Isn't it weird how people with sparkling personalities, witty repartee, spirituality, and a lifetime of wisdom can be eclipsed by a twit with a good figure? To call yourself officially overweight, your Body Mass Index (BMI) must be over 25. Obesity is more than 30. Unfortunately one needs a mensa IQ to calculate BMI.
The formula is weight (kg) / height (m)2.
- Underweight below 20
- Acceptable weight 20-25
- Overweight above 25-30
- Obesity more than 30
For example Sam is 1.68 m and weighs 75 kg.
His BMI would be 75 kg / 1.682
75 kg / 2.82 = 26.6
A BMI of 26.6 would just sneak Sam into the overweight camp
(i.e. above a BMI of 25).
Humans come in two main shapes: like a pear (gynaecoid), where most of the weight occurs round the hips, bottom and thighs; or like an apple (android) where most of the weight settles on the tum, even though your legs and arms may be like little sticks. The apples have more to worry about as they have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. However, it is easier to be a slim apple than a slim pear. Apples apparently have fewer fat cells than pears. It is easier to shrink fat from fewer cells than to shrink it from more cells.
- Is your mother overweight? Is your father overweight? Are your sisters and brothers overweight? Whether it is nature or nurture, a higher proportion of overweight people have overweight families.
- One diet too many. The truth will out! People who have been on many diets, particularly low kilojoule diets, tend to be more over-weight than those who have never dieted. We now know that dieting interferes with metabolism, which slows down the less we eat, creating a vicious cycle. The metabolic rate is the rate at which energy is used and released by the cells. A higher metabolic rate means that more energy is used, and more body fat is burned for energy. A low or sluggish metabolism means that cells are more thrifty in their use of energy and kilojoules.
- Humans were designed to walk over 40 km a day. How sedentary our lives have become! We do much less with our bodies and eat more ice-cream than our ancestors did.
- With all the pressure society places on not being overweight, you would have to be a masochist to want to be fat. Overeating is an addiction to food which should be given the same consideration as any other addiction. When we were babies and terribly vulnerable, a source of comfort and nourishment was mother's milk (or formula). When we were afraid or tired or angry and cried, we were given the breast or bottle. When we are upset or stressed, many of us still need to feel comforted, just as we did when a baby. Some people choose alcohol, some people choose cigarettes, others seek solace in chocolate or chips.
- Television watching is a strong predictor of obesity. The more TV you watch the more likely you are to be overweight.
- Hormonal problems do have a role in obesity, but only a very few people have entirely hormonal weight problems.
What To Do
- Write a complete diet diary for one week before starting a new eating plan. Don't change a thing, and don't judge. Take this diary to a dietician, to sort out any problem areas such as missing breakfast, a caffÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© latte too many or too much hidden fat. Along with all food and e drink, keep a written record of your emotions. Sometimes we don't realise we are eating because of some emotion like boredom, fear or rage.
However, more recently, the information about the Glycaemic Index (GI) of foods has shown that many of these low fat carbohydrates have a high GI, meaning that the sugars from these foods are absorbed very quickly, causing a disturbance with insulin levels and blood sugar metabolism. It appears that this combination is a wonderful precursor to obesity and diabetes. Oops!
The Low Starch Weight Loss Eating Plan is an easy to follow low glycaemic way of eating that is healthy and helps you lose and maintain your weight.
- Eat smaller portions at mealtimes.
Herbs and Supplements
- (See Glow)
- There are several amino acids which are claimed to reduce appetite and burn fat. As long as you exercise and maintain a sensible eating plan, they may help. They include glutamine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine and carnitine.
- Spirulina, kelp and seaweed products contain iodine, which may boost a sluggish metabolic rate.
- Coenzyme Q10 improves cellular metabolism.
- Aerobic exercise increases the metabolic rate for the next 48 hours. 'Aerobic' means that you are burning up kilojoules, and you need oxygen to do it. It has been determined that to burn fat, you should be exercising in a 'target' heart rate range for 40 minutes at least four times weekly. You may have seen charts showing target heart rate plastered on gym walls. This tells you how fast your pulse should be if you are exercising aerobically. If you managed to work out your BMI, then figuring your target heart rate should be easy. The formula for determining target heart rate range is (220 age) (approx 60%).
- For example Sue is 45 years old. Her target heart rate would be (220 45) 60% 105 beats per minute.
- A good alternative is to commit yourself to a gym, where an expert will formulate an exercise program specifically for your needs.
- Exercise that increases your muscle mass, such as weight training, will assist weight loss. Muscle cells contain more mitochondria (energy-burning centres) than fat cells. More mitochondria means more kilojoules burnt/energy used. Even when you are not using your muscles for exercise, muscle cells use up more kilojoules than fat cells.
- Counselling. If you feel that you eat for emotional reasons, seek counselling or join a support group for overeaters. (See also Bulimia, Anorexia Nervosa.)
At a glance
- Food to avoid
- Reduce fat, alcohol.
- Remedies to begin
- Diet diary. Spirulina.
- Excess weight may be an emotional safety tyre between yourself and the outside world. A need for protection.