Lose weight naturally

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it has a negative effect on health. People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height, is over 30 kg/m2. In the UK 20% of the population are classed as obese.

Overweight is defined as with the range 25–30 kg/m2, this has less impact on health but is still harmful especially if associated with other negative lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, high blood sugar, cholesterol, low polyphenol intake, smoking and poor gut health. It effects 60% of the Uk population but this figure is increasing year by year. 40% of all cancers are thought to be linked to excess weight – a  summary of the day to day and medical issues related to being overweight are listed below:

Day to day problems linked to obesity

  • Breathlessness
  • Hot flushes
  • Sweating
  • Snoring / Sleep apnoea
  • Limitation of physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pains Back / knee / hips
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling isolated
  • Reduced mood
  • Higher daily costs

Medical complaints linked to obesity

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and strokes
  • Indigestion
  • Depression
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Urinary problems
  • Impotence

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Why does obesity increase health problems?

Direct biochemical mechanisms:

  • Oestrogen higher / Progesterone lower
  • Insulin resistance
  • Insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1)
  • Higher leptin / lower adiponectin
  • Inflammation – Cox 2 over expression

Indirect mechanisms:

  • More difficult to exercise due to shortness of breath and arthritis
  • Lower vitamin D levels

Benefits of exercising if overweight

Direct mechanisms – reducing risks (independent of weight loss):

  • Improves insulin sensitivity (Lowers IGF-1)
  • Lowers sex hormones
  • Enhances antioxidant enzyme production
  • Improves DNA repair P53 (BCRA 1&2 expression)
  • Epigenetics: Telomere length, gene expression
  • Anti-inflammatory (prostaglandin & COX-2)
  • Reduces cholesterol and saturated fats

Indirect:

  • Reduces weight elevates mood – more motivation to loose weight and exercise
  • Increases light exposure and vitamin D – if exercising outside
  • Helps to loose weight (10% after 6 months >3.5hrs/wk)
  • Helps Arthritis – allowing more exercise

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Tips to loose unwanted weight

The trick is not to put on weight in the first place, but of course this is easier said than done, if we were all perfect we would not be human. Nevertheless despite the daunting task ahead, whatever the reasons and whenever you’re hoping to slim down it is never too late – several studies have shown that loosing weight reduces healthy risks and even after cancer treatments can reduce the risk of relapse.

Below is a list of lifestyle habits which aim to reduce the calorie intake, increase energy expenditure, alter the gut flora and reduce inflammation – all of which can help reduce excess weight.

Tips for eating fewer calories:

  • Do not add any processed sugar to foods or drinks
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Avoid faddy diets
  • Train yourself to eat slower and chew your food carefully
  • Try not to snack between meals
  • Eat your evening meal early
  • Do not snack after your meal until bedtime – if peckish try a herbal tea
  • Have no processed sugar for breakfast – see ultimate breakfast bowl
  • Distract yourself from thinking about food
  • Avoid processed food
  • Eat less fatty foods e.g. deep fried
  • Never eat the batter on fish
  • Avoid pastries, pies, pasties, donuts, cakes, muffins
  • Cut fat off the meat
  • Eat less meat more fish
  • Eat a large salad with every meal (as this fills you up)

Tips for burning up more calories:

  • Go for a short walk before breakfast (extends over night fasting period)
  • Do some physical activity everyday
  • Join an exercise  class
  • Aim for at least 3 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week
  • Use the stairs not the lift or escalator

Other lifestyle factors linked to obesity: