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Understanding Obesity and How to Reverse It

Posted Wednesday 13 January 2021 10:00 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Did you know that obesity affects 25% of adults and 20% of children in the UK? This guide will talk about obesity --- what it is, how you get obese, and how you can reverse it.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a condition used to describe a person who is more than overweight. One of the most common ways to tell if you are obese or not is by a measurement called Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI determines whether or not your weight is healthy for your height.

BMI What It Means
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Healthy weight (relative to your height)
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 39.9 Obese
40+ Severely obese

Note: the measurements above are for an average adult.

Is BMI enough? No. BMI is not enough to know for sure whether you are obese or not because some people can have higher BMI without the fat (e.g., people who go to the gym to build muscles). Another way to measure obesity is through your waistline. Men who have waistlines of 80 cm or more are more likely to be obese. The same is true for women with a waist size of over 94 cm.

What are the causes of obesity?

The causes of obesity include a lot of factors, like hormonal imbalance, metabolic issues, genetics, and underlying illnesses such as hypothyroidism. However, for most people, obesity is caused by lifestyle problems. Let's look at it this way:

Your body needs energy (calories) to function properly. This is called your basal metabolic rate and your daily goal will depend on several factors like sex and age. The total calories you need each day will be your basal metabolic rate + the calories you burn doing your daily activities.

If you eat more than what your body needs, the excess calories will be stored as fat, showing up on the scale over time.

Is obesity dangerous?

You can avoid several illnesses if you stay within your healthy weight range. People who are obese experience problems like:

  • Snoring
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Getting tired easily
  • Breathlessness
  • Low confidence
  • Increased sweating

If untreated, obesity can lead to serious problems like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Sleep apnea

Studies show that obesity can lower an average person's life expectancy by as much as 10 years.

How to reverse obesity

Estimates show that 1 in every 13 mortalities in Europe is caused by obesity-related diseases. Fortunately, obesity can be reversed. Below are some tips on how to reverse obesity.

Changing your diet

One of the best ways to reverse obesity is to change your diet. You can do this by:

  • Cutting your calorie intake – if you want to lose weight, you have to put yourself in a calorie deficit. To do this, evaluate your eating habits and determine how many calories you are consuming each day. Once you know this number, use a calorie deficit calculator to work out how much you need to cut back on.
  • Make healthier food choices – sweets, soda and processed foods contain large amounts of calories. Try to substitute these by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Plant-based proteins like soy and beans are also great. Limit your salt intake too. Lastly, eat small amounts of healthy fats from nuts, olives, and canola. Try to include fish in your diet as well.

Increase your physical activity

Increasing your physical activity is a good way to burn off those excess calories. Here's how to do it:

  • Move often – any extra movements can do wonders. Simple changes that get you moving such as parking farther from the store entrance, moving around, gardening, and doing household chores can help burn extra calories.
  • Exercise regularly – if you are obese, you will need at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every week to prevent further weight gain. For significant weight loss, you'll need at least 300 minutes of exercise a week. If exercising is hard, try walking 10,000 steps a day.

Changing your behaviour

There are behaviour modification programs that can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes for weight loss. These include:

  • Support groups – you can always find support and encouragement from people who are experiencing the same challenges as you. Talk to your doctor to see if there are any local support groups around that you can join.
  • Counselling – weight loss begins in the mind. A mental health professional can help you determine and address the underlying emotional and mental issues that are behind your overeating habits. Depending on your preference, counselling can be one-on-one or by a group. Choose more intensive programs that include between 12 to 26 sessions a year for best results.

Take weight loss medications

Another great way to lose weight is by taking weight loss tablets. Express Pharmacy stocks high-quality weight loss medications like Xenical, Saxenda, and Mysimba that you can order online today. Most weight loss tablets work by making it hard for your body to absorb fat. Others also make you feel full sooner --- eliminating the urge to eat more than what you need.


How to Lose Water Weight

Posted Thursday 10 December 2020 11:00 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Did you know that most of your body weight is made up of water? Any extra water held by your body is referred to as water weight or oedema. While not serious, water weight can cause bloating and puffiness especially in the areas around your legs, abdomen, and arms. Too much water weight can also cause complications in your heart and kidneys. Within this guide, you will find some simple tips to help you lose water weight.

8 easy ways to lose water weight at home

Tip #1. Get enough sleep

If you want to lose water weight, get a healthy amount of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep can help your body manage its sodium and fluid levels more effectively. Aim for around 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Tip #2. Keep your electrolytes balanced

What are electrolytes? These are minerals that contain an electric charge. Common examples of electrolytes are potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes play a crucial role in your body - especially in regulating water balance.

