Almost 70 per cent of South African women and 13 per cent of South African children are either overweight or obese; that is more than double the global average of five per cent for children.
These are recent stats taken from the South African Demographic and Health Survey. While heart disease and diabetes are directly linked to being overweight or obese, there is also evidence that a causal link exists between excess weight and cancers of the oesophagus, colon, rectum, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, breast, ovary, kidneys, thyroid gland and even leukaemia. This should be enough motivation take stock of your health and reassess your approach to weight control.
John Hamlett, a local fitness expert and founder of the TomTom Athletics Club, offers handy tips for those who want to start their journey to better health.
- Limit your calorie intake. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop eating; it means that you need to make healthier food choices. Consult your doctor or dietician about the right daily calorie intake for you and base your food choices on this with the help of this handy online calorie counter.
- Get out and about. One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to get active – and you don’t have to go from zero to cardio hero to see the benefits. Track your movement with an entry-level fitness tracker, which helps you monitor your daily step count and the number of calories burned, as well as sleep and active time. Set daily or weekly challenges and decide on rewards before you start each challenge to give yourself time to plan something healthy.
- Ditch the diet drinks and choose water instead to hydrate your body, give you that healthy glow, reduce wrinkles and boost weight loss. Drinking coffee or tea doesn’t count towards your daily recommended intake of eight glasses – you want to choose pure, unflavoured water for the best results.
- Love the food you eat. It’s true that you’ll have to give up some types of food, but if you balance your food choices within your targeted calorie range, you can still enjoy tasty, filling meals. Veggies are low-calorie and include fibre (which makes you feel full) – but you can do so much more than just boiling them as part of a healthy eating plan. Steam them, roast them, bake them, spice them up with chilli or other fragrant spices – healthy food certainly doesn’t have to be boring.
- Up your game. Getting active by taking a walk around the office park at lunchtime is a great start – but you’ll see better results in your weight loss and health programme if you push yourself a little more each week. Take a jog at lunchtime instead of a walk or use your newfound fitness as a foundation to make that gym membership worthwhile. If you’ve been tracking your progress on a fitness tracker, you can set yourself new goals (and rewards) to boost your activity even further.
- Be prepared. Plan your meals in advance and shop to make sure that you have all the required ingredients to prepare lunches for work in advance. A good breakfast will help you avoid those mid-morning nibbles and a packed healthy lunch will reduce the temptation to eat unhealthy convenience foods during the day.
Take action and get active to regain your health, and protect yourself from some of South Africa’s most common dread diseases.
Source: TomTom. Images: Pixabay