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Permanent Lifestyle Changes Are Needed to Manage Weight

Source: Ng Wan Ching, The Straits Times, 29 December 2015 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

friends exercising together at the park

One of the top New Year resolutions anywhere in the world is to drop some kilos and exercise more.

Weight loss and maintenance encompass permanent lifestyle modifications, said Dr Asim Shabbir, director and senior consultant at the Centre for Obesity Management and Surgery at National University Hospital (NUH).

This includes keeping tabs on diet and exercise and positive behaviour reinforcement, he said.

You gain weight when the calories you burn, including during physical activity, are fewer than the calories you eat or drink.

Achieving consistency in eating healthily and exercising is the key, said Dr Lim Su Lin, chief dietitian at NUH’s dietetics department.

The two elements should be incorporated as part of a healthy lifestyle, and not just for a certain period of time to look good, she said.

Many people think that they can eat whatever they want and however much they want, as long as they exercise.

But Dr Lim said she has encountered many patients who do that, yet suffer from high cholesterol or heart attacks.

Many also have worn-out knees by the time they reach their 40s and start putting on weight as they cannot exercise as vigorously as before. However, they continue to eat the same amount of food.

You should, therefore, understand why you are exercising and how it helps you, so that your efforts will not be wasted, said Dr Shabbir.

Exercise involves the muscles sending signals to the brain, which implies that the body is in a healthy energy state, he said.

This gives you a sense of well-being and accomplishment, as well as a need to do more, he said.

The Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

Dr Shabbir’s Exercise Tips

Exercise with a friend or in a group to keep your motivation up. A workout partner can encourage you when you are feeling lazy, and it is harder to bail out when there is someone waiting for you to get moving.

Get an exercise-related mobile app to remind you that it is time to get going. You can also keep track of the number of steps you take by using simple gadgets.

Set a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-related or trackable. For instance, you could decide to take a walk after work for half an hour, three to four times a week.

Do physical work—such as clearing the table, other household chores, or switching the television on and off without resorting to the remote control. Walk rather than travel in cars or public transport, and use the stairs instead of relying on lifts and escalators.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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