent hypertension
- Prevent high cholesterol
- Have better sleep quality
- Better mental well-being
The key to success is making realistic changes to your diet and level of physical activity that can become a part of your daily routine.
How can I stay motivated?
- Set yourself realistic goals to eat well and maintain a healthy weight
- Sustainable healthy eating plan that is suited to your lifestyle
Committing to these lifestyle changes now will help you maintain good health throughout life.