Managing your weight within an acceptable range for long-term health seems to be a widely understood but worryingly, largely ignored concept.
Overweight and obesity is a critical national health problem with 61 percent of the Australian population categorised as overweight or obese. Shockingly, almost one out of four children in our country is either overweight or obese.
Carrying extra weight puts you at much higher risk for a range of serious diseases and conditions and according to the World Health Organisation, is the fifth leading risk for death. What is striking is that obesity is wholly modifiable with diet and exercise and yet so many of us are doing nothing about it.
As a physiotherapist I’m seeing an increasing number of people presenting with injuries because of the excess weight they are carrying. The human body simply isn’t designed to carry excess baggage and often buckles under the load with not only pain and injury but disease manifesting in many forms such as:
Further to this, anyone suffering from lower back, hip, knee or ankle foot pain will undoubtedly experience exacerbation (if not cause) of their symptoms if they are carrying excess weight. One of the first strategies I address with clients, with injuries or conditions of this sort, is to help them trend towards weight loss, as the symptomatic relief can be dramatic.
I encourage my clients to follow these general guidelines to maintain their target weight over a lifetime, and highlight, it’s never too late to commit to weight loss for improved health!
Aim for slow and steady weight loss
A goal of half a kilo per week weight loss is reasonable. Rapid weight loss is more likely to lead to equally rapid weight gain at some point shortly afterwards because you can’t sustain the diet plan that prompted the initial results.
Control your portion size and eat the right foods
Build your meal plan around whole foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables whole grains, legumes and healthy fats. We typically eat more in a meal than we need to. Recondition your body to consume less kilojoules per meal to reduce your total daily calorie allowance.
Don’t skip meals
By maintaining a steady pattern of eating lighter meals and snacks, about every three hours, you keep your metabolism active and your appetite under control. Starving yourself is not only counterproductive to weight loss, but dangerous.
Stay committed to your healthy lifestyle
Commitment is often strengthened once you start to enjoy some results from your weight loss efforts. Define these results for yourself and celebrate them. Don’t take backwards steps, keep the forward momentum on your efforts around better nutrition, portion control, and regular physical activity.
If you’re avoiding exercise because you’re overweight and suffering from the aches, pains and niggles associated with carrying extra weight, a physiotherapist can help by treating your pain and injuries and then working with you on an exercise plan tailored to your body for sustainable results.
Don’t let your weight equate to pain, injuries and disease that stops you living your life to the full. Talk to a physiotherapist and enjoy optimal health for life!
Have you had any pain issues linked to weight? How did you manage it?