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By Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe

Chief Executive Officer

Unlock your best self: Tips for maintaining healthy body weight

These suggestions enhance both the overall quality of your life and contribute to a longer, healthier lifespan.

Today we look at how we can help you with basic tips and resources on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, body weight and being the best version of yourself.

This is particularly important as we enter the festive season where optimal health is the last thing on our minds. We drink, eat, party and attend gatherings where the emphasis is on having a good time. Healthy lifestyle tips aren’t just about physical health – they include mental, emotional and social well-being.

They provide a holistic approach to living in a way that can enhance the quality of your life and your longevity. Healthy habits such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and avoiding harmful substances can prevent diseases, boost immunity and enhance your physical health.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

1. Measure and watch your weight

Monitoring your weight can be beneficial if you want to track your progress, especially if you’re on specific weight management programmes and want to adjust your routines if necessary. It makes you accountable and motivates you to stick to your goals.

When you overindulge, you can track your deviations and their impacts on your diet. But keep in mind that weight can fluctuate throughout the day or week because of water retention, food intake, hormonal changes, and other factors.

The fluctuations might not accurately represent your body fat or muscle changes. Balance the measuring with factors like body composition (muscle mass vs fat mass), energy levels, physical fitness and overall well-being.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

2. Limit unhealthy foods

A healthy meal consists of a well-balanced combination of various nutrients that provide essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fibre. These elements constitute a healthy meal and are important for:

Nutrient density: A healthy meal includes vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean proteins and healthy fats. These offer a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are crucial for overall health.

Balanced macronutrients: Your diet should comprise mainly proteins and a limited amount of carbohydrates and fats. Carbs provide energy and proteins are essential for cell repair and growth, while healthy fats support brain function and hormone production.

Portion control: Healthy meals often consider appropriate portion sizes to avoid overeating, maintain a healthy weight and prevent conditions like obesity and related conditions.

Colourful variety of fruit and veg: Include a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to ensure a diverse intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Different colours signify different nutrients, so having a variety ensures you get a wide range of benefits.

Wholegrains: Opting for wholegrains over refined grains provides more fibre, vitamins and minerals. They also contribute to better digestion and help to regulate blood sugar levels.

Lean proteins: Having lean sources of protein like poultry, fish, legumes, tofu or nuts help in muscle repair, maintains healthy skin and hair and provides a feeling of fullness which aids in weight management.

Healthy fats: Including sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil provides essential fatty acids that support heart health, brain function and nutrient absorption. A healthy meal is about the balance and combination of these elements to support overall health.

It’s important to note that individual dietary needs may vary according to age, gender, activity level and specific health conditions, so consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for guidance is advisable.

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Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

3. Drink plenty of water

Drinking water or other non-sugary beverages is an integral part of a healthy meal and aids in digestion, regulates body temperature and overall body function.

Drink water regularly to stay healthy, at least 2-2.5 litres for an adult is a healthy amount of water to drink. The rule is, don’t be thirsty and if you do get thirsty, then the liquid of choice should be water and not a sugary drink.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

4. Be physically active

Regular exercise offers a multitude of benefits for physical and mental health:

Improved cardiovascular health: This strengthens the heart and improves circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Weight management: This helps to burn calories and build muscle which contributes to a healthier body composition.

Enhanced muscle strength and flexibility: Regular exercise builds and maintains muscle mass, improves overall strength, flexibility and endurance.

Better mental health: Exercise boosts your mood by releasing endorphins which reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also improve cognitive function and sleep quality.

Lower risk of chronic diseases: Regular exercise can lower the risk of various chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and osteoporosis.

Improved immune function: Moderate exercise can boost the immune system and reduces the risk of illnesses and infections.

Increased energy levels: Regular physical activity can increase energy levels and combat feelings of fatigue.

Better sleep: Exercise can improve the quality of sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and have a deeper, more restful sleep.

Enhanced longevity: Regular exercise is associated with a longer lifespan and a higher quality of life in later years. It’s important to note that the type, duration and intensity of exercise may vary for different individuals based on factors like age, fitness level and health status. Engaging in a variety of exercises that include cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance exercises, can offer a well-rounded fitness routine. You might not be as regular during the festive season, but putting in three or four times a week will be ideal.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

5. Reduce sitting and screen time

Exercise can’t immunise you from your sedentary time. Even people who exercise regularly could be at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease and stroke if they spend a lot of time sitting in front of their computers. Practically speaking, you could consider taking breaks such as walking around the office or room a few times a day.

6. Enough good sleep

There’s a strong link between sleep quality, quantity and your immune system. Keep your immune system functioning properly by getting seven-eight hours of sleep each night.

7. Go easy on the alcohol

Limiting alcohol intake and staying sober greatly impacts your health. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, heart problems, a weakened immune system and an increased risk of some cancers. It can also affect your mental health, causing issues like anxiety and depression.

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