Health – 5 rea­sons why you carry more weight

Over­come what’s stop­ping you from win­ning the bat­tle of the bulge.


Look­ing at the myr­i­ads of celebrity im­ages that flood our me­dia chan­nels, it’s ev­i­dent that “thick” is in. Women with am­ple bo­soms, plump but­tocks and a lit­tle more “meat” on their bones are lauded for em­brac­ing their nat­u­ral shape. Add to that, black com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways revered fuller- fig­ured women as more at­trac­tive. But the health side of this is con­cern­ing. Ac­cord­ing to a 2008 study by the US Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, black women have 51% higher obe­sity rates than white women. And ac­cord­ing to a 2017 study by Wake For­est Med­i­cal Cen­ter in the USA, black women carry more weight be­cause of their ge­net­ics, unhealthy eat­ing habits and in­sulin re­sis­tance. We asked Jo­han­nes­burg-based reg­is­tered di­eti­cians Ash­leigh Caradas and Lila Bruk to ex­plore these fac­tors and of­fer help­ful tips on how to bal­ance our health with our aes­thet­ics.


It’s a fact: eat­ing too much leads to weight gain. This could be due to mis­con­cep­tions about nor­mal por­tion con­trol or crav­ings and binge eat­ing. A 2013 study in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Obe­sity re­vealed black women burn fewer calo­ries than white women.

Caradas ad­vises: Ed­u­cate your­self on what equals a rea­son­able serv­ing from each food group. Con­trol crav­ings by be­com­ing more aware of them and deal­ing with the emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal as­pects too.

Eat low-calo­rie but fill­ing foods, like whole grains, fruits and veg­eta­bles, to fill you up.


Ex­perts found that women who slept five hours were more likely to gain weight than those who slept longer. Hav­ing fewer hours of sleep may make you feel hungry, even when you’re not. When you’re tired, you may skip ex­er­cise or sim­ply move around less, which means burn­ing fewer calo­ries.

Bruk ad­vises: Lack of sleep leads to in­creased cor­ti­sol lev­els (a hor­mone that reg­u­lates ap­petite) in the body, which, in turn, leads to in­creased ap­petite and fat stor­age. Aim for seven hours of sleep per night.


Ex­er­cise helps you main­tain a neg­a­tive calo­rie bal­ance. With weight loss we want to burn off more en­ergy than we take in.

Ex­er­cis­ing more, es­pe­cially car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise (like walk­ing, run­ning or swim­ming) will help burn calo­ries. Weight and re­sis­tance train­ing build mus­cle mass, which in­creases your metabolism.

Caradas ad­vises: Don’t make ex­cuses, find time to ex­er­cise. One or two early morn­ing ses­sions a week and some week­end ex­er­cise should suf­fice.

Aim for at least three hours per week. Try and move more dur­ing the day in gen­eral (e.g. take the stairs, park fur­ther from the of­fice and go for walks on the week­end).


Many women who are try­ing to lose weight un­der­es­ti­mate how many calo­ries they’re tak­ing in. A bite of choco­late or a hand­ful of chips all add up and de­lay weight loss. A lot of peo­ple make changes to their diet but ne­glect to change what they drink. Cold­drinks, for ex­am­ple, can throw a diet com­pletely off course. A litre of any cold drink con­tains up to 22 tea­spoons of sugar.

Fruit juices and cor­dials also con­trib­ute to your sugar in­take and should be avoided or di­luted for best re­sults. Al­co­hol is also high in calo­ries and ex­cess con­sump­tion can hin­der weight loss. A lot of peo­ple make some changes, and then cheat and chuck out the whole diet. Don’t give up.

Caradas ad­vises: If you’ve gone over­board at a meal, learn to com­pen­sate at the next one, to off-set the bad re­sults. For ex­am­ple, if you ended up eat­ing a full plate of fried chicken and pap with gravy at the can­teen, then have a light din­ner of ei­ther a salad or soup.

Bruk ad­vises: Keep a food di­ary, in which you write down ev­ery­thing you eat to track your food in­take and to stay on top of your calo­rie in­take.


High amounts of car­bo­hy­drates can cause weight gain, es­pe­cially around the waist. This is mostly due to the in­sulin re­sponse they cause. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for peo­ple with di­a­betes or pre-di­a­betes or those who carry a lot of belly fat. Carbs in­clude starches like po­tato, rice, pap, bread, crack­ers and also veg­eta­bles such as but­ter­nut, peas, corn and beets. Carbs are also found in any­thing con­tain­ing sugar, like sauces, condi­ments, and fruits.

Caradas ad­vises: Iden­tify the sources of carbs in your diet and cut down or sub­sti­tute them. For ex­am­ple, have two in­stead of four slices of bread for break­fast. Snack on a yo­ghurt or some nuts in-be­tween meals so you don’t get hungry.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.