Many of us would like to lose some if not a lot of weight. As of 2017, research done by the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported, 64% of adults who are over the age of 18 are overweight or obese, and 30% of children aged, 5-17 are overweight or obese. Taking control of your weight is not always easy but it does have many health benefits.
Keeping a healthy weight is a great way to reduce the risk of cancer. Eating well and an active lifestyle can help you keep a stable weight and often lose weight.
Being overweight or obese is linked to thousands of cancers every year. Carrying excess weight increases the risk of a number of different types of cancer, these include the following:
Excess weight also increases the risk of gastric carcinoma, a type of stomach cancer.
Fat cells in the body produces hormones which play an important role in how your body functions. High levels of certain hormones can increase the risk of cancer which is why many scientists believe this correlates to being overweight and developing forms of cancer.
Genetics certainly can affect how likely you are to gain weight partly because they can affect the lifestyle choices you make; for example you may be more sensitive to certain foods and smells and less able to sense when you are full.
People with genes linked to obesity are not ‘destined’ to become overweight but they may have to work harder to maintain a healthy weight as certain parts of their diet may react differently to others.
So what is a healthy weight, well most doctors use the BMI index also know as Body Mass Index to work out the healthiest weights for adults based on how tall they are. The BMI index is not a good guide for children (as they are still growing), pregnant or breastfeeding adults and professional athletes (who often have very specific goals and targets based on their sports) .
Your body shape also matters as your body stores fat in different places depending on your build. People with an ‘apple’ shaped body with fat stored around their waist seem to be more at risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes than people who are ‘pear’ shaped.
A simplified measure of this is you have a higher risk of health problems if you waist line is more that 80cm (32 inches) for women and 94cm (37 inches) for men. Go on, take the time to measure your waist accurately around the centre of your body between your hip bone and bottom rib. Often its the incremental growth that sneaks up on us and having regular checks on size and weight and BMI are good reminders of how we are doing in day to day health.
Finally at its simplest form weight gain occurs when you take in more energy through food and rink than you use up. It’s become easier and easier to get low nutrient high calorie products because of drive throughs and fast food. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles (I’m writing this behind my desk sitting down) we may not have noticed how much weight we have put on or how simple it was.
Losing weight and keeping it off is a gradual process that starts with you deciding to make a change for the better. Improved health and wellness has obvious benefits but we know how difficult it is to make changes, long term lifestyle changes are better than short term fixes (however appealing) as you want to maintain a healthy weight not slip back and yo-yo with your weight. You’ll need to change routines (avoid getting that cream and sugar in your coffee) and the way you think about food and physical activity (make they enjoyable but good for you).
Cut down on fatty and sugary foods while experimenting with portion control as you can still in what you like but in moderation. Think about what you eat and research what calories are in different items, try meal planning to avoid the take out solutions when you can’t think of what to eat.