Most of you have a desire to look better and feel better. If you successfully lose weight, you can definitely look better, feel better AND significantly prolong your life.
Why lose weight? Physical reasons
According to obesity specialist, Dr Steven Rose, ‘Someone who weighs at least 20% more than their ideal weight is classed as obese, and will have premature death, on an average, ten years earlier than someone of a healthy weight. Obesity doubles your risk; shortens your life from coronary heart disease or stroke and increases your risk of type 2 diabetes almost forty fold. ‘Losing just 10kg of excess fat can halve your risk of these diseases,’ says Dr Rose, ‘It will also improve all those health niggles associated with overweight.
Why lose weight? Psychological reasons
The emotional effects of being overweight are just as harmful as the physical. It drains your confidence and self esteem. You need to hold back rather than pushing forward in all aspects of your life, especially your relationships. You look in the mirror, suck in beer and all that you see is the flabby bits. You feel inhibited because of your size. Now is the time that you can do all those things you’ve been putting off through lack of confidence in your own abilities.
Why lose weight? Social reasons
You all make assumptions on characters based on physical appearance of any person. In Western Society it is widely accepted that if you are fat you are less attractive. This stereotype, and the negative assumptions about your personality and capabilities means that in social settings, you are less likely to get served by salespeople and waiters than those who are thin. At work, the overweight are seen as less desirable and assumed to be more lazy, less competent, less reliable and less productive than those of lower weight. As a result, they’re less likely to receive the promotions they deserve. Employers also worry about the insurance costs, future illnesses and work absences that are likely to increase your healthcare costs.
Why lose weight? Physiological reasons
Fat cells are not just passive energy stores, says Professor David Haslam, GP and Hospital Physician in Obesity Management. They produce hormones and signalling proteins that tell your liver to produce more cholesterol, and make your blood more sticky. They also over-stimulate white blood cells responsible for immune protection. This low-grade inflammation is linked with hardening and furring up of the arteries, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart failure and even certain cancers.
How much weight do you need to lose?
‘Measuring weight isn’t as simple as just stepping on the scales’, according to Professor Haslam. ‘Total body weight is a one dimensional measure that includes your muscles, bones and body fluids as well as your fat stores. Monitoring your weight can be useful, as it highlights whether you are maintaining weight, piling it on, or successfully slimming down.
For more accuracy, a two dimensional measure called the body mass index, or BMI is used. It shows the relationship between your height and weight to estimate your body fat stores. Ideally, you want to be in the healthy weight range for your height, as this is associated with optimum emotional, physical and physiological wellness.
One size doesn’t fit all: weight versus fat versus shape
Although BMI is a useful guide, it’s still not a perfect measure of body fat. It tries to squeeze a three-dimensional object – your body – into a two-dimensional equation. It is not accurate for people who are less than five feet tall, or those with a lot of muscle mass. BMI tends to overestimate body fat in athletes and body builders with a muscular build, and to underestimate body fat in older people and those who have lost muscle mass.