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Tag Archives: overweight

  • Can you be Healthy and Overweight?

    Let's begin with a definition of exactly what "overweight" is, because the term can be highly subjective. "Overweight" within this article refers to being classified as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater. The BMI calculation considers your body mass and height, and is most accurate for people without excessive amounts of muscle tissue (such as bodybuilders). While a BMI of 30 or more is classified as obese, this too would be relevant to being "overweight" under the context of this article. If you'd like to calculate what your BMI is, use our BMI calculator!

    Over the last few years, there has been a lot of media exposure promoting the benefits of a positive self-image and body-image. It's now quite popular for a current affairs segment to feature "plus size models", who are models that are technically overweight.

    With all this added exposure, it is often suggested that being overweight is "okay". And yes, this is perfectly reasonable advice. After all, you must love the body that you're in to really get the most out of life, whether you are overweight, underweight or within the normal bodyweight range.

    Psychology aside, what we are considering here is if you can be overweight and healthy at the same time. Upon considering all the positive "plus-size" features, and all the negative "skinny model" stories recently, being overweight is more socially acceptable than it was a decade ago. So it is therefore easy to infer that being overweight is healthy. Unfortunately, the research does not draw the same conclusion.

    Being overweight carries a number of physiologically related medical health risks. This includes an increased risk of:

    • Type II Diabetes
    • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Stroke
    • Cancer
    • Metabolic Syndrme
    • Sleep Apnea
    • Oseteoarthritis
    • Gallbladder Disease
    • Fatty Liver Disease
    • Pregnancy Complications

    Apart from these medical risks, there are lifestyle factors to consider too. If you're overweight, you'll find it harder to enjoy more physically active activities as a consequence of carrying around additional body mass. You may not be able to keep up with your kids, or may even sustain injury from being heavier than what a "healthy" BMI indicates.

    We must not dismiss the potential psychological ramifications considerations of being overweight. It is commonplace to feel "down" about being overweight. Whether it's to do with being disappointed with how you look in the mirror, or buying "plus-size" clothes, experiencing depressive symptoms as a result of your bodyweight is not healthy in any sense of the word.

    It's important to stress that there is nothing "wrong" with being overweight. If you are overweight then this is not something to be ashamed about. After all, we are all different shapes and sizes - and this is something that we should celebrate. The point of this article however is that you must not be mistaken into thinking that being overweight is healthy. It isn't - being overweight carries a number of health risks (physiologically and psychologically) and may negatively impact your quality of life.

  • I am about to begin a training program and am 30kg overweight. After reading one of your articles, I am not sure if I should attempt HIIT cardio. What would be your advice?

    Thanks very much for your question.

    Just to clarify to anyone reading this Q&A, I do not for a single second believe that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a waste of time.  I am a very strong advocator of the very significant health, fitness and weight loss benefits of this form of exercise, as is very apparent throughout this website.

    However, I do not believe that it is always suitable for the beginner to jump head-first into such a demanding exercise regime.  There are a two major reasons that I have for stance:

    • HIIT is very intense and requires a lot of mental and physical toughness.  A person that goes from a low-activity lifestyle to a contrasting HIIT exercise regime can often be extremely discouraged by the unexpected toll it can take on your system.
    • Your body does need time to adjust to increased levels of activity.  HIIT is an advanced form of training that will place your body under extreme physical stress.  Your body may have trouble adapting to such a demanding form of exercise in such a short period of time.  This can pose health risks.

    Therefore I would not recommend that you begin HIIT straight off the bat.  Whilst it is desirable to lose the weight as quickly as possible, it is also important to consider your health and the long-term sustainability of your training program.

    As a general guide, I would recommend that you begin with a relatively low intensity exercise routine to allow your body a chance to become used to the increased physical demands. It is hard to advise a specific length of time based on the information provided.  You should begin with enough intensity to break a sweat and feel worked, but not too much that you feel like you're going to fall over and collapse :).  From there, it is important to continually up-the-ante, so to speak.  Gradually increase the demands of the exercise program (through duration and/or intensity).  Eventually you will reach a level where HIIT will be a much more viable option.  You may want to read an article I published on this subject, entitled The Art Of Adaptation 

    Before you begin anything, I highly recommend that you consult with a personal trainer to aid you in your weight loss efforts.  A relatively small financial investment is negligible when you consider the invaluable benefits a personal trainer will provide - namely very specific advice on how to achieve your goals in a safe, effective and sustainable manner.  I offer these services both online and face-to-face - click here for more information.

    I hope this is of help!

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