Being overweight means that you have too much body fat. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, while being overweight means you have a BMI of 25 to 29.9. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered an ideal weight. You can calculate your BMI using one of the online BMI calculators. It is important to try and maintain an ideal weight as being overweight can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer such as breast or bowel cancer and stroke.
Weight loss can be achieved by following a Healthy Diet (See Healthy Diet section).
Tips for losing weight while maintaining a healthy diet include:
Eat water-rich foods – Water adds bulk to foods without adding calories. People tend to eat a fairly consistent weight of food on a daily basis. The more water-rich the food, the fewer calories are being taken in overall. They also take longer to eat, which slows the rate of consumption and increases the sensation of food in our mouth and throat. The more we chew, taste and feel food in our mouths, the more our brain thinks we are filling up. Foods high in water content include:
100-90% Water Content – asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, grapefruit, green beans, lettuce, melon, mushrooms, onions, pumpkin, strawberries, tomatoes and courgette.
89-80% Water Content – apples, apricots, artichokes, brussels sprouts, carrots, cherries, grapes, kiwifruit, mangos, oatmeal, other berries, other citrus fruits, pears, peas, pineapple, plums, tofu, and yoghurt.
79-70% Water Content – avocados, bananas, tinned beans, sweetcorn, couscous, edamame, eggs, pomegranates, potatoes, quinoa, rice and sweet potatoes.
69-60% Water Content – barley, beef, tinned tuna, hummus, lobster, pasta, pork, poultry and salmon
Choose food with a low glycaemic load – Glycaemic load is a measure that takes into account the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food together with how quickly it is digested and raises blood glucose levels. This is important because it can affect our appetites, our metabolic rates and how much fat we burn. Foods with a low glycaemic load of less than 10 include beans, chickpeas and split peas, fruit, lentils and whole-grain bread. Foods with a medium glycaemic load of between 11-19 include oatmeal, spaghetti, brown rice, sweet potato and white bread. Foods with a high glycaemic load which should be minimised include corn flakes and rice crispies, dates, white rice, white potatoes and raisins.
Eat calorie dense foods sparingly – A healthy diet consists of a lot of food low in calorie density. When trying to lose weight low calorie density food is good because it will fill you up without adding excessive calories to your diet. You should:
Eat More of these foods with less than 100 calories per 150g: most fresh fruit, most vegetables.
Eat some of these foods with less than 300 calories per 150g: avocados, bananas, starchy vegetables, pasta, wholegrains, beans, lentils, chickpeas, yogurt and sea food.
Eat Less of these foods with 300-600 calories per 150g: dried fruit, chips, onion rings, bread, eggs, beef, pork and poultry.
Eat these foods with more than 600 calories per 150g sparingly: nuts, butter, oil, chocolate, cheese and bacon.
Drink more water - It can help reduce sugar cravings and aid weight maintenance because the brain can’t actually tell the difference between hunger and thirst, so often we can mistake thirst as a ‘sugar craving'. The next time you feel the need for something sweet, try drinking a glass of water first. Research has shown that having water before a meal may fill you up more and therefore promote weight loss by eating less at the meal.
Exercise more - Exercise is helpful for weight loss and maintaining weight loss. Exercise can increase your metabolism, or how many calories you burn in a day. It can also help you maintain and increase lean body mass, which also helps increase number of calories you burn each day. Being physically active can also reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.