Life Wellbeing Losing three kilos can massively boost your health

Losing three kilos can massively boost your health

weight loss
Weighing up the options: a healthier you is only a few kilograms away. Photo: Getty
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Did you eat too much chocolate over the weekend? You’re not alone.

But don’t feel guilty about it because next year you have a new piece of information to reinforce your willpower.

According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), losing only a small amount of weight can drastically reduce the sometimes life-threatening problems caused by carrying a few extra kilos, researchers have found.

That means saying ‘no’ to too many Easter eggs and other treats now comes with a powerfully positive health reward. It may also mean the end of long and difficult periods of dieting.

The report, titled Impact of Overweight and Obesity as a Risk Factor For Chronic Conditions, looks at the health impact of excess weight in terms of years of healthy life lost through living with an illness or injury, or dying prematurely.

It found that if all Australians at risk of disease due to obesity reduced their body mass index (BMI) by just one point – around three kilograms for a person of average height – the likelihood of serous ill health would drop substantially.

Lisa Renn, a dietitian, agrees that small changes can make a significant difference, but warns against dieting.

“I’ve had clients who’ve been really stuck in that yoyo dieting cycle, and it’s taken up to 12 months to turn them off that,” she said, adding that choosing better foods over the long-term can deliver the desired changes.

“There’s a lot of people out there struggling with weight who have a love-hate relationship with food and so getting over that is a major part of sustainable weight loss.”

The AIHW report shows that if those who were overweight or obese in 2011 reduced their weight by just one BMI point, or about three kilos, the overall health impact of excess weight would be reduced by 14 per cent by 2020.

Perseverance is the key to losing weight.
Perseverance is the key to losing weight. Photo: Getty

Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Tony Bartone told The New Daily that “even a small number [of kilos] in comparison to a total weight-loss goal represents an investment in a new lifestyle, in a new way of approaching their health”.

“The sedentary lifestyle that’s associated with excess weight is often just as problematic. We know that walking regularly – half to three-quarters of an hour, three to four times a week – makes a positive difference.”

Dr Bartone says people should remember that it’s taken them a lifetime to get to their current weight.

“Part of the process of losing weight is looking at how you got there and what changes you can make. It’s about portion control, a healthier diet, lifestyle factors, and the interplay of all those factors,” he says.

He suggests partnering with a health professional, such as your family doctor, who can support you and share the ups and downs.

“No two people’s obesity issue is the same and we need to customise the approach for patients because what works for one person might not work well for the next person.”

Ms Renn believes that perseverance is key.

“The more time you put into changing habits, the more likely you are to successfully change them,” she says. “There’s three major things: eat breakfast, watch your portion sizes, and try not to eat after dinner.

“And have a row of chocolate instead of half a block.”

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