Having and maintaining a healthy weight and undertaking exercise is vital for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This can be a challenge for some. Here in Torbay we offer services suited to you to support your goals in a range of ways. Maintaining a healthy weight is about keeping the right balance between the energy that you put into your body (food) and the energy you burn through exercise or physical activity. It’s important to try to eat the right number of calories for how active you are in order to balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much you’ll put on weight - eat too little and you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day, and the average woman needs 2,000. Most adults are eating more calories than they need. However, you don't always have to spend hours at the gym and go on a strict diet. In fact, you can get to a healthy weight by making a few small and long-lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle. There are some great sources of advice online, some innovative local projects and a team of professionals and health trainers who can support you.
There is lots of information, advice and guidance to help support you with your weight loss and exercise goals:
- The Eatwell Guide Opens in a new window is a great visual aid that shows the different types of food to eat and in what proportions.
- OneYou Opens in a new window is a useful source with sections on drinking, eating and moving (exercise) as well as fun and easy to use Apps for healthy meals and becoming more physically active.
- Change4Life Opens in a new window has recipes for healthy low cost meals and tips to help you and your children adopt a healthy diet. Change4Life also provide a new ‘Be Food Smart’ App that will help you to see how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is actually inside your food and drink and provide you with ideas about how to cut down through menu ideas and clever ‘food swaps.’
- NHS Choices Opens in a new window is also an excellent source of information - the ‘Live Well Guide Opens in a new window’ contains further pages on losing weight, healthy eating and improving fitness through exercise or physical activity. NHS Choices also provides and online BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator which is included below. Alternately you can have your height and weight measured at your local GP surgery, the results of which are then used to calculate your BMI. Your GP will aslo be able to advise you regarding having and maintaining a healthy weight as well as improving and maintaining your levels of physical activity.
The British Heart Foundation Opens in a new window offers advice on how to eat well to protect your heart and the British Nutrition Foundation Opens in a new window gives information on a healthy diet and tips on putting this into practice
If you want support with weight loss and adopting a healthy lifestyle contact the Healthy Lifestyles Team Opens in a new window.
Read the healthy weight strategy to find out how we aim to halt the rising trend of obesity in Torbay.
Eating well - the road to having and maintaining a healthy weight
It's all too easy to consume more saturated fat, salt and sugar than you realise when you're not cooking your own meal. If you're eating out at a restaurant, café or takeaway there are ways you can make sure your meal is healthy and balanced.
- Choose dishes made from fresh ingredients and avoid processed food
- Opt for smaller portion sizes, and avoid "large" or "super-size" options
- If you can’t tell how a dish is cooked, you can always ask; choose dishes that have been grilled, poached or steamed
Look at the Label
Pre-packaged products often have a nutrition information panel on the label so you can check how much fat, salt and sugar they contain. Look at the NHS Choicesto food labels for details of what to look for.
- Tomato-based sauces instead of ones based on cream and cheese
- Steamed or boiled rice instead of fried
- Dishes made with wholegrain or brown starchy ingredients such as rice, pasta or bread
- Potatoes that are baked or boiled without added salt, butter or oil instead of chips or creamy mashed potatoes
- Extra vegetables or undressed salad on the side
- Fruit-based desserts and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurts instead of cakes, chocolate or creamy puddings, biscuits, sweets and ice cream
- A glass of water instead of alcohol or a fizzy drink. Remember, even unsweetened fruit juice contains free sugar, so try to drink no more than one glass (150ml) each day. It's best to drink it with a meal, as this can reduce the impact it has on your teeth. Try diluting it with water to cut the sugar content.
Takeaways can be cheap, convenient and satisfying but they're not always very healthy, sometimes containing high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat. Some outlets now list calories on their menus but when they don’t there are other ways you can pick the healthier option:
Fish and chips
- A portion of baked beans or garden peas to get one of your five-a-day
- A smaller portion of fish, chips or both, and thick cut chips as these absorb less fat than skinny fries
- Grilled fish or fish coated in breadcrumbs
- Options that are high in fat and salt, such as processed pies and sausages
- Adding extra salt to your chips
- Lower-fat pizza toppings such as vegetables
- A tomato-based pasta dish
- Large deep-pan pizzas or pizzas with the crust stuffed with cheese
- Creamy pasta sauces and garlic
- Steamed dishes such as dumplings or fish
- Stir-fried meals which include vegetables
- Boiled or steamed rice over egg-fried rice
- Battered or deep fried dishes such as prawn toast, spring rolls and prawn crackers
- Sweet and sour meals
- Stir-fried or steamed dishes containing chicken, fish or vegetables
- Clear soups such as tom yum and salads
- Curries based on coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat. If you choose a curry, have it with steamed rice instead of egg fried rice
- Satay skewers with peanut sauce
- Vegetables and lentil side dishes, such as daal
- Tomato-based curries such as tandoori and madras
- Plain rice or chapatti
- Cream-based curries such as korma
- Deep fried items such as bhajis and papadoms
Kebabs and burgers
- Grilled shish kebab with plain pitta and salad
- Grilled burgers made from lean meat or chicken
- Large portion sizes and adding chips as a side
- Burgers which are fried and extra toppings such as cheese, bacon or mayonnaise
- Doner kebabs
Physical activity includes all forms of bodily movement which raise heart rate and so help to improve mental and physical wellbeing. This therefore includes sport, more structured and organised exercise such as dancing, swimming and active recreation (e.g. attending at gym) as well as everyday activities like housework, gardening or walking/cycling as a mode of transport.
Torbay is the perfect place to get active with plenty of parks, beaches, leisure centres and miles of seafront to take advantage of. Just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can make a big difference to your well being. Getting active is good for your overall health, and a great way to keep your weight down, reduce stress levels and improve sleep. It can also be an excellent way to get out, meet new people and discover more about the Bay.
How much physical activity should I do each week?
Being active can benefit us all, whatever our age. The amount of activity you need to do each week does depend on your age. Check the NHS Choicesto find out how much exercise you and your children should be doing and tips on building this into your lifestyle: .
Where should I go for ideas and inspiration?