From Fat To Fit: New Weapons To Tackle The War Against Obesity
Ok, I think I can say with a large degree of certainty that whilst some of us have been able to save money, lose weight, and find new hobbies during this pandemic - an even larger percentage of us have not, myself included. We were counting on not going on our holidays so we didn't have to worry about “summer bods". However, with lockdown relaxing at a quicker rate than once thought, many of us are now panicking and trying to look as good as we can before entering the new social norm again. Equipped with our fresh trims, highlights, and fades, we are now hitting the town centres, pubs, and restaurants - but with a tighter strain on the buttons of our jeans and shirts. A growing conversation we seem to be having with friends and family is about how to shift the “lockdown weight”. I thought I would take the time this week to help promote the advantages of losing weight, the best ways to healthily lose weight, and what products there are out there that can help give you that final boost to your weight loss goals.
What Can I Do to Lose Weight?
In the United Kingdom, over 60% of adults are classed as overweight or obese. Being obese can bring on a multitude of diseases and co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart problems, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. It is estimated that obese men are 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and obese women are 13 times more likely. There are several influences in our lifestyle that can help to harbour fat on our bodies:
Unhealthy diets - Having a diet that has a high salt content, full of fatty and fast foods, lacking fruit and vegetables and having larger portion sizes will all cause you to gain weight.
Alcohol and fizzy drinks - These drinks are very calorific, in particular carbonated sugar drinks and beers/ciders. therefore people can drink a lot of calories without feeling full at all.
Inactivity - If you spend a lot of time in cars or sitting down at desks, you are not burning many calories therefore there is no calorie deficit - and the calories you are eating will just get stored as fat instead of getting burned.
It has to be noted that certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, can also contribute to weight gain although this should not be a symptom if the condition is controlled properly through appropriate medicines.
Other factors that may contribute to weight gain include, but not limited to stress, lack of sleep, pregnancy, stopping smoking, and previous attempts to lose weight.
Diet and Exercise for Losing Weight
Now that we know what can cause weight gain, both through what we eat and our surroundings. Let's now take a look at how we can healthy reduce our weight. Whether you're at risk of obesity, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems. Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight: daily exercise, a healthy diet, and a long-term commitment to watch what you eat and drink.
Regular exercise - It is stated that you should have between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate exercise (enough to get the heart rate raised) such as cycling, jogging, walking, and running. If you are looking to speed up your weight loss, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to rapidly burn calories and speed up your metabolism.
Diet - Make sure to have a balanced and calorie controlled diet of vegetables and fruit - aim to eat at least 5 portions a day, carbohydrates, fats, and meats with appropriate portion recommendations of these food groups. By drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, not only will it help to kickstart your metabolism, but it will make you feel full up and reduce the amount of overindulging that you may do.
Medicines That Help With Weight Loss
For most people, by increasing their exercise and living a healthier life they are able to lose weight. However for some people the beer bellies might just not be shifting - this is when pharmaceutical interventions are used. Currently on the market there are a series of tablets and injections that can really help those in need of weight loss when lifestyle choices are just not cutting it.
Orlistat belongs to a class of drugs known as lipase inhibitors, these block the intestines from absorbing the amount of fat you eat. It is an effective capsule taken three times daily for people over 18 where weight loss has not been achieved through diet and lifestyle alone.
The newest addition to the obesity treatment market is Saxenda, a brand of the medication liraglutide which was originally developed as an anti-diabetic drug sold under the brand Victoza. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, meaning it acts at the receptor for GLP-1, an appetite-regulating substance naturally produced in the body. Saxenda makes you feel full and less hungry, which can help you eat less and reduce your body weight. It can help you to not only lose weight, but keep it off as well. You can inject this into your abdomen, upper thigh, or upper arm although stomach is preferred. It is suitable for those over 18 years old and with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30, or over 27 if you have health conditions.
We also have Ozempic (semaglutide) which is a once-weekly medicine for adults with type 2 diabetes used to improve blood sugar, along with diet and exercise, and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. This is not a weight loss drug, it is for those with type 2 diabetes, but there have been some early studies to show that alongside a healthy diet it may lower your blood sugar and weight.
Author: Matthew Jennings