Too many or too few electrolytes can lead to increased water weight. So, balance is key. The best way to ensure a good balance of electrolytes is to tailor it with your water intake. You may need to take more electrolytes if you:

  • Exercise
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Live in hot or humid regions

Too many electrolytes from food and supplements and low water intake can lead to water retention and increased water weight.

Tip #3. Manage your sodium

Sodium is the most common electrolyte in the body. And your primary source of sodium is salt. Like in the previous tip, an imbalance in your body’s sodium levels (too high or too low) can cause fluid shifts which may lead to increased water weight. Avoid high salt diets if you want to stop your body from retaining too much water.

If you are looking for low sodium alternatives, try natural foods like seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Certain foods like avocados, bananas, and leafy vegetables are also known to help reduce sodium levels in the body.

Tip #4. Avoid too many carbs

Did you know that unused carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen? And each gram of glycogen contains 3 grams of water! If you want to lose water weight, cutting your carb intake can help. Eating fewer carbohydrates causes your body to use up its glycogen reserves which in turn reduces water weight.

A common source of carbohydrates in our diet include pasta, rice, and bread. Try replacing these with high-protein alternatives like lean meat, soy products, and egg. On average, a normal adult only needs about 130g of carbohydrates to function normally.

Tip #5. Exercise regularly

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular exercise when it comes to keeping your body healthy. A good exercise session helps to promote increased blood flow which prevents the buildup of fluids all over your body, particularly in the arms and legs. Exercising also helps reduce water weight by burning your body glycogen reserves.

Tip #6. Drink more water

This may sound counterintuitive but drinking more water can help you lose water weight. Why? Well, let’s just say that your body is wired to survive. If it senses dehydration, it’s immediate action is to hold on to extra water as much as it can. Thus, increasing your water weight.

Proper hydration also improves kidney function which enables your body to flush out excess sodium and water. The best way to lose water weight is to replace sugary drinks with plain water. An average adult needs approximately 2 litres of water every day.

Tip #7. Drink tea and coffee

The caffeine found in coffee and tea is diuretic. This means it makes you pee more often. Studies show that increased urination can help decrease water weight. You can combine caffeine with more water intake to significantly increase the volume of your urine.

Tip #8. Take water pills and weight loss pills

Water pills are designed to treat mild fluid retention. Like caffeine, these pills function as a diuretic that makes you urinate more often. Though not recommended for long-term use, your doctor may prescribe water pills on a case to case basis.

Another great way to lose weight is by taking weight loss pills. Weight loss pills are designed to make it hard for your body to absorb fat. They also make you feel full sooner which decreases the amount of food (especially carbs) that you eat.

Being overweight poses a lot of health risks. And increased water weight is just one of the many causes of weight gain. Losing your water weight is a good first step towards a healthier you!


Understanding the Relationship Between Weight Loss and Calories

Posted Sunday 29 November 2020 11:30 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

For years, fitness experts and nutritionists have been stressing that weight loss is made in the kitchen, as well as the gym. This guide will provide you with a complete understanding of the relationship between weight loss and calories, including how going on a calorie deficit will help you lose weight over time.

What are calories?

A calorie is a unit of energy. It refers to the amount of energy you get from the food you eat and the beverages that you drink. The number of calories you burn each day will depend on several factors:

Your basal metabolic rate - also known as resting energy expenditure, your basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body needs to maintain its functions like breathing and blood circulation. In short, it’s the amount of energy your body burns to keep you alive.

Activity energy expenditure – this refers to the calories you burn when doing physical activities like exercise, moving around, etc.

Thermic effect of food – this refers to the amount of energy expended by digesting and absorbing food.

What causes weight gain?

There are many causes of weight gain, including:

  • Genetic factors
  • Certain medications
  • Overindulgence
  • Sugary or fatty diet
  • Misinformation

The weight loss formula

Your calorie needs will vary from person to person. If you consume fewer calories than what you need for your basal metabolic rate, activity energy expenditure, and thermal effect of food, then you enter a state called a calorie deficit.

Over time, a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss.

Common knowledge shows that a pound of fat (0.45 kg) is more or less equal to 3,500 calories. Cutting your intake by 500 to 1000 calories a day will help you lose approximately 1 to 2 pounds (0.45 to 0.9 kg) a week.

Metabolism, body composition, and activity levels vary from one person to another. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are likely to lose less weight than those who are physically active. No matter how small, you will still lose weight as long as you put your body in a calorie deficit.

Eating too many calories makes you gain weight

If you consume more calories than what your basal metabolic rate, activity energy expenditure, and thermic effect of food require, you are most likely to gain weight. Remember that the body stores excess calories as fat.

