Staying independent

Eating for good health

"I need some advice on how to eat well and manage my weight."

Controlling your weight

It’s important to keep an eye on your weight, as weighing too much or weighing too little can increase your risk of several health conditions.

Checking your weight

The easiest way to check your weight is at home. There are many budget friendly bathroom scales available to purchase in high street shops or online.

If you don’t have your own scales, you’ll be able to weigh yourself at your doctor's surgery. Boots Pharmacies often have scales available in store for you to use too.

For a more in-depth look at your weight, members of East Riding Leisure can book an appointment to use a Boditrax machine. This does a full body scan and weighs each part of your body. Learn more on our East Riding Leisure website.

BMI calculator

Knowing your body mass index (BMI) is an important step to understanding if you are a healthy weight. Some scales do this automatically for you, or you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator on the NHS website.

If you are overweight

If you’re overweight or obese, it can increase your risk of developing a whole range of health problems. These include conditions, such as:

  • coronary heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoarthritis
  • some types of cancer
  • liver disease
  • asthma
  • sleep apnoea
  • fertility problems.

Generally you put weight on when you regularly eat and drink more calories than you burn through normal bodily functions and physical activity. Some health conditions can also cause weight gain.

Where to start

The two best ways to manage your weight are to:

  • Cut down on how much you eat and drink - even little changes can make a big difference.

Read 12 tips to help you lose weight on the NHS website.

  • Be more active - try to do a little something every day. Start small - every little helps and you'll gradually notice an increase in your energy and fitness.

Read more about exercise on the NHS website or for more ideas on how to get active visit the Better Health website.

Live Well programme

If your BMI is 45.0 or more and you have an East Riding GP, ask your doctor to refer you to our Live Well programme. This is a 26-week programme that helps you to develop a healthier lifestyle. Find out more about the Live Well programme on our East Riding Leisure website.

For more information and tips on losing weight visit the Better Health NHS website.

If you are underweight

If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough because, for example, you have little or no appetite or have difficulty chewing or swallowing, you might find yourself feeling tired, depressed and low on energy. This is because you’re lacking essential vitamins and minerals.

You could also experience health issues, such as:

  • osteoporosis
  • poor muscle strength
  • reduced immune function – so you're more likely to get infections
  • increased risk of heart problems
  • fertility problems.

Keeping to a healthy weight will reduce your chance of developing these health problems. Here are some tips if you only feel like eating a little:

  • make sure the food you do eat is nourishing
  • avoid foods that are high in saturated fat or sugars as this will fill you up quicker
  • switch to foods with higher calories, such as milky puddings or cheesy main courses
  • try not to fill yourself up on drinks before or during meals
  • if you smoke it can suppress your appetite - try not to smoke at least half hour before a meal
  • fresh air can help build an appetite, take a short walk outside before a meal, or open the window where you are eating
  • eat small quantities more often - plan more meals or snacks throughout the day
  • keep track of what you are eating with a food diary

You can find out more about keeping your weight up in later life on the NHS website.

Talk to your doctor

If you are experiencing a sudden change of appetite, it is important that you speak to your doctor. This is because it can be a symptom of a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, or another illness.