Restrictive dieting is not recommended for children and adolescents, as they have high nutritional needs. For adults with a body weight above that suggested in the healthy weight category (Body Mass Index greater than 25), food and energy intake can be reduced to lose weight.
Overweight and obesity are a result of energy imbalance over a long period of time. Energy Balance is like a scale. When calories consumed are greater than calories used, weight gain results.
Energy IN = Energy OUT leads to weight maintenance
Energy IN < Energy OUT leads to Weight loss
Energy IN> Energy OUT leads to Weight gain
You need to watch your weight not just to feel lighter but also to feel confident and energetic so that you can perform at your best. Overweight people are more prone to diseases and it is not advisable to let the ageing bones take excess load.
The type of food you eat and the amount both go a long way in deciding what the weighing scale says to you. Exercise doesn’t just burn calories; it builds lean muscle mass that burns fat too.
Check your weight
You can check whether you have a healthy weight for your height using a simple indicator called BMI.
BMI measures your body fat based on your weight and height and is a good indicator of your health.
BMI = weight in kg/ (height in m)2
underweight if your BMI is less than 18.5
normal weight if your BMI is 18.5 – 24.9
overweight if your BMI is 25.0 - 29.9
obese if your BMI is above 30.0
Waist-Hip ratio (WHR)
Another good indicator is Waist-Hip ratio (WHR), which measures abdominal obesity.
WHR = waist circumference (cm)/ hip circumference (cm)
For men the waist circumference should be less than 90 cm (36 inches) and 80 cm (32 inches) for women. The recommended WHR for men is 0.95 while in women it is 0.80 or less.
Manage your weight
To manage your weight effectively, you will have to change four aspects of your life:
For adults with a body weight above that suggested in the healthy weight category (that is, a Body Mass Index greater than 25), reducing your food and energy intake, in conjunction with increasing your physical activity levels, can help reduce your weight. Restrictive dieting is not recommended for children and adolescents, as they have high nutritional needs.
Here are some healthy eating tips for maintaining a healthy weight:
- Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals eat a wide variety of foods each day .
- Keep ‘extra’ foods, such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate and chips to a minimum .
- Limit saturated fat - saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and are the main fats in milk, cream, butter, cheese and some meats
- Choose reduced fat dairy products
- Limit the amount of ‘take away’ food
- Select lean meat and remove visible fat before cooking
- Choose low fat cooking methods, for example - stir fry, grill, nonstick cooking pans
- Eat more low-calorie foods such as wholegrain cereals, fruits and vegetables
- Drink more water – instead of soft drink and fruit juices
- Read food labels – especially for fat, sugar and energy (kilojoule/calorie) levels
- Eat smaller portions, eat slowly, don’t fill your plate, try a smaller plate, don’t feel that you need to finish every meal
Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day they all add up. You can accumulate your 30 minutes (or more) of physical activity for health throughout the day by combining a few shorter sessions of activity of around 10 to 15 minutes each.
To make a habit out of increasing activity in your day, you can:
- Park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way
- Walk or cycle instead of using the car for short trips
- Walk rather than rest on escalators or elevators
- Get off the bus/train/tram one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Work in the garden
- Play with children in an active way
- Try a new sport or go back to one you have played before.
- To achieve extra health benefits, or to increase fitness, you will also need to add regular vigorous activity to your routine on three or four days a week, for a minimum of around 30 minutes. Vigorous activity will make you “huff and puff” (e.g. where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult), and includes activities such as squash, football, aerobics, speed walking, jogging, fast cycling or brisk rowing. This type of activity will also help to maintain a healthy weight.
FAD Diets… What’s Wrong
- Dieting is an age-old way to lose weight but is fad diet the best way to lose those extra kilos?
- When you want to lose weight fast, there is just one question on your mind... What works fast? Many of us are struggling to lose weight fast. Many of us want to shed those extra pounds so that we look and feel good for that special function or occasion and we want to fit into our old clothes. If any of these cases are true, then we go on a spree to find that perfect diet plan that works wonders for us. It can be confusing in today's weight loss world to find that perfect product or that diet plan that works fast.
- One of the most common diet plans are the fad diets. These kinds of diets are all over the place with things such as detox diet, grapefruit diet and cabbage soup diet which promise instant weight loss.
Here is a list of some common fad diets and their ill effects on the body:
- Atkins Diet: One of the most popular fad diets of all time, it was introduced by Dr Atkins. It recommends low carbohydrate and high protein intake. It comprises of four phases –Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance, all with a carefully controlled level of carbohydrate intake. Fat and protein foods like meat, cheese and egg are recommended while carbohydrates like pasta, bread and sugar are restricted in Atkins Diet.
- Why it’s not so good for you: Carbohydrates are needed by the body to regulate protein and fat and to maintain adequate functioning of the brain. Lack of carbohydrate puts the body in a state of ketosis (accumulation of excessive amounts of ketone bodies in body due to incomplete metabolism of fat). Much of the weight loss while following this diet comes from fluid loss which puts additional load on the kidneys.
- Zone Diet: The diet given by Dr Barry Sears recommends an intake of 40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats. According to Dr Sears, this ratio allows the body to achieve a hormonal balance. Food items like chicken breast, egg whites, fish, most sea foods, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables, and fruits are recommended and food items like potatoes, bananas, white bread, pasta and sugar are restricted.
- Why it’s not so good for you: Within each group there are certain foods you need to eat and certain items you need to avoid. Elimination of certain foods can lead to poor intake of vitamins and minerals which in the long run affect your metabolism and immune function.
- Cabbage Soup Diet: This is a seven days diet which allows eating as much cabbage soup as you want along with a few select foods like fresh fruits, brown rice, banana, baked potato, skim milk, beef, tomatoes, which vary depending on the day. This diet promises that you’ll lose 10 pounds weight loss in one week.
- Why it may not be so good: The major part of the weight loss from such diet comes from muscle mass and water instead of fat loss.
- The three-Day Diet: The Three-Day Diet is one of the most popular fad diets. It is particularly popular among people who try to achieve short-term weight loss. It outlines a strict menu to be followed for three days followed by 4-5 days of normal eating.
- Why it’s bad for you: Mostly the weight loss is due to fluid loss. Usually lost weight is gained back when a person resumes normal eating; in fact, due to the fact that during those 3 days you eat very less most people tend to gain even more weight when they resume eating normally.