Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Ounce of Prevention | It’s not too late to get in shape

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 12:00 AMDr Horace Vendyres

The World Health Organization says that for the first time in the history of mankind, there are more overweight than underweight people on Earth.

Most of us know that there is a multitude of health problems associated with excess body fat. Health authorities everywhere are urging people to get to their ideal body weight. But your body shape and body composition are actually more important than your body weight.

Each individual has his or her own unique shape. But there is one area where excess fat is a medical disaster. Fat around the waist and upper body is called truncal fat, and it increases your risk of a long list of deadly disorders: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, circulatory disorders, stroke, high cholesterol and tryglycerides, fatty liver disease, gall bladder problems and even certain cancers like breast cancer. Double chins and rolls of fat at the back of the neck are also unhealthy signs.

Your scales can be misleading. Even the popular measurement -the Body Mass Index (BMI) -is unreliable. One study revealed that more than 60 per cent of men with a normal BMI had truncal obesity when their bodies were scanned using MRI technology. This is typical of the seemingly slim man (or woman) with the big belly.

Use your tape measure. Men with a waist measurement greater than 39 inches, and women whose waistlines are more than 34 inches have a whopping 500 per cent increased risk of many of the problems listed above. Our ladies (and men) will be relieved to know that fat on the hips and buttocks is not considered medically harmful. As my Ounce of Prevention song declares, it is "the fat around your waist will shorten your life in a haste".


Body composition


Your body composition is also of more importance that your body weight. In other words, the ratio of fatty tissue to lean mass (muscles, organs, and bones) is critical. The key measurements when evaluating your body composition are your percentage body fat and your lean body mass. Some people may be even underweight but overfat.

Simple devices are available to do these measurements. They use a process called bio-impedance by which a tiny electrical signal is passed through the body to analyse its composition. A computer readout of your body fat percentage, truncal fat, lean body mass, and even an estimate of your biological age is provided. The test is safe, easy, inexpensive, and readily available from many wellness practitioners and coaches.

Here are some simple guidelines on how you can change not just your weight, but more important, your body shape and composition:


Personalise your programme


Because each body is unique with regard to lean body mass, body fat percentage and metabolism, you can optimise your weight loss programme by having these measurements done. A trained wellness coach can use these factors to create the ideal fat-loss programme for you.


Power up with protein


Your lean body mass (your non-fat weight) will tell you how much protein you should eat each day to change your shape and weight while feeling great and satisfied.

Protein meal replacement shakes make it easy for you to personalise your protein intake. Dozens of medical reports have been published that demonstrate that meal replacement shakes are extremely safe and effective for weight and fat loss. Shakes are key ingredients of the Cellular Nutrition Programme I use for fat loss and weight management. Fish, lean organic poultry and eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts are other healthy protein foods.


Promote fruit and vegetables


Medical research continues to demonstrate that plants, especially fruit and vegetables contain a large number of powerful health-enhancing substances. Indeed, fruit and vegetables, along with adequate healthy protein are key to healthy fat loss. For optimal health, men should eat nine or more, and women, more than seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day.


Plan your lifestyle


Do not focus on just a quick fix. It is also essential to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices into the programme.

Exercise stimulates your metabolism to burn up stored fat along with providing many other physical and mental benefits. Start your exercise plan slowly, aiming to get up to 30 to 60 minutes, four or more times per week.

Manage stress by first recognising that stress is not the things and circumstances around you, but rather how you choose to react to them. Stress is what is happening inside you. Many self-help stress management tools are readily available like my CD - A Time to Relax. I highly recommend yoga as it wonderfully combines exercise and stress relief.

Our weight-loss coaches are available all over the island and the world to provide all the necessary information, products, and follow-up you need to lose that excess fat.

- You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Visit for details on his books and articles.