It’s no wonder if weight tends to rise in our current environment, says weight management doctor André Heikius.

- Never in the history of mankind has there been such an abundance of calories around us.

This change in the environment is the most dramatic change that has taken place in 40 years - our self-discipline is notoriously relaxed compared to the past, he notes.

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Heikius also serves as the Executive Director of the Finnish Obesity Doctors' Association and closely follows international research in the field.

Based on recent research, it can be said that the weight of Finns remains under control less than before.

- We used to be obese in the middle of the OECD figures, and now we have risen to the top.

The environment leads to overweight

The doctor describes modern life to create in an environment where it is constantly very easy to get extra calories.

- An obesity-producing or obesogenic environment leads a large proportion of people to be overweight.

Therefore, blaming the overweight is wrong both factually and morally.

At the individual level, weight development is also influenced by psychological and physiological background factors.

- Every person is different here.

For example, if you have gained 6 pounds in 4 years, the situations can be very different, and therefore it may be a good idea to get individual help and guidance from a professional.

Preventing obesity is easier than losing weight

If you are trying to gain weight, your doctor will recommend stopping the development sooner rather than later, as preventing obesity is easier than losing weight.

- A particular concern is that quite often this development now begins in childhood or adolescence, which studies show is strongly linked to overweight in adulthood.

If you start eating healthier, sleep better, or find a hobby where you exercise more, the health benefits begin immediately.Image: Colourbox

The first step is to stop and reflect on your own situation - what has happened in life that has increased weight and reduced endurance?

Heikius says that, for example, urgency and prioritizing other things at the expense of one's own well-being have a surprising effect on what and how to eat.

- When you start thinking about why you get too many calories during the day, it is very common that the problems of eating are caused by problems of managing time and resources.

Don’t focus on pounds but on well-being

Even if you don’t lose weight, that too is already a gain for health, so there will be no more overweight.

- When the weight no longer increases, it is immediately useful, Heikius says.

If you start eating healthier, sleeping better, or find a hobby where you exercise more, the health benefits begin immediately.

- You are already doing good for yourself, even if there is no change on the scale or waist.

In terms of weight, we should not focus on pounds, but on well-being, health and endurance.

- I'm a doctor weight loss - and it is for people to come to my office - sometimes I say to the patient that it is now just ignoring losing weight entirely, for example, for half a year and begin instead to practice new ways of life.

6 reasons why Finns' weight does not stay under control:

1. Too fast right in the morning

A quality breakfast would be important for weight management, but in many cases it is not prioritized or even completely missed when the rush to school and work starts right in the morning.

2. Lunch is of poor quality

It is typical that during a fast-paced work day, there is no time to listen to the hunger signals of the body.

- The work is done as if the automatic control is on, and then many things happen that, in terms of weight management, go wrong.

In a hurry, lunch can be something that is quickly grabbed by a small box, or telecommuting, haunting what we have time to do, says André Heikius.

Eating a weak start to the day makes hunger grow towards the evening.

“When you start thinking about why you get too many calories during the day, it is very common that the problems of eating are caused by problems of managing time and resources,” says weight management doctor André Heikius. Photo: Maria Grönroos

3. You get too many empty calories

There has been a shift in eating from decent main meals to snack-like snacks throughout the day, and stores have a wide selection of high-sugar and high-fat options suitable for this type of eating.

- In the current environment, it is very easy to get completely useless empty calories anywhere.

4. The hunger signals are mixed up

Being overweight is a challenging condition in that the ability to feel hungry increases with weight gain.

- As obesity increases, so do hunger receptors, increasing the need for higher doses and making it harder to resist.

The doctor says this is an important reason to follow a good meal rhythm.

Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that regulate hunger and satiety.

- They are favorably influenced by the rhythm of the meal and the content of the diet: the fact that there is not too much sugar and calories but that there is fiber and protein.

5. Sleep is short

Sleep and recovery directly affect hunger and mental activity.

- When tired, the hunger signals are louder and the temptations of the afternoon are harder to resist.

Many also recognize this phenomenon that exercise is more difficult - one should not go for a walk or gym.

6. You are the last person on the list

- If you find that everyday evenings are spent caring for the well-being of others - for example, you take children to hobbies and your own exercise is interrupted - consider whether you could give time to yourself as well as your family and employer, Heikius says.

He reminds that adults are also an example of healthy exercise for children.