5 lies we tell ourselves about our weight
With stories about weight gain and obesity constantly in the media, it's hard to tell fact from fiction. We reveal the truth and offer weight loss tips that work.
1. We’re all getting bigger, it’s natural
With so many larger people around, we now perceive being bigger as ‘normal’. Based on BMI, healthcare professionals believe more than half the UK adult population is overweight and about a quarter is obese.
2. I have a bit of a belly, but what’s the problem?
A person with a waistline above the recommended measurement is at risk because storing excess fatty tissue around your stomach increases the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which in turn both increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
To check your waistline, measure around the widest part of your abdomen, usually around the belly button. This measurement should be less than 102cm (40in) in men or less than 88cm (35in) in women.
Anything above this indicates you are at greater risk of complications. In South Asians, this can happen at an earlier stage, so we use a lower waistline
3. Everyone with a BMI of over 30 is obese
BMI doesn’t tell you how much of the weight is muscle and how much fat. A muscular athlete may have a high BMI, without being overweight. BMI also doesn’t tell you how body fat is distributed.
An ‘apple’ body shape, where more fat is stored around the belly, puts someone at higher risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes, so it is helpful to measure your waistline alongside BMI to get a better picture of your risk.
4. Eating the odd biscuit won’t make me obese
Eating biscuits rarely won’t hurt, but it’s easy to eat more than you think. Consuming two custard creams per day (an extra 120kcal) on top of your normal diet can increase body fat by 2–4kg (4.4–8.8lb) over one year.
If your clothes or jewellery feel tighter, or you get more out of breath when you are active, you may be putting on weight.
5. I need to crash diet to lose the excess weight
Losing as little as five to 10 per cent of your body weight dramatically reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. For a 5ft 3in (160cm) woman weighing 12 stones (77kg), this means losing 9lb to 1st 3lb (4–7.5kg). There is no shortcut to healthy eating, so don’t fall for the fad diets.
Instead, consider gradual changes to your eating habits. Trying to change too much, too quickly usually fails. You could also focus on preventing further weight gain if you feel losing weight is too hard.