The importance of maintaining a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is integral to optimal health. In addition to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also reduce the risk of many different cancers.
When you consider that two-thirds of Australian adults are now overweight or obese, the need to act is clear.
“If you address this early on, we’ll be able to help prevent all these chronic diseases,” Bluff Road Medical Centre’s resident weight loss expert Dr Ananya Murthy said. “It’s a big step up from just treating the chronic condition. The key is to act before irreversible disease processes occur in the body”.
In this article, Dr Murthy shares some insight into weight management and why we need to remove the stigma around this topic.
How often should you exercise?
Any movement is better than no movement. Staying active is essential for physical and emotional well-being.
All adults are recommended to undertake at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercises per week. This can include activities such as brisk walking, swimming, golf, cycling, tennis, etc. It is important to include muscle-strengthening exercises like push-ups, squats, and lifting weights at least 2 days a week.
However, when it comes to exercise for weight loss, the recommendations are for higher levels of physical activity.
What are contributing factors that lead to weight gain?
Many patients have been complaining of weight gain during covid lockdowns. Comfort eating as well as increased alcohol intake seems to have contributed to it. A lot of people turned to alcohol to cope with the stresses of the pandemic.
Working from home and having a more sedentary lifestyle was major factor. In the office, you’re more likely to get out of your chair and have a chat with colleagues, but at home, there’s not as much incidental activity, while at the same time having easy access to snacks/ comfort foods.
There were also other factors contributing to weight gains such as increased stress levels and poor sleep.
When to see a doctor about weight loss?
If you have noticed excess weight gain and it’s impacting your well-being, talk to your doctor. You may be suffering from weight-related issues such as joint pains, fatigue, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, heart conditions, low mood, or negative body image.
I encourage people to always talk to their doctor before embarking on a weight loss journey because there may be more than one reason for your weight gain. Freely available information is often overwhelming and confusing. Your doctor will be able to provide you with evidence-based advice and guide you in the right way.
How can a doctor help?
Your doctor will perform a comprehensive medical and psychosocial assessment to determine the reasons for your weight gain and how weight gain is affecting your health.
Since the reasons for weight gain are plenty, your doctor can assist you with diet and exercise plans, prescribe appropriate weight loss medications, and offer psychology services.
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About Dr Ananya Murthy
Dr Murthy is a General Practitioner with a special interest in chronic disease management, including diabetes and obesity management. She is a SCOPE (Strategic Centre for Obesity Professional Education) certified doctor – the only internationally recognised certificate in obesity management awarded by the World Obesity Federation.
Dr Murthy has completed one-year mentorship under some of Australia’s leading experts in the field and is continually upskilling in this area of medicine.
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