What is healthy weight?
Gaining weight doesn’t need to be an inevitable part of getting older. Making a commitment to maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to enjoy healthy eating and physical activity every day. When our weight changes it generally comes down to two factors - how much we eat and drink (energy in), and how active we are (energy out). It’s all about achieving a balance:
You can maintain your weight if the amount of kilojoules is the same as the amount of energy your body uses each day through normal body functioning, daily activities and planned physical activity.
You gain weight if the amount of kilojoules (energy) you eat and drink is more than the amount of energy your body uses each day through normal body functioning, daily activities and planned physical activity.
You lose weight if the amount of energy coming into your body is less than what is being used up by your body.
Why weight matters
Being overweight can have a serious impact on your health and lifestyle increasing your risk of:
Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and gall bladder disease, gout, arthritis and other joint issues, sleeping problems, including sleep apnoea and certain types of cancer.
Your risk of developing these health conditions depends not just on your weight, but other risk factors that you may have.
Excess weight around your middle is a greater health risk.
Apple-shaped’ bodies (more common amongst men) carry more weight around their middle and are a greater health risk than ‘pear-shaped’ bodies (more common amongst women) where weight is carried more around the hips and thighs.
People come in all shapes and sizes so what might be a healthy weight for one person isn't necessarily healthy for another. The best way to find out if your weight is a health risk is to check with your doctor.
Top tips for healthy weight loss
- Think small. This is not about dieting or running marathons. This is about making small, easy changes to your lifestyle so they become the norm for life. Little things like swapping full cream milk and yoghurt for low-fat varieties and replacing biscuits with fruit can make a big difference in the long run. Try some of our delicious healthy recipe ideas (link) to help get started.
- Move more, sit less. Again, little things can make a big difference over time. Small changes incorporated into your daily routine - like walking to get the newspaper or a litre of milk, taking the stairs instead of the lift and cutting down on the amount of TV you watch, all add up. There are so many ways you can start to be more active each day.
- Find what you like. If you like to dance, take a dance class. Play outside with your kids. Ride a bike. Fly a kite. Even window shopping can be a good energy burner. So if a gym’s not your thing, don’t worry. There are so many options out there including Heart Foundation Walking groups.
- Slow progress is more likely to deliver long-term results. Don’t hop on the scales every day. Let your clothes and how good you feel tell the story. If your weight loss slows down occasionally, don’t give up. Small amounts of weight loss or stopping weight gain will have a big impact on your overall health.
- Seek professional advice. Speak to your doctor, an Accredited Practicing Dietician or a physical health professional about your weight.