|“Waste” Line: The Long & Short Of It
Research suggests that if you substantially reduce your intake of calories, you will live longer. In addition, you will remain healthier with fewer disease invasions. To name a few: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
When you maintain your “ideal” weight, you will also not only live life to the full, but enjoy living a full life. In other words, a life without the presence of chronic and difficult-to-treat diseases.
Your weight will sure determine your longevity. There are many researchers who believe that a reduction in human calorie consumption will significantly increase human lifespan.
This does not, however, mean that you should starve to reach your ripe old age. Far from it.
Weight And Longevity
Just look at the data, or survey, compiled by insurance companies. It will be clear that the longest lived people are those in the middle-weight categories. Not those who have been underweight and grossly overweight, who tend to have the shortest lifespan. There could be some exceptions to this, of course!
As for those who believe in fasting, here is a bit of research information. There's no clear-cut evidence to support serious fasting as a mode of longevity as practised in some traditional societies.
What Is Overweight
The National Institutes of Health, US, uses a gold standard to measure and define weight. This is called the body mass index [BMI]. The body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilogram by your height in metre squared.
For you to being the right weight, you need to have a BMI below 25. In today’s fast-paced life and era of junk food, most people would fall into the overweight category.
This is enough reason for the surplus of diet medicines.
It is, however, not those that are overweight among us who are laughing their way to better life. It is the diet pill companies that are laughing their way to the bank!
Yet, there is a silver-lining. If you are overweight with a BMI of 26+ and don’t have high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnoea [sudden, short stoppage of breathing during sleep], or chronic arthritis, you need not worry about the extra kilos around your waist. A few additional kilograms do not necessarily reduce your longevity. But, for this to happen —
- You need to be a non-smoker.
- Don’t have a high cholesterol level.
- Don’t have a family history of heart disease.
This is a tough “ask,” isn’t it!
Research suggests that a few extra pounds might even protect you. A Swedish Hip Fracture Study found that women who gained weight during adult life had a significantly decreased risk of hip fracture. In comparison, studies have shown that women who lose weight have a substantially increased risk of hip fracture — a life-threatening condition.
It is suggested that a little bit of additional weight protects you from a hip fracture, thanks to the little extra cushioning around your hip. Reason: the cushioning effect helps absorb at least some of the shock of a fall. This is said to prevent the much-distressing hip fracture.
Having a few extra pounds, later in life, may also improve your health and longevity. You’d rather believe it! In a study of individuals, aged 70+, researchers found that those with the best chances of survival had BMI in the range of 27-29 [men] and 25-27 [women]. This, of course, does not give you the visa to “feast” on sweets, fast-food, brownies, cheesecake, and so on.
In actuality, researchers do question the potential health of tinsel starlets and fashion models that don't put on a few pounds during their 30s. Put simply, it is always better to be discreet. You need to keep that waistline at its optimal level. A little padding is okay, provided you lead an active life. Being overweight is, of course, a big no!
There is yet another angle to the issue. Adding a few pounds to your hips, as current research suggests, may not be as dangerous, or injurious, to your health and longevity as additional pounds added to your waistline.
You gotcha the equation right! It’s desirable to bear a resemblance to a pear, not an apple. Never sport the huge beer bellies — an avoidable element that we all often seem to bump into at the mall. A pot-belly is a significant health risk, and early “candidate” for major, major health affections. This includes high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc.,
Note: The National Institutes of Health guideline of using your BMI to determine your health also recognises the importance of measuring your waistline in addition to your height and weight. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for men is suggested to increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. For women, a waistline of more than 35 inches is just as much a health hazard.
Losing Weight Safely
There have been reports of many deaths among people who have tried to reduce overnight — either by way of crash dieting or dietetic mumbo-jumbo, miracle pills and so on. As for those of you who are keen on losing weight, reduce by all means, but make sure you do this safely. Talk to your doctor, or dietician. Try a few simple, safe approaches, which your friends may have used successfully, before you do anything.
Easy Steps To Weight Loss
The best way to lose weight is to avoid a second helping. Once you achieve this objective, you may set achievable goals for yourself:
- First, try to achieve a ten per cent weight loss.
- Evaluate your weight loss under the guidance of your physician.
- You need to give yourself at least six months, not a fortnight, to achieving this goal.
- If you reduce your daily food intake by 300 to 500 kcal a day, you can quite easily lose 2 or 3 kg a week.
- Eat at least four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables provide you with all the vitamins, minerals,
fibre and anti-oxidants you need, and with relatively few calories.
- Drink more water, and add more fibre to your diet. It’s an ideal combination to make you feel full, even though you consume fewer
calories. This will reduce your risk for serious disorders.
- When your weight goal is reached at the end of six months, your body would have adapted itself to your new regimen and needs.
So much so, that, even with your reduced intake of food, you will still be able to maintain your weight.
Also, remember! While you are lowering your intake of food, it is critical that you slowly increase your physical activity.
This will benefit your waistline, and help your heart and lungs work better.
It will also improve your mood, give you a sound night's sleep, and decrease your risk of serious diseases!