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What we have to say about your health and well being
May 2015
The A-Z of healthy weight
With the latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre suggesting only 34 percent of men and 39 percent of women in England have a healthy body mass index (BMI), here’s our guide to weight management A is for assessing your weight. If you’re not sure if your current weight is healthy, find out by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Use the BMI Healthy Weight calculator atwww.allabouthealth.org.uk/weight-loss to find out if your BMI is in the healthy range. Some pharmacies also offer weight management services that may include measuring your BMI (find your nearest participating pharmacy atwww.allabouthealth.org.uk). B is for breakfast. It may be tempting to skip the first meal of the day, but research shows eating breakfast can help you control your weight. Try a bowl of wholemeal cereal or porridge topped with slices of fruit. C is for calories. These are a measure of the amount of energy in food, so it’s important to know how many you should eat (and how many you’re eating). The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day, and a woman needs about 2,000. For more about calories in food, visitwww.caloriecounting.co.uk D is for diets – or more specifically, fad diets. They may be popular with celebrities, but they very often don’t work. A more effective way to lose weight is to eat healthily and aim for a steady rather than dramatic rate of weight loss. E is for emotional triggers. It’s important to understand the emotions that make you overeat – stress, for instance, or feeling tired. If you know what makes you reach for unhealthy foods, you can take steps to do something else instead. F is for fibre. Eating a diet high in fibre has many health benefits, including helping to prevent weight gain. Aim for at least 18g of fibre a day by eating plenty of fibre-rich fruit, vegetables and grains. G is for green foods. On the whole, if it grows and it’s green, it’s good to eat: broccoli, spinach, spring greens, green beans, green peppers, kale, asparagus, green apples, kiwi fruit, green grapes... Just go easy on the avocados, which are healthy but high in fat. H is for heart health. If you’re overweight or obese your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, as well as other health problems such as type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, infertility, osteoarthritis, back pain and depression, is higher. But losing just five percent of your weight can bring health benefits. I is for indulgence. When you’re trying to lose weight, some foods just seem more tempting than ever. So don’t cut out treats altogether. Aim to indulge yourself once in a while –but not all the time. J is for jelly (the sugar-free variety). If you simply can’t go without pudding after your main meal, try satisfying your sweet tooth with some fresh fruit and sugar-free jelly. K is for kettlebells. Since muscles are very good at burning calories, muscle-strengthening activities can help give your weight loss a boost. As well as gym equipment, try using resistance bands or filled-up bottles of water at home. L is for labels. It’s important to understand nutrition labels on food packaging to make sure what you eat isn’t high in fat, added sugar and salt. Find out more about the different type of food labels and what they mean atwww.nhs.uk (search food labelling). M is for motivation. A crucial aspect of weight management is to keep yourself motivated. There’s lots of advice on how to do this, but the trick is to find a way that works for you. Ask your friends and family to sponsor you to lose weight and give what you make to charity or keep visualising yourself at your target weight. N is for night feeding. Snacking at night can undermine your weight loss efforts, so try to keep your mind off food by being active instead of sitting in front of the TV every evening. If you still crave a late-night snack, have a piece of fruit or some raw veggie sticks instead of crisps or biscuits. O is for obesity. According to the NHS’s most recent statistics for England, there was a marked increase in obesity rates from 1993 to 2011. In 1993, 13 percent of men and 16 percent of women were obese, but in 2011 the figures rose to 24 percent of men and 26 percent of women. Check your BMI (if it’s 30 or more, you’re classed as obese). P is for portions. These are important for a healthy balanced diet. An ideal guide to how many portions you need of the different types of food is called the eatwell plate (search the eatwell plate). Q is for quitting smoking. According to the NHS, people gain an average 5k (11lb) in the year after they give up smoking. If you smoke, don’t let that put you off giving up, as the benefits of quitting smoking more than make up for the inconvenience of gaining weight. R is for roasting. How you cook can save valuable calories. For instance, if you roast poultry, meat or seafood instead of frying, you don’t need any added fat (and if you use a rack inside a roasting tin, some of the fat can drip away during cooking). Grilling, poaching and steaming are also healthy cooking methods. S is for saturated fat, sugar, salt – the main things you should aim to eat less of, not only for weight loss but also your health. Cut down on fat and sugar by eating fewer sweets, cakes and biscuits, and drinking fewer sugary soft drinks. Also eat no more than 6g of salt (2.4g sodium) a day. T is for tracking your weight loss. You may be tempted to step on the bathroom scales every morning, but it’s a good idea to limit yourself to once a week. That way, you won’t feel discouraged when you don’t see your weight dropping from one day to the next. U is for underweight. Weighing too little can also damage your health by weakening your immune system and your bones, as well as lowering your energy levels. Again, checking your BMI will determine whether or not your weight is healthy (a BMI below 18.5 suggests you may be underweight). V is for vegetarians. According to the NHS, a vegetarian diet can be very healthy. But it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose weight because you’ve cut out meat (chips, crisps and cheese can all be vegetarian foods, after all). So just like carnivores, vegetarians should make sure their diet is balanced and varied. W is for water. What you drink can also have an impact on whether or not your weight is healthy. Water is arguably the best choice because it has no calories and contains no sugars that can cause tooth decay (aim for around eight glasses a day). X is for exercise. Physical activity doesn’t just burn calories. It can also reduce your risk of major illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. According to the NHS, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. Y is for yoghurt. Lower-fat varieties of yoghurt, milk and other dairy foods are the healthiest options, as they provide all the protein and calcium without the fat (and therefore calories). Aim to have some lower-fat milk and dairy foods every day. Z is for zip. That is, when you can do yours up without struggling, you’ll get a tremendous sense of achievement. Please call into Ruislip Manor Pharmacy for individual guidance DNS support on healthy eating , weight management or lifestyle advice.
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