Obesity is defined as a disease involving the accumulation of excessive fat in the body. An obese person is one who has a BMI greater than 30. Though most people worry about it in terms of how they appear, obesity can have far reaching effects on one’s health- hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, cardiac events- to name a few.
Though obesity is more prevalent now (statistics show it has more than tripled in the past four decades), people have become more health conscious too…from changing their life styles and food habits, to exercising, most people want to be healthy and safe from obesity.
Some queries that people usually have:
In spite of being obese, there aren’t any co morbid diseases…Does it make you safe?
NO! Being obese pre-disposes you to diseases like diabetes and hypertension. It is safer to have regular consultations with your doctor, especially as some of these conditions are silent.
Is having a pot belly dangerous?
YES! Pot belly is due to excess accumulation of fat around your abdomen. This fat is of 2 types: Subcutaneous (under your skin) and Visceral (around your internal organs). This fat is a risk factor for developing diseases like diabetes, unlike fat around your buttocks or thighs. If you have a potbelly, regular health checkups are advisable.
Attempt to loose around 5% of your body weight and see if your belly reduces. Generally, the proportion of abdominal fat one loses is more than that in other areas.
Did losing weight leave you looking and feeling flabby?
Weight gain results in the stretching of skin, to accommodate for the extra fat. When you lose weight suddenly or drastically, or if the obesity is of long standing, there is loss of elastin and collagen in the skin. As a result, the skin does not go back to its trim shape, as before.
Another reason is that when older people lose weight in a sudden manner, they not only lose fat, but muscle mass too…in the long run; this can be harmful, as it reduces your BMR, as well as weakening your physique, causing mobility problems. Try including high protein in your food, about 25 to 30 grams, in every meal. This helps build muscles.
What is good gut health?
Our Gut is host to a wide variety of bacteria, some of which are bad for our health, but most of which help our gut in its functioning. Having a healthy count of these good bacteria means you have good gut health. This helps in enhancing the immunity, reduces obesity and helps in other functions too.
Though there is no way of checking if one has a good gut health, you can consciously maintain one by having a high fiber diet, avoiding packaged, refined food and maintain a healthy body weight.
How does one consistently manage a diet program? Can will alone help in adhering to one?
NO! Often, in spite of our best intentions, maintaining a healthy diet is difficult. Research shows that willpower alone cannot help in sustaining one…even people practicing will power exercises have trouble doing so. Brainpower, that is, thinking about and planning your meals in advance, helps. Avoid storing junk food at home. Eat consciously, small meals at a time. Enjoy your food, eat slowly, and chew properly. If you’re visiting a restaurant, pre decide what you will eat.
Research does show that getting older helps. As a person grows older, the ability to adhere to a diet and avoid binging increases.
Are you indulging in too much sugar?
YES, most likely, you are. In addition to the sugar one consciously partakes, a lot of the food we have contains hidden sugar. Packaged food, the various sauces we add to our meals, breads- they all contain added sugar to an extent. Try avoiding these foods, concentrating, instead, on natural sugars found in fruits. Also add lentils and beans to your diet, as they are found to be very low in sugar content.
How can we control those late night cravings?
Most people have indulged in late night cravings at some point or the other…but if it becomes a habit, it can interfere with your diet. Research has suggested that a cup of decaf / green / black tea taken in the evening helps. Nutritionists suggest that UMAMI (a savory flavor), causes a person to feel satiety, and reduces the craving for food. Tea has a component (L-Theanine), which can deliver the same kick as Umami. It also helps a person sleep better.
Have patience. Weight loss achieved over a period of time is easier to maintain than drastic, sudden loss of weight. Be vigilant; observe your body for signs of any co morbidities. Pay a little more attention to what you eat- choose healthy food. Although, occasionally indulging in a cheat day is ok. Most importantly, be comfortable in your skin. It goes a long way towards motivating you to maintaining healthy weight.