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How to maintain a healthy weight

April 2011

Unfortunately there's no big reveal here, because there isn't a quick fix when it comes to maintaining a health weight: it comes down to lifestyle. 

The two factors that have the biggest influence on your weight are diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is about getting the balance right between what you eat and how physically active you are.

So what is a healthy weight?

Research shows that a waistline of over 100 cm for men and 85 cm for women significantly increases the risk of some types of cancer, including cancers of the bowel, breast and oesophagus.

Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Cut out the candy and ban the can, try to remove high sugar, high fat foods such as confectionery, chips, junk food, soda and sports drinks.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks: Aside from the strong evidence proving a causal link between alcohol and cancer, they are also high in calories. If you need any convincing, check out this UK widget that converts drinks into their calorie equivalent in junk food.
  • Choose non-fat or reduced-fat milk and dairy products. This crops up regularly as a dieters tip, making small changes such as switching to skim milk. Small changes add up and you can easily cut down on your fat intake by choosing non, or reduced-fat milk instead.
  • Choose fish, poultry or vegetarian options instead of red meat for some meals. Research suggests that eating red meat and, in particular, processed meat, may increase the risk of bowel cancer. But fish, poultry and vegetables are great options because they're low in fat and full of vitamins and minerals.
  • If your weight is increasing you may need to reduce the amount of food you are putting on your plate. Do you know how much protein you should be eating a day and how many carbohydrates? If you aren't certain have a look at the Australian healthy eating guidelines.
  • Be active every day - aim for 30 minutes of vigorous, or 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Short on time? Try cycling to work instead of taking the train and walking to the shops rather than driving your car.
  • We all spend far more time than recommended in front of a screen, whether it's a computer, television, games console, or mobile phone screen. Reduce your sedentary behaviour by limiting the time you spend sitting down in front of a screen.

Maintaining a healthy weight isn't easy, but if you make these changes a part of your daily routine they will soon become a lifestyle. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the single biggest way you can cut your cancer risk, plus you'll look and feel great too!

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