Obesity is a common medical condition that is defined by having a high percentage of body fat which increases the risk of health problems. According to a study, more than 135 million Indians are affected by obesity. With the increased availability of processed food, fast food and reduced levels of physical activity as we modernize our lifestyles, we’re eating more calories than we burn. Preventing obesity is very important as it can cause a whole bunch of problems like heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, high blood pressure and even certain cancers.
One way to determine if you’re overweight or obese is to find out your Body Mass Index (BMI) – divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters(kg/m2).
For adults, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese. If your excess weight is mainly around your waist it may increase health risks even more than having fat in other parts of your body. Increased physical activity and changes in your diet and lifestyle can help prevent obesity and the development of obesity-related diseases.
In order to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories and substitute less healthy food with foods lower in calories, fat,and sugar.
1. Exercise daily: Exercise for 45-60 minutes daily whether it is brisk walking, running, swimming, biking or dancing. If you’re not used to it, start out with 30 minutes of exercise and slowly increase the duration every day.
2. Keep a food journal and count calories: Studies show that counting calories and keeping an account of everything you eat can help you lose weight.
3. Whole grain foods: They’re a major source of important nutrients and provide energy.
4. Avoid bad fats: Stay away from saturated fats and trans fats which raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meat, poultry skin, eggs and high-fat dairy whereas trans fats are found in fast foods, cookies, fried foods, snacks and other packaged food. It is best to check the labels of any packaged food being consumed to see if they contain trans fats and when buying meat, choose lean, low fat cuts.
5. Cut back on added sugar: Artificially sweetened drinks, juices, desserts, biscuits, etc have a lot of added sugar in them. Excess consumption of sugar is strongly associated with obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This doesn’t refer to the added refined sugar in your everyday tea or coffee.
6. Eat more vegetables and fruits: Eating fruits and veggies as snacks between meals is a great option. They contain few calories and provide fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
7. Eat more protein: Consuming more protein is very important for losing weight. It keeps you full for longer thereby curbing your cravings. Whey protein, especially, is known to have tremendous benefits for overweight and obese adults. It contains all the essential amino acids and has been shown to reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass. Many studies have even found that whey protein does a better job at reducing hunger compared to other types of protein.
Medical Nutrition therapy has now emerged as a tailored nutrition plan to better control OBESITY. Your doctor can help you with a detailed MNT plan.