Staying hydrated and drinking sufficient fluids is vital. Firstly it promotes fullness, and secondly, drinking water has been found to slightly increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day, increasing your metabolism.
So many of us have tried dieting. All too often, though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?
In this interview series called “5 Things, You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently,” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Chantell Hayward.
Dr. Chantell Hayward is a clinical pharmacist. She did her Bpharm and her doctorate in pharmacy in South Africa, where she has used her skills in hospital and retail sectors to optimize patient outcomes. She also has a passion for educating other healthcare professionals, and she works as a freelance medical writer.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up living with my mother and grandparents in Port Elizabeth, in SA. I loved learning and books and always knew I wanted to help people. I knew that whatever I did one day, it had to be something that offered diversity and the opportunity to assist others.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
My family inspired me. We did not have a lot growing up, and many of my family members died due to inadequate access to proper healthcare and negligence. I wanted to be able to change that and be a difference in people’s lives and take care of my family.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
My mom. She always believed in me and was the one person I could always count on. She encouraged me and inspired me, and cared for me. She constantly went to the mat for me, whether it meant motivating for financial aid to finish my pharmacy course, taking me to classes, or bringing me a snack when working crazy hours and studying. She was my constant.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
I was running late one morning for a meeting. I was double-booked with ward rounds and meetings. By accident, I ran into the wrong boardroom. I soon realized that it was not my meeting when they started to discuss the matter at hand. Before this, I was chatting with everyone and helped myself to some snacks. You ignore the detail when you spread yourself too thinly, and you do 50% on everything. It is better to do a good job in one area than an average job on three different tasks.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”- Mahatma Gandhi.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Currently, my jobs include designing continued professional development pieces for health care professionals and writing articles for BoomersHub, a platform to assist in educating the elderly.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?
I am a pharmacist by profession with a doctorate in pharmacology. I have worked as part of a multi-disciplinary team including dieticians, doctors, and physiotherapists for many years. As a result, I have been fortunate to have learned about medicines, diet, physical therapy, and the importance of each.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?
A normal healthy weight is defined as an appropriate weight in relation to height. The relation of height to weight used to measure whether someone is a normal weight is known as the bodyweight index.
How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?
If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range, between 25 and 30 is the overweight range, and if it is 30 or higher, it falls within the obese range. A healthy BMI falls between 18.5 to less than 25. There are several online apps you can use to ascertain what your BMI would be.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?
Yes, so definitely, both scenarios are detrimental to your health. But, again, it is about finding balance.
Fat cells release certain hormones into the body, resulting in inflammation which in turn is believed to contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, among others. It can also result in difficulty moving, depression, anxiety, and a lower quality of health. This predominantly occurs when your BMI increases over 25.
Being underweight bears significant risks to your health. It results in nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and delayed wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection, and chronic conditions such as osteoporosis.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?
Being overweight results in people feeling tired. They generally lack energy for simple tasks. Chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can also affect your quality of life in that it may restrict you or affect your health and thus your daily life. Obesity gives rise to these chronic conditions. Not only does it affect your energy levels and health but also your mood. Someone with a healthy body weight will be in a better mood and more positive. Those with weight problems often suffer from depression and daytime sleepiness.
Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”
Unfortunately, very few people who lose weight are able to keep the weight off successfully.
- Regular exercise is vital. Exercise helps burn off extra calories and increase your metabolism and thus helps to achieve an energy balance, meaning you burn the same number of calories you consume. One hour a day is optimal for most people.
- Have a high protein diet. Protein decreases appetite, promotes fullness, and reduces calorie intake.
- It is essential to pay attention to the amount and types of carbs you eat. When we consume excessive amounts of carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and refined sweets, it can cause us to gain weight in excessive amounts. One of my friends once told me that she eats small meals and could still not lose weight. The reason for this was that she was eating smaller amounts of the wrong types of foods. The foods she was eating were mainly carbohydrates stripped of their natural fiber, which is necessary to promote fullness. Often results in the person feeling hungry and binging.
- Furthermore, you may tell yourself that cheating on your diet over a weekend is okay. This leads to weight gain as this mentality often leads to binging, which offsets all the good habits undertaken during the week. Those who maintain their diet are more likely to sustain weight loss.
- Staying hydrated and drinking sufficient fluids is vital. Firstly it promotes fullness, and secondly, drinking water has been found to slightly increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day, increasing your metabolism.
The emphasis of this series is how to maintain ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?
Whatever you do needs to be realistic, sustainable and it should fit in your life. If you are someone who struggles with eating healthy, find options that you could live with. Focus on exercising to maintain a healthy body weight.
Another example — If you have crazy hours at work and need to pack lunches and do not have time, you may land up buying fast foods. Do meal prep or buy healthy frozen dishes made for you. Find a solution you can live with and practice.
What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?
It is vital to maintain a balanced diet. Restrictive diets with extreme calorie restrictions slow your metabolism and shift your appetite-regulating hormones, which cause weight gain. Rather than cutting out anything considered unhealthy, be realistic and try to replace it with a similar yet healthier alternative.
Having a strong mindset is essential. A diet is not a quick fix. Instead, dieting should be part of a long-term plan to improve your health. Once you have lost the weight you set out to lose, you need to stay on the path which got you there. It is also important to remember that losing weight more slowly is better and is more likely to result in sustainable weight loss.
Again, touching on the topic of a quick fix, many people think that if they drink medication used to lose weight, they can eat what they want and not exercise. Unfortunately, you do not get a miracle pill. No matter what you use, a healthy diet and exercise are essential. In addition, many of these medicines can affect your body and influence certain chronic diseases negatively.
How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s essential to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it isn’t easy to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion, what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
I think people lie in extremes. I mean by this that when they are motivated and want to lose weight, they do everything by the book, and at other times, they get so frustrated and binge to such an extent that all their dieting efforts are negated. It is about finding a balance. Live healthier, eat healthier, and exercise. However, find healthy mid-points
On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?
Make yourself a timeline. Make a weekly schedule and plan meals and exercise sessions with reminders on your phone. You can add weigh-in sessions where you check your waist circumference and weight. Put together achievable goals on your to-do list. Have something to work towards.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Make living healthy your number one goal — without having this goal in place, other goals may not be possible.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Jacinda Ardern. I feel like she is one of the greatest leaders of all time. She is the perfect balance of intelligence, caring, and she is so forward-thinking. It is not just a job, and she is not just another power-hungry politician. She cares, and she is so down-to-earth and accessible.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Check out my LinkedIn profile or the BoomersHub Website.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.