A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
Overweight? Start Reducing Today!
An overweight epidemic permeates all age groups. One third of all children between two and nineteen are overweight or obese and over one billion adults are overweight, 300 million obese! While genetics may play a small role in these statistics, the predominant factors are poor diet and lack of exercise.
Diets high in saturated fats and sugars have given way to diets high in complex carbohydrates. Also the portions have grown by leaps and bounds which is evident in fast food outlets and family restaurants. Shifts toward less physical activity is also evidenced by the increasing dependence on cars, passive leisure and technology in homes.
There are three primary ways of assessing your obesity levels:
1. Body mass index (BMI) – a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Normal would be 18.5 – 24.9, Overweight is 25 – 29.9 and Obese is 30 or higher. Click on www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi and calculate yours right now. The limits of this calculation are a) it may overestimate body fat in muscular people and b) it may underestimate body fat in older people who have lost muscle mass
2. Waist circumference – is determined by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist. Risk increases with a waist measurement over 35 inches in women and over 40 in men.
3. Other risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, high blood sugar, smoking.
It is when you eat more calories than you burn off that your body will store the extra calories as fat. So the solution is to eat less and/or to burn more—ideally utilizing both approaches is the most effective. Making sure the thyroid gland is working efficiently is also important. Joining a group such as Weight Watchers combined with an exercise program is always helpful in obtaining desirable results. But one approach (diet) without the other (exercise) will not result in optimal health or in healthy weight loss. Both are required.
What health issues stem from being overweight?
Type 2 diabetes (adult onset) – increases in proportion to excess body fat. “Approximately 85% of people with diabetes are type 2 and of these 90% are overweight.
Cancer of breast, colon, prostate, endometrium, kidney and gallbladder
What can be done about it?
Eat low fat, high fibre foods
Identify hidden food sensitivities
Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains
Eliminate foods containing high fats and sugars (yes, including alcohol!)
Change from saturated animal fats to unsaturated vegetable fats
Cut portions to half
Exercise at a moderate to intense pace for at least 30 minutes per day
Does it mean your attitude will change immediately to “I can hardly wait to get on that elliptical every day?” or, “Wow! Give me that salad instead of that chocolate cake!” Don’t we all wish! But once you feel the amazing benefits, you will never look back. When it comes to exercise, a routine of cardio five days a week for three weeks straight and you will feel the amazing benefits such as increased stamina, better mood, more energy! And of course...the crème de la crème—a lighter, more toned you!
(Ed. Note: Judit is the owner of Change of Pace Fitness Center, and the author of the Canadian best-seller Free to Fly: A Journey Toward Wellness. She can be reached at 766-5800.)