By Anne Lamberton DrPH, MPH, RD
If you have been told that you are overweight or obese, know that you are not alone. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 39 percent of the worldwide adult population was overweight – 13 percent were obese. And in 2013, it was estimated that over 42 million of children globally were overweight. The concern with overweight and obesity isn’t just about weight. The WHO defines overweight and obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health “. The health risks associated with excess fat are numerous and include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems and reduced quality of life.
Engaging in the battle to manage excess fat is a challenge. Since the cause of obesity is “an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended”, it’s about a healthy lifestyle and finding the right balance between the quantity and types of food and staying active. Thankfully this means there is a lot of personal choice. Here are just a few tips to help you start thinking about the lifestyle changes you can make to shed a few pounds and help the weight stay off:
- Keep a food diary. If you are honest with yourself, a food diary provides you with accountability as to your daily intake and makes you stop and think before you eat. Don’t cheat, write down every little thing you eat, from your breakfast drink to the few cookies you grabbed from the cookie jar on your way to bed.
- Get moving! Start small with items like taking your dog for a walk around the block, parking your car at the far end of the parking lot, or taking the stairs.. Movement is an important key to getting your metabolism a jump start.
- Substitute your higher calorie food items for the low-calorie options. Substitute your processed, packaged food choices and snacks with more natural options like raw veggies and fresh fruit. Real, whole foods, rather than processed foods, are the smart way to go.
- Everyone has a distracted or bad day but that’s not a reason to give up. Having realistic goals and setting a schedule will help you restart so you can keep working towards your goals. Every day gives a new opportunity for a new start.
Based on WHO “Obesity and Overweight” Factsheet No 311 – Jan, 2015