Forget about the bikini. There are far more important reasons to strive for and maintain a healthy weight. Bob Wright, M.A.T., director of education at Hilton Head Health (hhhealth.com), explains and shares some effective strategies.
What are the health consequences of being obese?
Obesity affects virtually every system and part of the body. It increases the risk of the most serious chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. It often takes an emotional toll, as well. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, obesity is the single greatest threat to public health in this century.
How can someone determine if they’re at a healthy weight?
For most people, BMI [body mass index] is a good place to start. It’s calculated by plugging your height and weight into a formula (such as the Google BMI chart). A BMI of 20 to 25 is considered to be within a healthy range; 25 to 30 is referred to as overweight; and above 30 is considered obese. BMI doesn’t accurately assess risk for all people. For example, a heavily muscled athlete may have a high BMI and not be at risk, whereas a relatively thin person with a large belly might fall into the apparently healthy range, but be at a significantly elevated risk. That brings up another way to assess risk: waist circumference. A waist circumference of 35 inches or greater for women and 40 inches or greater for men is associated with increased risk.
Can you offer some tips for healthy eating and exercise?
Keep healthy snacks such as fresh fruit and cut veggies out in the open, and keep treats out of sight. When going out to eat, have a healthy snack an hour or so before you go to keep hunger under control. When ordering salads, always get dressings on the side, then dip your fork into the dressing and spear your salad. To move more, get a pedometer to help you keep track of how far you are walking and motivate you to take a few more steps every day. Increase your daily steps total gradually, working up to 10,000 steps a day.
How do you measure progress?
Progress can and should be measured in a number of ways. The most obvious but sometimes most frustrating is by weighing ourselves. We discourage establishing an aggressive “ideal weight.” We recommend that the first weight loss goal be to lose five to ten percent of your current weight and when that goal is achieved, lose another five to ten percent and so on. We recommend weighing once a week, and encourage our guests to expect no more than one to two pounds per week.
We also strongly encourage guests to look for other ways to monitor progress, which includes acknowledging improvements in energy, endurance, flexibility, mobility, the way their clothes fit, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, self-esteem, etc. They’re also encouraged to record food intake and exercise to help make them more aware of these behaviors.
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workout videos, and more.