Obesity is often ignored as excess weight issue. However the fact is that there is much more to this simple word. The modern lifestyle is seeing an increase in the number of obese population. If the obesity issue is not handled on time, it can lead to health issues and can deter the quality of life.
To understand more about obesity and tackle the common issues faced by the majority of people , team Inayo spoke to a well-known Registered Dietician, Natalia Pereira. Natalie is practicing Clinical Nutrition at Sir H N Reliance Hospital and Research Centre and a Life- Member: Indian Dietetic Association.
1) Why are majority of people obese?
An Individual with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 – 24.9 kg/m2 is considered as Overweight and BMI more than 25 kg/m2 is considered as Obese. (As per the new BMI cutoffs for Indians)
The characteristic feature of obesity is excessive body fat. Three factors play a very important role in managing clinical viz
- Environmental factors
When people turn obese the first thing that they usually start working on is diet, falling prey to faulty dietary practices. It is important to understand that food is NOT the only cause that you need to tackle. Following unhealthy meal practices, sedentary lifestyle pattern, feasting and fasting practices are some of the listed causes for increased risk of obesity.
2) How can people with long working hours take care of their diet and lifestyle?
Yes it is not an easy task to continue following healthy dietary practices and ensure that you are adequately active.
Following tips can be included daily:
- 6 meal pattern – Eat 3 major meals (breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner) and 3 snacking items which can include some nuts, fruits, soups, light snack etc.
- 30 minutes of physical activity – includes brisk walking (one can walk the way to office if the distance is short), taking the stairs instead of a lift, forming health groups at work so that during office brea
k as team you engage in some kind of activity.
- Carry a home-made meal. If that is not possible always choose the Indian thali at work place, avoid snacking on deep fried puris and Pakodas.
- Avoid skipping meals and long break. Balance between work and eating schedule is important. (Remember always that if you stay hungry you will eat more the next time you eat).
3) What are the wrong food habits that lead to obesity?
Often in the search for healthy food we makewrong food choices. People fall prey to marketing gimmicks. It is important to read food labels. Checking minor things like the total fat content per serving, amount of added sugars, etc will ensure that you make the right food choice.
Another most practiced wrong food habit is fasting and feasting. If there is a huge party in the evening people starve the full day so they can gorge on food in the evening and not feel guilty of over-eating.
4) Can diet be an option to exercise to maintain or lose weight?
No. Diet and Exercise are 2 wheels of the bicycle (Weight management).
You can’t drive with one. Both the factors need to work hand – in – hand. Dieting while following a sedentary lifestyle will not handle the issue. It is important to follow a lifestyle where you can add any exercise or sport or any activity to your day to day schedule. It will not only help you maintain weight but will also keep you happy and more active.
5) Foods to eat and foods to avoid for obesity?
Being a Nutritionist I don’t like to give a Do and Don’t list. Like a child the person who is obese/ overweight will always do things that are told to avoid. The food pyramid is the best way to segregate the different food groups and the amount of food that can be consumed. Maintaining portion control and frequency is the key to lose weight.
- Water- Drink plenty of water
- Whole grains & pulses – Eat in majority
- Fruits and vegetables – Strike a balance to ensure you get the required micronutrients.
- Milk, Milk products, Poultry, sea food (fish) & Lean Meat- Eat a good amount to ensure the required protein needs are met.
- Fats, sugars & Oils- Eat in moderation
6) How good are supplements that promise weight loss?
Dietary supplements promoted for weight loss come in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, powders, and bars. These products claim that they reduce macronutrient absorption, appetite, body fat, and weight and increase metabolism and thermogenesis.
Many weight-loss supplements are costly, and some of these product ingredients can interact or interfere with certain medications. Many have their own benefits and risks, hence it is very important to consult a health care professional before using any of them especially in people with other co-morbidities.
7) What are the common mistakes that obese people make or that leads to obesity?
- Engage in faulty eating practices – fasting, fad diets, unhealthy weight loss practices.
- Feasting and Fasting
- Buying food without reading food labels
- Obtain insufficient data online and start experimenting on their dietary habits
- Following a diet plan that is planned for your friend or relative
8) Food habits that people should inculcate to lead a healthy life?
- Inculcate a healthy eating habit
- Be physically active.
- Be educated about the body and how to nourish it appropriately
- Engage in a support group activity and set realistic weight management goals
Being healthy cannot be a temporary. It needs to be your lifestyle. If you are obese, there is no need to lose heart. Commitment and dedication towards your goal to lose weight can help you achieve your target weight.
Ask an Expert is a new blog series by Inayo. We will be posting the interviews of renowned professionals on Health issues and diseases.
Have a question for the expert? Comment your questions below and our expert will answer them in our next article on Diet issues. Stay Healthy! Stay Happy!
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