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According to WHO a third of the world population is obese, obesity is caused by overeating, lack of physical activity, age factor, hereditary and sometimes malfunctioning of the endocrine glands causing excessive fat accumulation. Food is meant to generate energy in the body so as to enable each and every organ to discharge its individual functions. To avoid overeating one has be careful about portion control and eat at a fixed time. Each meal should have a combination of carbohydrate 50 to 60 % of total calories + protein 35 to 40% of total calories and fat 20 to 25% of total calories. Dietary fibre of 25 to 30 grams a day can obtained from whole grain, fruits and vegetables should also be taken in sufficient quantities as it imparts a sense of satiation and reduces the food intake.
Indian diets are usually high in carbohydrates leading to higher incidence of diabetes. This can be countered by increasing proteins in each meal along with fibre,which gives a controlled balance to sugar levels in the body. Use unsaturated vegetable oils like olive, rice bran, soyabean and sunflower oil to maintain and reduce cholesterol and maintain heart health along with Omega-3 from flax seed, nuts (almonds and walnuts) or fish oil supplements, including vegetable juices in your daily diet improves the antioxidant level and fibre in the body and helps in weight loss.
How to make meal plans customized to your BMR
Step 1 - Calculate your BMR
|Women's BMR||Men's BMR|
|+ (9.6* of your weight in kilos)||+ (13.7* your weight in kg)|
|+ (1.8*your height in cm)||+ (5*your height in cm)|
|- (4.7*your age in years)||- (6.8*your age in years)|
|= ___________ Calories per day||= ___________ Calories per day|
Step 2 - After calculating your BMR ,and to start weight loss cut 200 kcal from your BMR.
For example if your BMR is 1600 kcal choose a meal plan that is 200 kcal lower I.e is from 1200 to 1400 calorie meal plan.
The main meals should be three meals like your breakfast ,lunch and dinner and the in between meals should be like fruits ,veg juice ,dry fruits,dry bhel , roasted chana, a slice of cheese ,which are not very dense in calories and high in nutrients.
STEP 3 - Eat every two hours with three main meals and three small meals.
STEP 4 - Drink plenty of water through the day at least 8 to 10 glasses.
Exercise - Lack of physical activity means there is no energy output and this results in weight gain over the period of time because as we age our BMR reduces (basal metetabolic rate : that is total number of calories your body requires for normal body functions excluding any activity factor like exercise, BMR is the energy used for metabolic process of maintaining life itself and usually accounts for two thirds of total daily expenditure ). To maintain a healthy weight increasing the BMR is essential and this means increasing the muscle mass over the fat mass as 1 pound of muscle burns 6 calories at rest and 1 pound of fat just 2 calories. Increasing muscle mass can happen only through physical exercise and adequate protein in the diet thereby, increasing fibre and reducing fat in the diet.
Advantages of Physical Activity
- Helps to keep digestive system in optimum condition
- Improves cardiac rhythm and output
- Maintains flexibility of body
- Energies blood vessels and does not allow cholesterol deposits and improved heart health as it does not allow fat accumulation
- Improves peristaltic action of intestine and rectum and removes constipation
- Helps in improving insulin resistance in the body especially in PCOD and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Maintains the sugar levels in diabetic patients
Other Causes of Obesity
- Age factor: Obesity is generally prevalent in the middle age as the BMR reduces as a person ages especially if he or she does not exercise, but weight gain can be gender specific as women have more fat mass and the weight gain during pregnancy is common due to increase in fat in the diet, but in recent years there has been a rapid rise in obesity in children and teens due to over indulgence in junk and fast foods, which have high amounts of refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats. Heredity also plays an important role in fat accumulation. Children of obese parents do have high chances inheriting obesity from their parents as genetic factor could be a contributing factor rather than excessive food. In such cases physical activity plays a very important role for weight loss
- Untreated Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroid causes a drop in the BMR and increase in fat percentage and if untreated can cause weight gain, but once on medication they have improved metabolism.
- Drugs: Use of oral contraceptives, steroids, insulin and phenothiazines is generally followed by weight gain to stimulation of appetite.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is just empty calories and 1ml of alcohol gives 7 calories and this causes weight gain along with the fat laden food eaten while having alcohol, overeating is usually a consequence of drinking leading to weight gain and drinking coupled with smoking increases the lipid levels in the body affecting the heart health
- Fasting and Yo Yo Dieting: The process of losing weight and gaining weight several times throughout a life time is often characterised by increased fatness with each cycle (Krause food and nutrition therapy). Fasting is dropping calories to less than 600 to 800 over a period of time, which causes starvation and breakdown of muscle mass and lowering of BMR and once one gets back to normal diet there is sudden surge in weight which then gets difficult to rid off.
