The problem with being overweight is that there is more than one problem that comes with being overweight. When we carry extra pounds, there is a greater likelihood of developing health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and joint problems.
No doubt, the amount of sugar, salt and fat in our diet contributes in large measure to our weight management problem. Most of this is due to our penchant for highly processed food and fast food. But we really shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. Research has shown that we are hardwired to crave calories. This preference for calorific food is the reason people have been able to survive times of famine, by storing calories when possible.
Putting aside legitimate medical reasons (medications, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, to name a few) and psychological issues (like depression, anxiety and various eating disorders), the main contributor to weight gain is overeating. Therefore, to lose weight effectively, we have to manage our diets.
Keeping a food journal may help as it can be surprising how the sneaky snacks and soft drinks add up over time. There are countless food journaling apps available if you’re tech-savvy. As long as we are disciplined – and honest! – enough to document everything we consume, our food journal will give us a fairly accurate idea of how we can change our eating habits.
For some, it may be as simple as giving up that glass of wine at lunch or having fruit for dessert instead of cake. For others, it might require some meal planning, maybe by preparing more home-cooked meals incorporating lean proteins, legumes and vegetables.
Changing what and how we eat can seem daunting at first, but once we establish a routine – humans are creatures of habit, after all – it gets easier to maintain our new and healthier eating habits. It’s also important not to be too hard on ourselves when we eat something “naughty”. Indulging on occasion is fine. Just don’t make it a habit. Pick up where you left off and keep going. Your new eating habits will pay off.
To compound weight gain problems, our self-esteem takes a dive when we think we don’t look our best. Exercise has been proven to be an effective way of improving our mental health and wellbeing which, in turn, boosts our confidence. For time-poor professionals or working parents, it’s about listening to your body clock and squeezing in a bit of exercise whenever you can.
If you’re a morning person, start with a few sit-ups, squats and push-ups before work; if you’re a night owl, do them in the evening. Every little bit counts. Gradually build up to harder routines or longer workout sessions. If you want to build up your upper and lower body strength at the same time, give weightlifting a go. Or if you would like to improve your flexibility, yoga might be a good option. Running is an inexpensive exercise that anyone can try. All you need is a pair of running shoes and comfortable clothing.
Find an exercise you enjoy and stick with it. Allow yourself to be proud of your weekly improvements and achievements, stop focusing on the body parts that you don’t like and stop letting the numbers on the scale dictate how you feel. Keep in mind that your weight management journey may take longer than you anticipated but don’t let that discourage you.
Soon, you will look leaner and toner. And, more importantly, you will feel healthier, fitter and happier.
For more information or to make an appointment to see Dr R Targett please click here or Phone 0403 690 031