Most people do gain weight gradually over time. It's a real achievement of weight management (resulting from healthy diet and physical activity) to stop this happening.
Weight management, namely preventing weight gain and maintaining a healthy weight, is an important factor in your health. This is especially true if you have other risk factors, such as a family tendency to weight-related illness, or if you already suffer from high blood pressure or other conditions that could be made worse by extra weight (like arthritis). Even a few lost pounds can remove substantial amounts of blood fats such as cholesterol. One way to help maintain a healthier weight is by persisting with a healthy diet.
The same applies if you have lost weight - you need it to stay lost! This is where weight management comes in. You'll notice that when you have lost even a small amount of weight, you'll feel better (probably some time before you actually see much difference in the mirror). Feeling more energetic helps you to become more physically active, and gives you some incentive to stick to a healthy diet as well. This, in turn, makes it easier to succeed with weight management, a healthy diet and your healthier weight goals.
Healthier weight, healthier waist. Some people find a lot of their extra weight sits on their waistline. If your waist is actually more of a memory than a reality, then it could be a sign you are at a higher risk of coronary heart disease. The fat that lies there is known as 'intra-abdominal fat' and you can measure the extent of it by measuring your waist.
Research has shown that in general the risk of coronary heart disease, for both men and women, grows progressively along with their waist measurement.
- Men have an increased risk if their waist measures 37 inches (94cm) or more.
- Women have an increased risk if their waist measures 32 inches (80cm) or more.
- Men have a substantially increased risk if their waist measures 40 inches (102cm) or more.
- Women have a substantially increased risk if their waist measures 35 inches (88cm) or more.
Although the research shows these 'cut off' points between 'increased risk' and 'substantially increased risk', the message for real life is that the risk of coronary heart disease increases as the tape measure lengthens. So, there are plenty of reasons to engage in weight management, take on a healthy diet and attain that healthier weight and waistline.
How do we know? Studies were done in America, where researchers measured a lot of waistlines (about 51,000), and matched the results up to other known risk factors for coronary heart disease. They found the waist measurement was a very reliable indicator - with the advantage that it was quick and easy to do, compared to checks such as weighing, checking blood pressure and measuring cholesterol.