Weigh your health

PHOTO: Weigh your health

For women, any increase in weight is a very sensitive issue. And for men, a "spare tire" around the tummy and a chubby body shape can occasionally be a source of jokes among friends.

How important is controlling your weight? Is it just to look good?

The truth is, being overweight not only affects a person's self-image, but also affects their health, and exposes them to the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

The question is: is it easy to control your weight?

The truth is, it isn't that hard to ensure that your weight remains at the ideal level. Follow these tips to ensure that your weight is ideal for your height.

Top #1: Know your ideal weight

Healthcare professionals use the BMI (Body Mass Index) to measure your ideal body weight. You can calculate your BMI using this formula: BMI = Weight (kg) ÷ [Height (m)]²

The ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 22.9. 

Tip #2: Know your body's calorie needs

Firstly, you should know your body's caloric needs.

Each person's caloric needs differ according to gender, age and daily activities.

If you are a woman who is not very physically active, and spends most of the day in the office, your daily caloric intake should be around 1,800 kilocalories (kcal).

Whereas, on average, an adult male would need around 2,200 kcal.

Everyone is encouraged to eat according to your daily caloric needs, as listed below:

  • Women = 1,800 kilocalories
  • Men = 2,000 kilocalories
  • Teenage girl = 2,000 kilocalories
  • Teenage boy = 2,500 kilocalories

And note that the more physically active you are, the higher will be your daily calorie needs.


Healthy eating habits

Tip #3: Practice healthy eating habits

To obtain the ideal weight, there must be a balance between eating and physical activity.

While you needn't limit your methods of cooking or variety of food, the most important thing is that your cooking methods should involve less fat, less salt and less sugar, so that you can enjoy healthy meals.

Below are some guidelines for preparing healthy meals:

A variety of foods provides all the different nutrients needed by the body. Practise a balanced diet, and vary your food according to the guidelines of the food pyramid.

Additionally, choose healthier cooking methods like broiling, roasting, baking and boiling, as well as decreasing frying and reducing the use of coconut milk in your cooking.

Preparing food with less fat

  • Remove the skin from poultry before cooking.
  • Remove any visible fat from meats before cooking.
  • Avoid refrying fried food.
  • Use tissue paper or oil absorbent paper to absorb excess oil on fried foods.
  • Use a non-stick pan to decrease the use of oil.
  • Ensure that the oil is really hot before frying food, so that less oil is absorbed.
  • Use healthier cooking methods like roasting, baking, boiling, braising or using the oven.
  • Use diluted santan (coconut milk) or low-fat milk.
  • Cool down soups or meat stock, and remove any visible surface fat.
  • Remove any visible oily layers from food.
  • Use low-fat salad dressings. 

Preparing food with less sugar

  • Reduce the use of sugar while cooking.
  • Avoid adding sugar while preparing food. Instead, sweeten your meal with fresh or dried fruits.
  • Avoid layering your cake with sugar or icing.
  • Avoid adding sugar into fruit juices.
  • When preparing drinks, provide the sugar or milk separately.
  • Replace condensed milk with low-fat or fresh milk.

Preparing food with less salt

  • Use only a little salt in your cooking, and avoid sprinkling salt onto your food.
  • Decrease the use of oyster sauce, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup, as well as flavouring while preparing meals. Replace them with suitable natural spices like black pepper, ginger, etc.
  • Reduce consumption of preserved foods like salted fish, salted eggs, preserved vegetables, etc.

Healthy food for the family

Preparing healthy food for the family

Parents play an important part in preparing healthy meals for their families, and need to be aware of the health problems caused by unhealthy eating habits.

Because of that, you might need to be more creative in coming up with healthy recipes for the family.

Some tips for healthier family meals are:

  • Using healthier cooking methods as stated above.
  • Using cooking equipment like non-stick pans to reduce the use of oil.
  • Modifying recipes that call for the use of a lot of oil.
  • Serving plain water during meals.
  • Decreasing the amount of sugar in food and drinks.
  • Serving fresh fruits for dessert.
  • Replacing condensed milk and creamer with fresh or low-fat milk when making drinks.
  • Using dried fruit like dates, raisins or prunes to replace sugar in cooking.
  • Practise reading food labels, and avoid buying food or drink products that list sugar at the forefront of the ingredients list.
  • Buying products labelled “low in sugar” or “sugar free” for the family.
  • Prioritising healthy snacks like fruits for the family.


Tip #4: Do some physical activity

For a person working in the office, and spending a lot of time in front of the computer, you may be a less active person.

In addition to practising healthy eating habits, we also need to exercise moderately at least three times a week for about 30 minutes each.

Consistent exercising helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

Among the benefits of exercising is the increase in your fitness level. Being fit means your body should be able to perform any movement without feeling fatigue, and have enough energy to react in times of emergency.

Ensure that you exercise according to your capability. Seek the advice of experts or doctors before starting a regular exercise routine.

Consistent and constant exercising will ensure that we reach our dream weight.

One of the easiest, cheapest and safest physical activities, which can be done every day, is walking as many as 10,000 steps daily.

Do you know that walking 10,000 steps is equivalent to swimming continuously for 90 minutes, cycling for 70 minutes, or playing football for 90 minutes?

The following are some tips on how to walk 10,000 steps:

Dos and Don'ts

 Do not:

  • Hurry.
  • Sway your hands too high.
  • Put your head down.
  • Carry anything too heavy.

While in the office, do:

  • Use the stairs.
  • Park your car far away from the entrance.
  • Walk to your colleague's desk, instead of phoning him or her.
  • Use a toilet further away from your work station.
  • Walk to an eating place further away from your office.

While at home, do:

  • Reduce the use of the remote control for the tv, radio and fan.
  • Maximise the use of the stairs if you live in a high-rise building.
  • Play with your children.
  • Walk to the shops or your place of worship.
  • Walk with your family members or neighbours in the local park or padang (field).
  • Housework.
  • Use a longer route to go to your bedroom or the toilet.
  • Limit sedentary activities like sitting and watching tv, or using the computer, to less than two hours.