Healthy Eating

Easy to follow dietary advice

Some facts about obesity

Obesity is increasing worldwide and is fast becoming the world’s biggest health problem.

Recent reports suggest that it may soon overtake smoking as a serious health risk. The level of obesity in the UK has tripled in the past 30 years. On current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050. The worldwide increase is also spreading to areas of developing countries where there’s easier access to an over-processed diet, over-large food portions and less need to be active in daily lives.

Obesity is caused simply by an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. The average adult needs about 2000kCal/day. Any excess intake over this is stored by the body. Continued excess calories input therefore over time results in obesity.

Headlines in the news recently have highlighted the fact that in the UK, about 66% of adults are now overweight or ‘clinically’ obese (at least 2-3 stone overweight). Of these, 22% of men and 23% of women are obese meaning their weight is putting their health at considerable risk!

Unsurprisingly, obesity is rising among children too! In an era where we don’t like to attribute blame or it’s ‘un-PC’ to criticize people for being overweight, there is no getting away from the fact that in general, overweight parents raise overweight children. If the family eat the wrong foods at the wrong times then a child will tend to follow suit.

In the past ten years despite a wealth of dietary advice, obesity has doubled in 6 year olds and trebled among 15 year olds. If we continue to make excuses and don’t begin to deal with the issues head on these figures will continue to rise. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.

These statistics are alarming because being overweight and especially being obese, can not only shave an average of nine years from our lifespan, but can increase risk of many health problems. These include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, strokes, back and joint pain, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and gallstones. It can also cause infertility, breathlessness, depression, snoring, difficulty sleeping and excessive sweating.

Being obese is not an issue of vanity. It can stop us getting the best from life and puts our day-to-day health at serious risk.

Image of overweight boy eating burgers and ignoring dietary advice

A simple guide to eating well

Being overweight can seriously affect your health but often people have their own reasons for losing weight. We believe following expert dietary advice and making long term changes to your lifestyle can bring huge rewards. Whether you want to look good on the beach, play football with your children without feeling out of breath or complete that DIY project without the aches and pains, losing weight and keeping it off is well worth the effort.

The following are some general rules to what constitutes a healthy diet.

Image of father holding young child in his arms - dietary advice

Eat little and often… Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast! Spreading your breakfast, lunch and evening meal at regular intervals throughout the day will help control your appetite.

Eat starchy carbohydrate foods… For a healthy balanced diet it is important to include starchy carbohydrate foods such as pasta, bread, potatoes, noodles, rice and cereals at each meal. Diets that say otherwise are wrong!

Cut down on fats… Fat is the greatest source of calories so eating less fat and fatty foods will help you lose weight. Reduce the amount of fat you eat, particularly saturated fats as this type of fat is linked to heart disease. Choose unsaturated fats or oils, especially monounsaturated fat (eg olive oil and rapeseed oil) as these are better for your heart. If you can, aim to reduce or better still, cut out foods such as cheese, butter and fatty meat. Try to use lower fat dairy foods such as skimmed milk and low fat yogurts. When cooking, grill, steam or oven bake instead of frying or cooking with oil or other fats.

Eat more fruit and vegetables… Aim for at least five servings in total a day to provide you with vitamins and fibre. This will help you get a good balance in your overall diet.

Aim to eat at least two portions of oily fish a week… Oily fish contains a type of polyunsaturated fat called omega 3 which helps protect against heart disease. Eat oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon or pilchards.

Limit sugar and sugary foods… It is important to limit the amount of sugar in your diet but it does not mean you need to eat a sugar-free diet. Sugar can be used in baking as part of a healthy diet.

Reduce salt in your diet… You should reduce the salt in your diet to 6g or less a day as more than this can raise your blood pressure which can lead to a stroke or heart disease. Limit the amount of processed foods you eat and try flavouring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

Drink alcohol in moderation only… That’s a maximum of 2 units of alcohol per day for a woman and 3 units per day for a man. At Dom’s Gym we don’t preach total abstinence as part of our dietary advice because we appreciate that life is for living! However, if you are serious about losing weight then you should cut out all alcohol during this period…remember alcohol contains empty calories! Once you are down to, and are in control of, your desired weight then the occasional drink is acceptable. Never drink and drive.