When we think of weight gain, a few different things most commonly come to mind. For many, it's the obvious physical changes such as whether your clothes still fit or that you're finding it harder to do day-to-day activities.
Thinking long-term, you might consider the increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes that comes from being overweight or obese. But we often overlook the risk of cancer.
British scientists have recently looked at data from 300,000 Americans, monitored for more than 15 years. They found that both men and women whose body mass index rose from a healthy level to an overweight or obese level over those years had a significantly increased risk of various cancers, including breast and bowel, compared to those who remained at a healthy weight.
This kind of finding is not surprising: there's a lot of research linking excess body weight to an increased risk of cancer. It doesn't show that simply being overweight causes cancer - it may well be that certain lifestyle choices that lead to a gradual 15-year weight gain are the cause. What it does indicate though is that, for most of us, losing and gaining health is a gradual process.
While the "six-week body transformations" and "five-day juice fasts" make for great headlines, they don't address the true basis of health: small, simple choices made daily add up to lifelong healthy habits.
So begin looking for simple ways you can pack more plant foods into each meal, as well as ideas to incorporate activity and adequate sleep into your daily life, to start your sustainable journey to health.
- Originally published in the Adventist Record