The prevalence of obesity is a significant health concern in New Zealand, with one in three adults over the age of 15 classified as obese. This places New Zealand as having the third highest adult obesity rate among OECD countries. However, society’s unhealthy obsession with weight and the booming weight loss industry often lead to unsustainable and ineffective approaches to achieving a healthier body.
When it comes to dieting, frequent participation in fad or crash diets is generally discouraged, as they may not provide the necessary nutrients for a healthy body. Furthermore, yo-yo dieting, characterized by weight fluctuations, can actually lower metabolism and result in gaining more weight in the long run. It is important to approach weight management with a focus on overall health rather than solely on weight loss.
One recommended starting point is to consult a doctor or registered dietitian. Dietitians New Zealand is the professional association in the country that can provide assistance in finding a qualified dietitian who can offer personalized advice on nutrition and improving health through food choices. In the case of individuals with Type 2 diabetes, there are dietitians who specialize in developing customized eating plans.
For those with diabetes, maintaining stable blood sugar levels is key. This can be achieved by consuming three balanced meals per day, each including at least two different types of fruits and vegetables. While whole fruits do contain natural sugars, they are generally acceptable for diabetics. Lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, and eggs, along with healthier carbohydrates like whole grains and high-fiber foods, should be incorporated. Processed foods high in fat should be limited, as well as the intake of salt and sugary treats.
Weight-loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass, may be recommended for individuals with serious medical conditions related to obesity, such as obstructive sleep apnea, heart complications, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Regular physical exercise is an essential component of maintaining good health. It helps manage weight, strengthens muscles and bones, and reduces stress and anxiety. Incorporating exercise into daily routines can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or engaging in a 30-minute brisk walk. Choosing active modes of transportation, like walking or cycling to work, can significantly improve overall cardiovascular fitness.
Mindfulness is another important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It involves being fully present and engaged in the current moment without judgment. When it comes to eating, mindful eating involves being grateful for the nourishing food in front of you and using all your senses to fully appreciate it. This means savoring the sight, smell, taste, and texture of the food and eating slowly to enhance the experience. Mindful eating also involves considering the origins of the food and examining one’s relationship with food and any emotional connections to eating. Studies have shown that mindfulness can aid in appetite regulation and promote a healthier relationship with food.
In conclusion, achieving a healthier body goes beyond simply focusing on weight loss. It requires a holistic approach that prioritizes good nutrition, regular physical activity, and mindfulness. By adopting these practices, individuals can strike the right balance for long-term health and well-being. Bon appétit!
Sources: The New Zealand Health Survey 2020/2021, Dieticians New Zealand, and Diabetes New Zealand.