For many, the joy brought by the first rays of summer sunshine also comes a mounting dread – we’ll soon need to shed our protective armor and release body parts from the wintery comfort of sleeves and trouser legs.
But a change in season can be perfect motivation for a change in lifestyle, and particularly for losing weight. With 67% of men and 57% of women in the UK being recorded as overweight or obese in 2014, this spring could be the perfect opportunity to get your health back on track.
Given the commitment required to change lifestyle habits and the often slow pay-off, it is sometimes difficult to see the benefits of losing weight. Becoming too worried about your weight itself poses a very serious problem.
But staying overweight can feed in to a whole host of serious medical conditions which can severely compromise your quality of life and psychological wellbeing for the long-term.
You can assess whether you are overweight by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the division of your weight by the square of your height. Any measurement between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2 is deemed ‘healthy’; any measurement either side a health concern.
Physical dangers of staying overweight:
- Diabetes: being overweight increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, where the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin for your body to use it correctly to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Fat around the abdomen is particularly dangerous, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your waistline.
- Cardiovascular disease: high blood pressure and diabetes can both put you at high-risk diseases of the heart and blood vessels, such as strokes and coronary heart disease (CHD).
- Erectile dysfunction: raised cholesterol can also narrow the blood vessels feeding the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction. Affecting as much as half of all men between 40 and 70 in the UK, it is time to face some hard truths.
- Joint pain: excessive weight can put a lot of pressure on your joints, and the knees are especially prone to damage. Losing weight can help avoid the dangers of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders, whilst also allowing improved ability to move.
Psychological reasons to lose weight:
- Improved self-esteem: from developing a healthier physique to the imposition of a sense of control over your life, losing weight can directly feed into improved self-esteem. This in turn breeds confidence which can positively impact personal and professional relationships.
- Improved sex life: research has shown that overweight people are 25 times more likely to report sexual problems, such as a lack of desire and performance difficulties, than their normal-weight counterparts. The psychological gains of feeling attractive and confident can enhance you and your partner’s enjoyment of sex.
- Sense of achievement: shared support in the form of weight loss groups, exercise buddies, or online health communities can help you feel happier about yourself. Opportunities for new social interaction, as well as shared satisfaction and support, provide unparalleled emotional boosts.
- Sense of balance: The sense of stability and progress weight loss can bring can reduce depressive symptoms. By encouraging self-worth and improvement through focusing on your wellbeing, losing weight can also lead to further self-development and a healthy sense of balance.
Healthy and sustainable weight loss requires commitment and determination. For those looking for an extra boost, weight loss treatments such as Xenical are available. These can reduce almost a quarter of the fat absorbed during food digestion, if combined with positive lifestyle and dietary changes.
Whatever your reasons, make sure that the change you envision is for yourself and that your approach is sustainable; love your body and treat it with respect.