By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
The 24th of January is Women’s Healthy Weight Day! Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits and can also help us avoid complications.
Being over weight can signal multiple issues from diabetes through to heart disease, but not to worry as our experts are here to offer their tips on losing weight and feeling great.
Ditch the scales
There are so many myths about weight loss and the number on the scales can seem super significant, however, Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of Fat Around the Middle(www.glenvillenutrition.com) disputes this and encourages you to ditch the scales.
“Body composition is about more than weight alone. Body fat percentage – or how much of that weight is fat and how much of it is muscle or bone – is actually more important. This is where your weight on the scales – and even your BMI – can be deceiving: you can have a low body weight or BMI but also a higher-than-normal body fat percentage and a low muscle mass, which is bad news for your health. Equally, you could be losing weight, but the weight that’s coming off is actually muscle: also bad news!
“And vice-versa: your body weight can go up, but at the same time, body fat percentage is decreasing and muscle mass or bone mass increasing – which is usually a good thing! This can happen if you increase your exercise, for example. So you may feel discouraged because it looks like you’re gaining weight – and you are – but you can be losing fat and inches around your waist and improving muscle tone at the same time.”
Eating healthily doesn’t need to be time consuming
When you’re busy, the last thing you want to do is spend hours preparing food! This makes consuming convenience food the obvious choice, however, most of the time this is laden with unhealthy ingredients.
Luckily there are quick, easy and most importantly healthier options available! The healthy Asian-inspired food chain itsu has plenty of options including the new vegan option itsu No Meat Mondays (available nationwide, £7.99). This bento box is packed full of goodness – with beechwood smoked organic tofu with a teriyaki glaze, broccoli, avocado, edamame, pickled red cabbage, mixed leaves, shredded carrot, seeds and sushi rice with a sesame dressing!
It also has 19.2g of protein, “Protein-rich foods are more satiating than carbohydrate-rich foods – in other words, they can fill you up more quickly and for longer. They seem to do this by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and by reducing the release of hormones such as ghrelin that stimulate appetite. The result is that you’re likely to eat less over the course of the day, making it easier to control your weight,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
The impact of weight on type-2 diabetes
Dr Sarah Brewer, working in association with type 2 diabetes supplement CuraLin, (£59.00, www.curalife.co) explains the complications you could face with diabetes. “Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity and inactivity, it’s estimated that obesity accounts for up to 85% of the overall risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This glucose-inflicted damage can affect large arteries to cause what are known as the macrovascular (large blood vessel) complications of diabetes, i.e. angina, heart attacks, strokes.
“People with diabetes are also more at risk of infections, anxiety, depression and dementia than people without diabetes. Not surprisingly, having diabetes, and developing diabetes-related complications can significantly reduce your quality of life.” CuraLin is a natural blend of 10 Ayurvedic herbs. These herbs have a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine to help balance glucose control!
The impact of weight on heart and circulatory diseases
Dr. Marilyn Glenville (www.glenvillenutrition.com) explains how we can help maintain a healthy heart, “Homocysteine is a toxic substance made from protein in the diet and is normally detoxified by the body. High levels of homocysteine contribute to the thickening of the artery walls, making the blood more likely to clot, damaging the blood vessels and resulting in the build-up of fatty deposits or plaque.
Homocysteine is made from an amino acid methionine found in the diet, it is important if you have a high homocysteine levels to reduce those foods that are high in methionine, which includes meat and dairy. Boosting your beta glucan soluble fibre can also support a healthy heart as it can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Beta glucan is good for your heart health because it binds with the cholesterol from your food and helps to excrete it.
When you exercise you are strengthening both your heart and your lungs. We know that as a woman you are twice as likely to get heart disease if you are inactive. Lack of physical activity has been strongly linked to heart disease so it is crucial for us to build exercise in to our daily routine.”
Top Tip: The new NHP Cardio Support (£25.78 www.naturalhealthpractice.com) contains the key nutrients that your body needs to help detoxify homocysteine. As well as other nutrients such as vitamin K2 that helps prevent calcification in the arteries and helps the blood vessels to stay flexible.
Boost your metabolism with your gut
Our stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, called gut flora, which have a controlling influence over many bodily functions, including metabolism and fat reduction.
However, our lifestyle habits (taking antibiotics, having a diet high in sugar, feeling stressed) can contribute to damaging our gut bacteria, so it’s important to limit the bad bacteria and encourage the good bacteria to grow.
“Feed the good bacteria with fibrous foods and probiotics, which you can find in fermented foods (such as Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and apple cider vinegar) or include a supplement in your diet, such as Natures Plus GI Natural Powder (£32.95www.naturesplus.co.uk). Probiotics may help to reduce the number of calories you absorb from food,” advises Cassandra.