Losing weight: how to do it right

There are several ways to lose weight safely. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Water loss is just temporary

Remember that when you lose weight, you are not only losing fat. You are also losing muscle and water. So it’s important to not focus on drastically cutting your calorie intake. Instead, eat well-balanced meals. Your type of diet has a direct impact on the speed and composition of your weight loss. For example, people who focus on low-carb diets experience rapid weight loss during the first few weeks of their regimen. While this is good, most of the weight loss is temporary because it is only water loss.

Gradually lower your calories

Drastic reduction of your calorie intake puts the body in a defensive state. This natural reaction causes the body to conserve energy by lowering your metabolism. This in turn makes weight loss harder and slower. The best way to reduce weight without triggering this protective response is by gradually reducing your calorie intake. Spread your calories over a few meals.

Don’t drink your calories

There’s a reason why several soda lovers are obese. Sugar in soda has lots of calories. If you are not careful, it’s so easy to go over your daily calorie needs with just a few cans of soda. Alcoholic beverages also contain lots of calories. If you are serious about losing weight, cut your sugary drinks, and replace it with healthier alternatives like tea or water.

Eat whole foods

Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish are great sources of vitamins and minerals without being too heavy on calories. As much as possible, eat whole foods at home and stay away from highly processed foods. Fast foods, cereals, and processed meat products are highly palatable --- making you more prone to overeating.

Add some light exercise to your routine

While it’s true that most weight loss happens in the kitchen, we still can’t overemphasize enough the importance of exercise. Experts recommend that adults should spend between 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise each week. This includes brisk walking. If you are physically active, 150 minutes of vigorous exercises like jogging are recommended each week. Exercise helps to prevent muscle loss and encourages your body to focus on breaking down fats.

Too much weight will have a negative impact on your health and self-esteem. Click here if you want to learn more about how weight gain affects your health.


5 Ways to Lose Weight Safely

Posted Saturday 31 October 2020 11:00 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

In order for your weight loss to be sustainable and long-lasting, it’s important to choose your approach carefully. If you limit your intake of calories too strictly, you’ll find yourself craving food constantly, resulting in overeating and gaining weight. Plus, calorie restrictions can slow your metabolism down over time, so your body will be less prepared to burn the calories you later consume.

For safe and effective weight loss, pay close attention to these five ways to lose weight safely.

1. Boost Your Cardio

Any type of exercise is good for you, but cardio, in particular, is great for shedding the pounds. Three to four sessions of cardio exercise a week should do the trick – this could be anything from brisk walking to a specific cardio class. Studies have shown that evening workouts can be the most beneficial - 30 minutes of aerobic activity before your evening meal could increase your metabolic rate. It can even keep it elevated for several hours after.

2. Opt for Weight Loss Tablets

Pharmacy approved weight loss tablets are designed to help people struggling with obesity and weight loss. There are several types of weight loss pills to choose from, each working in a different way. Some tablets help you lose weight by making it more difficult for the body to absorb fat while others can help you feel fuller after eating less, so you consume fewer calories.

There are also weight loss pills which can help reduce your appetite, acting on how your brain controls food intake and energy expenditure. Weight loss tablets can make losing weight easier and reduce your body fat percentage, while also giving you more energy and curbing hunger pangs.

3. Skip the Sugar

Sugar finds its way into so many of the foods and drinks we eat - we often don't realise just how much we’re consuming on a daily basis.

Sugar makes our hunger cravings fluctuate quickly, meaning we end up consuming even more calories over the course of the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to monitor your intake of sugar and refined carbs; you might be surprised to learn just how easy it is for calories to sneak into treats. For example, a glass of juice or sweetened coffee could bump your overall calorie intake by as much as 800 calories. To lose weight safely but quickly, switch to a sugar-free diet.

4. Eat Green

Researchers have found that people who have a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables find it easier to lose weight and keep that weight off, when compared to other diet plans. This is because fibre slows down the digestion process and makes you feel fuller during meal times. However, plants are generally low in calories and fat, meaning that despite helping you feel full and providing plenty of nutrients, they don’t boost your calorie count. With this in mind, make sure your meals are full of other types of protein and vitamins.

5. Lower Stress and Increase Your Sleep

Most people don’t realise that the added stressors that build up in everyday life can actually contribute to weight gain. Chronic stress and a lack of decent sleep can increase the levels of stress hormones in your body, such as cortisol. This can lead to higher levels of hunger which over time can increase the likelihood of weight gain.

If you want to lose weight, getting a good night sleep and reducing stress levels is key. Not only does sleep deprivation cause your hunger levels and sugar cravings to skyrocket, but it can also make self-discipline harder so you’re more likely to give in to temptation. To get a better night’s rest, try to stick to the same bedtime routine and never consume caffeine in the evening. It’s also a good idea to practice calming activities that will lower your stress levels, such as yoga, breathing techniques and meditation.

