The battle of the bulge is becoming a growing concern for South African women, with almost 70% now considered overweight or obese.
This comes with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast, endometrial, gallbladder, esophageal and renal cancers, as well as possible reproductive health problems. Studies suggest that people who are overweight have a 50-100% increased risk of premature death compared to those who are within a healthy weight range.
It can even affect your bank account, as studies found that obese women get paid less than their trimmer counterparts. Researchers found that a 30kg increase in a woman’s weight is associated with a 9% drop in salary — a penalty equivalent to about three years of work experience!
Understanding why you are heavier every time you step on that nasty scale should be the first step in taking control of your weight. It could be your genes, metabolism, age, medication you’re taking, sleep problems, diet or just a lack of activity. To help you get to the bottom of it and start shedding some calories, Pharma Dynamics, share some tips to get you started:
Choose quality calories: It’s no good just cutting calories. You need to pay attention to what you eat as well. Sugary food digests quickly, so you’ll be hungry soon after. In contrast, food that is rich in fibre, like fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes will make you feel fuller for longer.
Keep a food diary: We tend to underestimate poor diet choices. By keeping track of what you’ve eaten, you will start making healthier meal decisions.
Opt for plant-based protein over meat: Eating too much animal protein, especially red meat which contains more fat, can lead to weight gain. Instead of a beef burger, try a plant-based burger made from black beans, mushroom or other vegetables. Once you’ve made the mind shift, your body will thank you!
Opt for more whole foods: The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of whole foods like fruit, vegetables, grains and lean meats like fish and chicken that are associated with better weight-loss results than processed food (pre-packaged meals, cereals and crackers). To make it easier, make sure you have oats, whole-grain bread, eggs, frozen fish or chicken, and leafy greens in the fridge. It’s so easy to add boiled eggs and/or grilled fish/chicken to a salad or a handful of spinach to omelets or soups. Instead of snacking on salty or sugary treats, swop these for fresh fruit.
Is your workout intense enough? If your goal is weight-loss, you need to train at a certain intensity. Try spinning, Cross Fit, GRID or HIIT workouts that will boost your heart rate and make you sweat.
Goodbye sugary beverages: Try to cut out sugary, fizzy drinks completely. If you crave a sweet drink, make iced tea. Herbal tea, like Rooibos, doesn’t contain any tannins or caffeine and is virtually calorie-free. If it’s still not sweet enough, add a splash of fruit juice.
Get enough Zsss: Not sleeping enough disrupts your circadian rhythm, which can lead to weight-gain. So, make sure you clock 7-8 hours a night.
Move more: Having a desk job makes it more difficult to be active during the day and not being active, makes it harder to lose weight. Make a point of getting up and walking every hour – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Walk instead of driving to grab some lunch. Stand up or walk while making or taking calls on your cellphone. Exercise either before or after work, or try to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break.
Portion control: Watch how much you eat, even if it’s healthy food, portion control is key.
Drink enough H2O: Double up on your water intake. It’ll make you feel full, thereby helping you to shed the kilos faster.