Let’s become aware of the fact that obesity is not only a cosmetic issue but is far more dangerous. It is the leading cause of hospitalizations and death the world over.
The visceral fat, which gets deposited around our vital organs, is rarely visible and hence poses a graver threat. A healthy-looking person may also be having lots of visceral fat hidden inside his body. To tackle this massive problem of obesity, we have been in a perpetual search for the solution. Nowadays, most scientists and doctors agree that Diet and Lifestyle change is the leading solution for this problem. Changing our diet and lifestyle is totally within our hands.
How should we achieve this?
Through Self-discipline and a concerted effort, we can achieve this goal. The required diet and lifestyle changes include,
Regular Exercise :
Physical activity plays an immensely important role in the control of obesity. Exercise, household work, walking, running, climbing stairs is a must for burning calories that we consume through the food we eat.
Exercises like walking, running or climbing stairs (Cardio-exercises) increase blood circulation throughout our body. It increases our metabolism and helps in burning fat. In addition to this, heavy bodybuilding exercises like weight training burn the excess fat and replace it with muscle mass. It helps in reducing the subcutaneous or somatic fat.
Does this mean that exercise is the only solution to lose weight or prevent gaining weight? Most definitely not!
Exercise is crucial for healthy living, but we should understand that All the calories we consume are not utilized and burnt at equal speed.
The excess amount of fructose, vegetable oil, trans fats, etc. that we eat from food gets converted directly into fats. It gets accumulated inside our abdomen and around internal organs. It is called as belly fat/visceral fat. It is tough to burn and use up by exercise alone. We need a proper change in our diet and lifestyle to ensure that we do not accumulate more of this fat in our body.
Thus; Diet and lifestyle changes are necessary as an adjuvant to the exercise for a healthy life.
Now let’s see what kind of diet and lifestyle changes are required to prevent obesity.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes:
Some Do’s and Don’ts, about Diet and Lifestyle changes:
- Avoid processed food or junk food as this food contains lots of fructose, vegetable oil, preservatives, salt and trans-fats. And all these ingredients are responsible for the accumulation of visceral fat.
- Avoid Sugary/sweetened beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks. They contain lots of sugar in the form of fructose which can cause accelerated weight gain.
- Do not keep or eat hot food/liquids from plastic containers to prevent seeping of Bisphenol-A (synthetic oestrogen) from the plastic container into food. Being an Endocrine Disruptor Chemical, this Bisphenol-A can lead to obesity.
- Do not eat foods rich in soya bean such as soya bean flour, soya paneer (tofu). Soya milk etc. Soya bean is a phytoestrogen that can lead to obesity.
- Avoid deep-fried food like Potato Wada, french fries, samosa and also reduce the use of vegetable oil in home-cooked food to the minimum. Vegetable oil has a very high quantity of Omega-6 fatty compared to Omega-3. Excess of Omega-6 without sufficient Omega-3 is harmful and cause obesity.
- Avoid self-medication; Many over the counter medications such as Antibiotics can kill the helpful bacteria in the large intestine. The absence of such bacteria leads to rapid weight gain
- Avoid sedentary lifestyle: prolonged sitting at one place slows down the metabolism, and it becomes difficult to burn the fat accumulated in the body.
- Excess sleep or too less sleep are both also harmful for the body and play an essential role in weight gain.
- Live an Active lifestyle. Do regular exercise, take a daily walk. It improves our metabolism and helps in burning more calories and fats.
- Instead of junk food increase intake of fruits and vegetables in your meals. It is a low-density food, which contributes very little into body fat accumulation and also provides proper hydration to the body.
- Eat foods rich in fibre such as Green leafy vegetables, banana, cucumber, carrot, broccoli etc.
- Time your meal: Do not eat your food in a hurry. The brain requires at least 20 mins to realize the feeling of satiety. Rapid eating makes a person to overeat due to lack of satiety. Always prefer and eat home-cooked food over ready to eat foods stuff or processed foods.
- Replace regular sugar [Sucrose] with dextrose. Dextrose does not contain fructose; hence the calories that the body gets from dextrose can be easily burnt.
- Eat high protein food like Beans, Lentils, chicken, fish, eggs in more quantity compared to high carbohydrate or high-fat foods like Ghee, sweets (including those made in dextrose), corn, rice, wheat, cream etc.
- Try to replace fried food with its roasted or baked versions, e.g. Baked Wada/ baked Samosa, roasted fish instead of fish fry.
- Include more amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. If required, try to use cooking oils with a higher amount of omega-3 compared to omega-6 fatty acids.
- Take a regular walk in the morning sunlight to improve the vitamin D levels. Sufficient amount of vitamin-D is necessary for healthy bones as well as for weight loss and many other vital processes within the body.
- Increase Probiotic intake in the diet, e.g. curd, Yoghurt, Kimchi as it increases the number of good bacteria in our intestine. Good bacteria protect us from getting obese.
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating to remove pesticides sprayed on them. Pesticides act as Obesogens as they create hormonal imbalance in the body.
- Take adequate sleep during night time. At least 6 hours of sleep every day is necessary.
- Use Paper cups or stainless steel containers for hot food/liquids. And replace plastic utensils with glass for microwave cooking.
- Eat food slowly and chew it thoroughly as this helps in digestion as well as prevents weight gain due to early satiety.