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We have a wide range of articles about fitness, health and events at Active.

Read one of our many articles below by clicking on the title and after you have finished, let us know what you think by submitting a comment. What fitness techniques have you tried that have worked or failed? Is there a new kind of fitness class that we don't currently provide? What more could we do to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle?

We will be uploading more articles regularly so please keep an eye on this page, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Are you weight wise?

The number of people who are overweight or obese has been rapidly increasing in the UK, to the point that obesity is becoming one of the UK's most serious health problems. Currently, 38% of the people in the UK are overweight and a further 20% are obese. Data collected in a Jersey Health Survey show that we are not far behind, with 33% of people reported to be overweight and 12% obese.

Being overweight or obese can affect nearly every part of your body. It can increase the chances of having heart attacks, high blood pressure and even developing diabetes and certain cancers. Other reasons for controlling weight may be as important to you as your health. You may want to get fitter, get into shape, look better and feel better or just be able to get into clothes that no longer fit.

So how do we know what a healthy weight is?

The definition of overweight and obesity is usually based on an approximation of body fat, based on our height and weight. Risk of illness increases significantly somewhere between BMI values of 25-30 and increases rapidly at BMI values greater than 30. However, underweight people are also at risk, with BMI value of less than 20 linked to decreased longevity.

Are you an apple or a pear?

BMI is a simple and useful tool but does have limitations. It takes no account of variation in stature, frame or body composition, so a very muscular person may appear overweight if BMI is the sole assessment tool. Evidence suggests that intraabdominal fat (apple shape) is greater risk factor for developing heart decease and diabetes than a similar weight of fat deposited subcutaneously (pear shaped). Hence waist circumference has also been proposed as an alternative measurement to BMI.

Small changes can lead to big benefits!

The good news is that if you are overweight, even a small weight loss can produce a variety of health benefits. It's not always easy to lose weight, but both diet and physical activity levels play a role in tackling obesity. Many physically inactive people fail to recognise that their energy needs are low and tend to overeat and hence gain weight.

Be weight wise, eat sensibly!

The best way of keeping your weight in control is to eat a healthy balanced diet. All research findings suggest that losing weight steadily and gradually is the safest way and the weight is much more likely to stay off than if you lose it quickly. Crash diets result in loss of muscle tissue and water. So, although the scales may read less, your body has not lost much fat. Also your metabolic rate slows down and it becomes even harder to lose weight.

If you are trying to lose weight, aim to lose no more than one to two pounds (half to one Kg) each week.

Measuring your waist is an easy way of finding out whether you are an 'apple' or 'pear'. To measure your waist find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips. Measure around your middle at a point mid-way between these (for many people this will be the tummy button). Use the table below to see if you are at risk of ill health.

foods like pie and chips occasionally is fine, but having them everyday instead of a variety of different foods is not so healthy.

The main rules for healthy eating are:-

• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. All types - fresh, frozen, tinned and dried are good.

• Have some starchy food with each meal. These are bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, noodles and other cereals.

• Choose low fat dairy products where possible (milk, yoghurts and cheese).

• Eat small portions of lean meat and fish.

• Limit fatty and sugary foods and alcohol.

• Eat regular meals.

Changing your diet and getting more ACTIVE both need careful thought and effort, but often small changes can lead to big results. 

The list below are some simple actions you could try if you are trying to control your weight:-

• Do nothing else whilst eating, enjoy your food and try not to rush meals.

• Eat regularly. Skipping breakfast may mean you are tempted with chocolate or biscuits mid morning.

• Eat whilst sitting down.

• Keep healthy snacks to hand.

• Wait at least five minutes after finishing your meal to decide if you need second helpings.

• Ask yourself if you are really hungry.  Would a low calorie drink suffice?

• Remove serving dishes from the table if you think you will be tempted to overeat.

• Stop on a full stomach.

• Clean your teeth after a meal or when you have the urge to overeat.

• Practice refusing offers to overeat. Learn to say 'no thank you' firmly and politely.

Written by Jill Fa Karen & Le Cornu at 10:00

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