Top tip: Balance the bank – the energy bank.

One crucial step for all New Zealanders is to stablise our weight, stopping the gaining of undesirable body weight.

One crucial step for all New Zealanders is to stablise our weight, stopping the gaining of undesirable body weight. We are all aware that obesity in adults and children is increasing at an undesirable rate. Energy density of food (the amount of kilojoules or calories per 100g or serving) is important. Finding a balance between intake and output is difficult for many people as they often mistakenly believe they can easily burn off all they eat, especially treats and alcohol.

Serving size is a critical issue as there are no standard serving sizes. Check the serving size when you are reading the food and nutrition labels on food. This is not a requirement but a guideline. For example a large (giant) chocolate chip cookie is considered to be 4 servings or equal to 10 smaller regular biscuits. Many people would eat one large biscuit easily but consider eating 10 regular biscuit excessive (they are both the same amount of energy). Reading the WHOLE nutrition label is important with a focus on the amount of total energy, total fat content and level of sugar provided.

Snacks which contain 420-500kJ (100-120kcal) of energy are suitable to eat between meals. Keep treat foods (lollies, sweets, biscuits, sweet muesli bars, ice cream, chips, high fat takeaways and beverages high in sugar) as treats, not as everyday foods. A treat is something that is eaten for special occasions, once a week or at certain times of the year. A food or item is not a treat if it is eaten daily.

As body weight will vary by at least one kilogram each day. weight should not be measured more than once a week. Body weight will also be greater in the evening due to the intake of food and fluids during the day. After exercise the majority of the weight lost is the result of sweat losses, not a large reduction in body fat. Beware of exercise programmes that promise large losses of energy (1000 kcals) for one hour sessions or less as these are unrealistic. Reducing body weight and body fat is hard work and takes time. A safe and realistic weight loss is 1 kg per month or 10% of body weight in a year.

In business terms we do not want to make any deposits into the energy bank; some should be should be making regular withdrawals to assist the reduction of undesirable weight gain, while others may need to maintain the balance. For most people the weight bank is the only one where earning interest is NOT in our best interest for health!

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