- Water: Incredible as it may seem water is a very important catalyst in weight loss,water suppress the appetite naturally and helps metabolise stored fat. Drinking water is best for fluid retention caused due to excessive intake of salt, the more water you take, more it dilutes the excess salt and reduces the fluid retention. Eight to twelve glasses of water in a day is the optimal intake.
- Stress: Stress is a another precipitating factor for weight gain which causes damage to the heart. Excessive stress causes an increase in cortisol and thereby, increase in fat percentage in the body and weight gain. An emotionally charged and highly strung nervous system can adversely affect the coronary arteries and deteriorate the heart. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
Eating right is the simple secret to living healthy. Mothers stress on the importance of eating healthy and at home you shirk off their advice. But deductions based on years of research studies are hard to turn one’s eyes away from. Eating the right food items affects a person’s overall health in more ways than he or she can think of. While you may bring changes to your diet in fifteen days’ time, certain things should always be a part of your daily food consumption.
Take a closer look at these superfoods you should be consuming regularly:-
Include nuts in your daily diet- The amazing revelation that having nuts can add a year or two more to your expected life span can actually attract your attention to its other benefits. Nuts are rightly known as storehouses of energy. Having a handful of nuts everyday can help improve your skin and hair health. It also purifies your body. Nuts have a high percentage of unsaturated fats and can therefore make you reap the benefits of a healthy cardiovascular system.
Oranges can keep you fit- Make it a point to eat citrus fruits on a daily basis. Oranges, particularly, can remedy a host of health issues. Eating one big orange each day can help you to have a taut and firm skin. Oranges are rich in vitamin C which leads to the production of collagen thus further strengthening your skin cells. An orange provides your skin with antioxidants that prevent free- radicals from causing harm to your cells. Vitamin C also leads to the production of antibodies and white blood cells which are necessary for defending your body against diseases.
Fresh green vegetables must be befriended- Green leafy vegetables should be an inevitable component of your daily meals. May it be spinach or kale, eating them in monitored proportions every single day can fulfill your need for vitamins K, C and A. Green vegetables are bountiful in other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron too.
Some yogurt is great for active metabolism- There are many people who lack in calcium and are also allergic to milk. Women usually need more calcium as and when they age; yogurt can be a great substitute for milk in these cases. That aside, yogurt is known to contain helpful bacteria that defends your body from intestinal problems. It helps in digestion and is capable of increasing your metabolic activity.
Raise a toast to tea and enjoy good health- You must be aware of the vast number of plus points drinking green tea has. Tea is known to be useful for your health because of its high content of flavonoids. Tea can aid a person in fighting off diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other routine problems like weak gums. You may have different kinds of tea but preparing the drink freshly is always more effective.
While you may be controlling your portions and ensuring that your meals are healthy, the snacks in between the big meals may still be causing your body harm. The packets of chips that you may open will not only add calories but other harmful chemicals as well.
There are other healthier options out there which you can use to replace it and still satisfy your cravings:
- Kurmura or puffed rice: A staple snack in many parts of India, kurmura comes in many varieties and mixtures that are quite popular. Some examples are jhalmuri, bhelpuri and others. While mixing it with other things, such as farsan, nuts and chana are good, excessive use of oil or sweet spices may increase its calorific value. Thus refrain from these additions.
- Khakra: A great Indian snack that comes from Gujarat, this is a form of flatbread, which can be consumed on its own or with chutneys. This is very low in fats and oil and is one of the tastiest snack alternatives around.
- Masala corn: Corn is considered to be a very healthy and nutritious snack on its own. However, you can add various types of masala or have a roast corn cob with salt and lime dressing, which is an already favoured snack all over India.
- Nuts: Assorted nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, pistachios can be a very filling snack without the need for large quantities of it. However, don't consume too much of it as certain varieties do contain considerable amounts of fat and thus moderation is the key here.
- Soya sticks: A new entrant into the Indian market, soya sticks are baked and then laced with spices. Soya tends to have protein while not much fat and thus it can be a healthy as well as a tasty snack. Soya sticks are usually laced with various kinds of masala.
- Chickpeas or chana: This is another snack, which can come in many forms such as roasted, boiled or even as a paste in the form of hummus. It contains a lot of protein, but very little fat. Chickpeas can be had either on their own or mixed with nuts or other forms of mixture.
- Baked snacks: Various forms of snacks, which are baked instead of fried can be a good alternative as well. Baked versions of potato chips and other snacks are increasingly available in stores across India.
Along with these foods, one should also go for regular full body check up, in order to know how healthy they are.