Lifestyle and diet adjustments most important for successful weight loss effort

February 11, 2021
Lifestyle and diet adjustments most important for successful weight loss effort

With Chinese New Year fast approaching, a bigger waistline from feeding on festive goodies is to be expected. While the occasional indulgence during festivities is okay, being overweight or obese for the long term is not. In this article, Dr. Sii Sik Liong, a certified doctor in aesthetic medicine working in S Aesthetics Clinic in Singapore, shares some advice on weight gain and weight loss and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Obesity is a silent killer. Obesity in adults is linked to a higher risk of developing life-threatening conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, while obese children run a higher risk of premature death and disability in adulthood.

Based on the 2017 National Population Health Survey in Singapore approximately 9% of adult Singaporeans are obese (BMI equal to or greater than 30), and approximately 30-40% of the Singapore population are overweight (BMI above 23 and below 30). Obesity-related health conditions were noted to have the largest impact on health in terms of suffering and costs; having a high BMI is also the largest single contributor to the national disease burden of diabetes. 

To put it simply, if your body has excess body fat that affects your health adversely, you are obese or overweight. This can be checked by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI, weight (kg) divided by height (m) x height (m)) or by measuring waist circumference.

A BMI of 18.5 to 22.9 is ideal; a BMI of 23 to 29.9 is considered overweight; and a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese. On the other hand, a waist circumference of above 80 cm for women and above 90 cm for men infers abdominal obesity – this means that you are at a higher risk of developing obesity-related diseases.Even if you are not overweight or obese, you must keep up an active lifestyle and mobility to maintain your weight for optimal health.  

First, understand that losing weight is a journey, and keeping fit and trim is a lifelong pursuit. It does not happen overnight and often takes patience, time and perseverance. Adopt the right mindset, set a realistic and healthy goal, and adjust your targets along the way.

Regular exercise offers many health benefits for everyone. Start with something that you enjoy so it becomes sustainable. Regular physical activity throughout the week (preferably 3 to 5 times a week, for 30 to 60 minutes each time) contributes significantly to losing weight and keeping your body and heart pumping healthily. You can also get a friend or family member to exercise with you to keep each other motivated.

When it comes to eating little changes count in a holistic weight loss journey. Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates, and fat. Reduce salt in your food. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Eat regular meals and in moderation. Try not to get too obsessed with counting calories because this often makes people feel unhappy, guilty and demoralised, and if you run into difficulties, consult a nutritionist or a trained professional.

If you are still struggling with losing weight, consider getting help from healthcare professionals. A doctor may design a safe and practical weight loss program based on your health condition, lifestyle and desired outcome, and recommend medication and/or treatment(s) that is suitable and safe for you.

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