Final Thoughts

There’s no instant fix when it comes to weight loss, but there are ways to speed up the process and shift the pounds in a safe and healthy way. Whether you choose to increase the amount of exercise you do each week, choose prescription weight loss pills or improve your sleep routine, combine these tips with a balanced diet to help you lose weight.


How Does Weight Gain Affect My Health?

Posted Friday 10 July 2020 15:46 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Being overweight or obese can bring a lot of problems to the table; from mental health issues related to low confidence right through to serious health problems that can be life-threatening.

It’s extremely important to understand how weight gain will affect your health in order to ensure that you keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Within this guide, we will be taking you through the relationship between health problems and weight gain. We will also explore plans of action for achieving a healthier, happier weight.

The Relationship Between Health Problems and Weight Gain

Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can cause several health problems. While results are likely to vary between individuals, the following health problems are known to be the most common and severe.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Some people suffer from type 2 diabetes as a result of hereditary, but for many people, it occurs as a result of excessive weight around the waist and an unhealthy lifestyle. To put this into perspective, over 85% of adults with diabetes are overweight or obese.

Through losing weight, you are at a better chance of delaying or preventing diabetes altogether. You will gain back control of your body, keeping blood sugar levels at a healthy point and eliminating the risk of a fatal incident from happening.

Cancer: Perhaps one of the scariest parts about weight gain is developing a higher risk rate of getting cancer. It has been found that those who are overweight are more likely to develop breast, colon, gallbladder and kidney cancer in particular. While it is still uncertain as to what exactly encourages the growth of cancer cells, many experts believe that it's due to too many fat cells releasing hormones and affecting cell growth.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure occurs when the blood pumping through your arteries pushes too hard against the artery walls. As your body is larger when overweight, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood around, resulting in added pressure.

In a worst-case scenario, high blood pressure can result in heart disease or kidney failure. You may even suffer from a stroke. This is why it is all the more important to maintain - or achieve - a healthy weight to ensure that your heart is never overworking.

One of the easiest ways to reduce blood pressure levels is by monitoring your diet. Cutting out salty foods in conjunction with exercising frequently will be sure to contribute positively.

Heart Disease: Heart disease is an umbrella term for a whole range of issues that can affect your heart. Having high blood pressure and high cholesterol (which are both health issues encouraged by weight gain) can lead to heart disease. If untreated, heart disease can result in a heart attack, heart failure, cardiac arrest and so on. Losing weight will help your body to pump blood more easily, preventing such a disease from occurring.

Fatty Liver Disease: If you can’t tell by the name, fatty liver disease is a problem that occurs when too much fat builds up inside the liver. This type of issue can result in severe liver damage or liver failure. Everyone who is diagnosed with fatty liver disease is encouraged to reduce their body weight in an attempt to lower the quantity of fat in the liver.

What Causes Weight Gain?

So - what causes weight gain? Each body is different, and while some people can eat for England without putting on weight, others have a hard time maintaining a healthy BMI. The main causes of weight gain include:

  • Genetics - this usually determines how easily you gain/maintain weight
  • Medication - some medications (eg: antidepressants) have a side effect of weight gain
  • Poor diet - overeating on fatty and sugary foods
  • Alcohol
  • Misinformation - a lack of understanding surrounding nutritious diets

How To Find Out If You Are Overweight

One of the easiest ways to establish whether you are overweight or not is by measuring your BMI. Your body mass index (BMI) is worked out by taking some basic information about height, weight and age. From here, your BMI is placed onto a chart to establish whether you are underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. These guidelines are as follows:

  • Healthy weight: BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30 and above

You can use a BMI calculator to find out more.

How To Lose Weight: Minimising The Risk Of Developing Health Problems

If you are classified as obese or overweight, it is advised to lose around 5% of your weight to lower your risk of developing health problems.

To lose weight healthily, it is advised to lose around 1-2lbs per week. This can be achieved through a combination of techniques, revolving around:

Eating Healthily: Through eating regular meals, plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting back on snacking, you’re at a higher chance of experiencing weight loss. Resist junk food and replace it with high fibre alternatives, instead. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too!

Exercising: Alongside eating healthily, exercising regularly is a huge contributor to healthy weight loss. It is advised to complete around 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to promote weight loss.

Taking Supplements: If you are eating healthily and exercising regularly yet still struggling to shed the pounds, your doctor may recommend weight loss pills. These pills are used alongside the above methods to speed up weight loss and get you back to a healthy weight. However, to ensure that you aren’t harming your body, never take weight loss pills that aren’t supplied by an accredited doctor or pharmacy.