Healthy weight for adults
The Wellbeing Service can support you on your journey to work towards a healthy weight with a dedicated Wellbeing Worker who will give you one to one support for up to 6 sessions.
At the first session we will set goals that are important to you. Through a step by step approach we will work together to help you achieve these. We can look at your food intake and activity levels to identify what changes you could make to work towards a healthy weight.
If you are looking for information about healthy height for children or during pregnancy then go to the Maternal and children’s healthy weight page.
If you want to reduce your risk of developing serious health problems, keeping to a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
There are a lot of benefits such as, reducing our risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, some forms of Cancer, High Blood Pressure and Osteoporosis. It also helps alleviate problems such as joint and back pain, breathlessness, low moods and Sleep Apnoea. Whilst modest weight loss can also help reduce depressive symptoms and binge eating amongst women.
Having a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.5 is one way to calculate if you are a healthy weight.
BMI is the relationship between a person’s height and weight in kilos divided by height in metres squared.
If you want to check if you are a healthy weight, you can visit the NHS website.
Measuring your waist is a good way to check you are not carrying too much fat around your stomach, which can raise your risk of Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Stroke.
Regardless of your height or BMI, you should try to lose weight if your waist is:
- 94cm (37inches) or more for men less for Asian men 90cm (36”) or more
- 80cm (31.5inches) or more for women
You are at very high risk and you should contact your GP if your waist is:
- 102cm (40iches) or more for men
- 88cm (34inches) or more for women
Research is clear that if you are overweight, losing 5% -10% of your body weight leads to big health benefits.
Successful weight loss is achieved through making small, sustainable changes to long term unhealthy eating habits and by increasing your general activity levels. Drastic fad diets and exercise regimes that result in rapid weight loss are unlikely to work for long, because these kinds of lifestyle changes cannot be maintained. Once you stop the regime, you’re likely to return to the old habits and regain the weight you lost.
If you are trying to lose weight it is a good idea to eat less and be more active. For weight loss reduce calorie intake by between 500 – 600 calories per day, which should achieve a weight loss of 1-2lbs (0.5-1kg) per week.
Find out what 100 calories looks on the NHS website.
Be aware of calories in food and drink and look at changes you can make to reduce them; then once you have made these changes stick to them and make some more. Gradually over time these changes will become normal and this will help you maintain your weight.
For details of the 12 week weight management programme go to NHS Choices.
Let’s look at steps to change…
1 . Eat a healthy balanced diet
Our body needs us to eat a variety of different foods in the correct amounts. The Eatwell Guide is a very useful tool that looks at the proportions of foods we should eat from each of the different food groups and it’s scientifically proven to be correct.
For more detailed information on the Eatwell Guide read the Eatwell Guide Booklet (PDF).
2 . Increase levels of physical activity
Guidelines for adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week, or 90 minutes of intensive activity such as Zumba or Running every week. You should include strength exercises on one or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). To lose weight you will need to move more than you currently are.
Consider different ways of increasing your physical activity to burn off calories. You can get ideas at NHS Choices or by downloading the Active 10 or Couch to 5k apps on your smart phone.
3 . Be aware of food choices and portion sizes.
When planning meals and snacks, it is a good idea to look at the ingredients list and nutritional information on product labels. Generally this is given by using a traffic light system (see below). Information on calorie content per portion/ 100g of product as well as fats, salt and sugar can help us make healthier choices. Be wary as nutrition information is normally given per 100grams (100g) of the product and sometimes one portion (such as one slice), so it is important to calculate depending on how much of the product you are eating. Also many products are marketed as being healthy but if you look more closely at the labelling, you will see that they are actually high in fat, sugar or salt.
Traffic light system and amounts
Choose low fat and low sugar options
Most of us eat too much fat and sugar, so by reducing these types of foods, we should reduce the amount of calories we consume. Sugar provides the body with empty calories which means it gives us energy but nothing else that the body needs to stay fit and healthy. Be aware of the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks and how often they are consumed.
Fat is part of a healthy balanced diet but only needs to be eaten in very small amounts. Some fats are far better for our health than others, there are 3 main types of fat
- Monounsaturated, and
Saturated fats found in lard and butter; fat on meats are considered to be less healthy because they can raise our blood cholesterol levels and increase our risk of heart disease and make us more likely to be overweight. Trans fats found in processed foods such as cakes, pastries and biscuits are processed, unhealthy and can lead to weight gain.
Unsaturated fats such as Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Omega 3 fats that are found generally in plant foods such as seeds/grains, nuts, vegetables, fruit and oily fish are better for us. Evidence suggests that the inclusion of the monounsaturated fats are particularly good as they help to promote healthier cholesterol in our blood. Fortified spreading fats will provide us with small amounts of Vitamins A and D.
All fats contain a lot of calories so the message is to reduce the total amount of fat in our diets. Only use a minimum amount when spreading fat on bread, remove all visible fat from meat and avoid cheap processed meats. Avoid frying foods or coating vegetables and potatoes with butter. Cut back on hidden fats that are found in pastry, take away meals, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets.
For more information about being sugar and fat smart visit the NHS – Change 4 Life website. There are also Sugar Smart and Be Food Smart apps that you can download onto your smartphone.
If you want some inspiration, download the Easy Meals app onto your smart phone or visit the NHS website. If you cook from scratch, you know exactly what’s going in your food and can avoid hidden fats and sugars from Ready Meals.
When planning meals, try and include fruit and vegetables and work towards achieving your 5 A DAY. Fruit and vegetables are usually low in fat and calories, providing you do not fry them or roast them in oil. Visit NHS – 5ADAY for more information on what counts towards your 5 A DAY and portion sizes.