Well For Life

Well For Life

Being overweight can increase your risk for disease

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of cancer, but did you know that being obese or overweight is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK.   Being overweight doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely develop cancer. But if you are overweight you are more likely to get cancer than if you are a healthy weight.  This is true for many cancers including breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women.


Why being overweight increases our risk of cancer and other diseases:


  • Body fat produces excess hormones such as oestrogen. Excess oestrogen can increase the risk of some cancers, like breast and womb cancer, and promote their growth.
  • Storing too much fat can cause insulin resistance (where insulin becomes less effective at controlling blood sugar levels), which encourages the body to produce growth hormones. High levels of these hormones can promote the growth of cancer cells.
  • Body fat also stimulates an inflammatory response. Inflammation can promote the growth of cancer by encouraging cancer cells to divide.
  • Obesity creates an environment that is welcoming to cancer growth.


Waist measurement is a good indicator of overall body fatness, which is linked to a greater risk of cancer.  A healthy range for women is less than 80cm or 31.5 inches.  Checking your BMI (body mass index) is another way to see if you are in the healthy weight range. It is very important to take into account a person’s age and body structure when calculating their BMI.

Overall, it is important to understand that gaining weight even if you are in the healthy range can increase your cancer risk.


If your goal is to lose weight


Healthy Eating Program

Following a healthy eating program rather than a low-calorie diet is so important. Low-calorie diets may work for a short period of time but they will slow down your metabolism. You could end up putting all the weight back and more.

Low Carbohydrate diet that is mostly plant-based

Micronutrient deficiencies will tend to induce a strong appetite for food, as your body tries to get you to obtain more nutrition. Follow a low carbohydrate diet that is mostly plant-based.  It is nutritiously dense, high in fiber, rich in healthy fats which will encourage weight loss if required.

Combining exercise with a healthy diet

Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone. It can increase metabolism, or how many calories you burn in a day. It can also help you maintain and increase lean body mass, which also helps increase the number of calories you burn each day. Some great choices for burning calories include walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, weight training, interval training, yoga, and pilates.  High-intensity interval training is a very efficient way to exercise and may help you burn more calories than you would with other forms of exercise. (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. The most important thing is to find an exercise routine that you enjoy, it will be easier to keep it up.

Hydrate the body

Many people can often mistake hunger for dehydration. Create a habit of drinking water or herbal tea 30 minutes before you sit down to eat. This will ensure that you don’t overeat.

Reduce Stress

Address lifestyle changes that will help reduce stress in your life.  Cortisol is our stress hormone that promotes fat storage specifically around the belly.  Incorporate de-stressing activities into your daily routine that helps to reduce stress: exercise, gardening, meditating, listen to music. listening to music.


Sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health. When you don’t get enough sleep, the body is running on low energy and you can choose comfort foods that are high in fats and sugar to give a very short-term energy boost.  Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep.


Find a new lifestyle routine that you enjoy. You may need to invest in a personal trainer or health coach even for a short period.  They will hold you accountable and remind you of your health goal when you’re feeling less motivated.