Information on Losing Weight

Being very overweight

Being very overweight increases your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, such as: type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer. In addition, being very over-weight can damage your quality of life and can often trigger depression, as well as shortening your life expectancy.

The rate of obesity –related deaths has risen by 40% since 2004 in Scotland.

Health problems

Being very overweight or obese can increase your risk of other health problems, including:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension) – this is a major risk factor for developing serious cardiovascular disease (conditions that can affect the circulation of blood around the body)
  • infertility
  • asthma
  • osteoarthritis – a condition that affects the joints
  • back pain
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease

If you are obese, you are also more likely to develop complications in pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia (which is when a woman experiences a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure during pregnancy).

New studies have confirmed that obesity is even more dangerous for your health than smoking.

What is obesity?

In layman’s terms, obesity means being very overweight but, in medical terms obesity means having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.

What is BMI?

BMI is calculating whether your weight is in proportion to your height. To calculate your personal BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (that is, multiplied by itself). A BMI of between 20 and 25 is regarded as healthy, a BMI between 25 and 30 is regarded as overweight, and a BMI of greater than 30 is regarded as obese.

Check out your own BMI:

Why do people become obese?

The simple answer is that they have taken in more dietary calories than their body needs. These extra calories have been stored as fat. Some people do seem to put on weight more easily than others, and the tendency to become overweight seems to depend on several factors such as your age, whether you smoke, the amount of exercise you take, and the proportion of fat in your diet. About 2% (a very small proportion) of obese people have a medical problem that causes their obesity. The majority are just taking too many calories for what their body requires.

What can I do to lose weight?

Fad diets do not work. Making healthy changes and choices and sticking to them is the answer, otherwise, the weight will just go back on again. Once you make these changes you will feel the benefit of losing weight and want to keep it going.

Important steps to losing weight

  1. Cut down on your fat intake, and eat more fruit and vegetables. Beware of hidden fat in many processed and pre-prepared foods. Look at labels – under 3g of fat per 100g or less is considered a healthy amount.
  2. Be prepared to make changes. If you don’t change what you’re eating, your weight won’t change either!
  3. Increase your level of physical activity. A daily brisk walk of half an hour to an hour, will burn lots of calories and get you fitter, and it’s free! Exercise in combination with reduced intake of daily calories will help shed the pounds in no time. Swimming and cycling are great too, or any kind of activity that gets you a bit sweaty, is ideal.
  4. Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is loaded with calories. (See Calories in Alcohol)
  5. Keep a food diary. This is an excellent way of keeping track of your daily intake. It’s easy to forget what you’ve had already. Writing down in a notebook everything you eat and drink makes you more aware of your intake and how the calories are mounting up.
    See the section on Calories for more information on how many calories are in what. See the section on Healthy Recipes for ideas for low calorie meals.
  6. As a general rule women should be aiming for approximately 1500 calories per day and men, 2000 calories per day if you want to lose weight. Check with your GP or Nurse if you have a health problem, that it is ok for you to do this.
  7. If you must nibble, nibble on low calorie snacks. (a few grapes, a tangerine, carrots, celery, crab sticks etc), rather than crisps, sweets and biscuits which are loaded with calories.
  8. Accept that you may need help to lose weight. Many people find the moral support of a slimming club very helpful. Clubs such as Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Scottish Slimmers etc, are excellent means of losing weight, offer a great deal of support, and keep you “on track”.
  9. Diet pills, liquid meals, and special food supplements may help you lose weight in the short-term, but are not the answer to maintaining a healthy weight in the long-term. As soon as you stop taking them, the weight will pile back on and usually more, and they may cause constipation, diarrhoea, and upset stomach amongst other things.

Check out these websites for help and advice:

Weigh to go is a service for youths aged 16-18 (15 1/2 – 18 1/2) – Receive lots of encouragement and support, free weight loss plan, and free gym access.

Call 0141 5318718

ACES is a new and exciting healthy eating activity club for

children and young people who are above a healthy weight.

Ask at reception for more information