Weight To Go

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Millions are overweight and unhealthy today. It is, therefore, not uncommon for most of them to embark on new dietetic experiments and diet plans at any given point of time, and at the drop of a new ‘formula.’ The problem, in reality, is not so much with dieting, but falling for hazardous fad diets in one’s eagerness to losing weight.

First things first. You should know how to differentiate between fad, or ‘yo-yo,’ diets and healthy diets. This is the best possible way to achieve your diet goals that last long. Of goals that will not allow the fat you lost a week ago to return with a vengeance.

The next best thing you should do is not be lured by weight loss products that sound, or look, too good to be true. The fact is there is no miracle pill, or piece of fitness equipment, that can make you look like a model, or bodybuilder.

Remember that nothing comes for a song.

Looking good and attaining whole body fitness emerges with a great deal of planned effort. Besides, if it is basically a human emotion that goads you to fall into the fad diet trap, you would do well to realise that it pays to play safe and opt for a programme that won’t give you quick ‘results’ and consequent misery.

What is a good weight loss programme — a programme you’d depend upon and trust?

First, and foremost, don’t get carried away by a ‘miracle’ design that you’d lose 10-15kg in a week’s time — be it an advertisement, or celeb endorsement.

You’d have probably tried the idea earlier and failed — or, it could have led to heartache and a lighter wallet.

Now — don’t you waste your time and resources believing in the fad, yet again.

Gift Of The Nab

You should know that several diet products are generally marketed with short deadlines for profits to accrue — they are simply marketing hard-sell.

In reality, it is not possible, nay harmful, to lose 15kg, in quick time.

Here’s why. Our body, as you know, is made up of almost 80 per cent water. When you lose weight swiftly, you will sure feel dehydrated and ill — not healthy — because you have lost much of the vital fluid, or nature’s wholesome beverage. Also, remember that such weight loss is only temporary. It is bound to return just as quickly the moment you resume your normal food habits.

Dangers Of ‘Yo-Yo’ Diets

Fad diets can lead to adverse and long-term health issues on body composition, increased risk of heart [cardiovascular] disease and loss of bone density and also possible bone fracture. Quick weight loss can, following a fad diet plan, lead to problems such as binge eating, depression and emotional problems too.

Inference? Eating a nutritionally balanced low-fat diet, containing starchy carbohydrates, aside from fruit and vegetables, followed by an appropriate fitness programme, is the best way to cut those unwanted bulges — and, also keep yourself as fit as a fiddle.

Losing water weight, which most quick-fix diet plans accomplish, is certainly risky. What you should aim at, instead, is losing about 1-2kg a week by way of a healthy diet regimen and appropriate exercise and walking programme in consultation with your physician, or therapist, nutritionist or dietician, and physical trainer.

You could, on their advice, also do well to include at least 30 minutes of some form of physical activity, every day, in your healthy weight loss plan, while maintaining, or limiting, your calorie intake. Such a balanced programme will compel your body to use up stored fat for energy. This is the right type of curriculum to losing weight. This is also weight loss that will bring you healthy, long lasting results.

Avoid Pitfalls

You have often been lured to go on a diet ‘plan’ with grapefruit, or cabbage soup — to lose weight quickly. The motto is — eat grapefruit for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Grape fruit has a measly 80 calories per cup — small wonder, you’ll lose weight in a jiffy. Remember, the pitfalls too — because, it isn’t a well turned-out idea to eat just one type of food, even if it is grapefruit, a popular weight loss recipe.

Picture this. An excellent source of vitamin C, grapefruit is awfully deficient in calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin-B, vitamin E, and many vital nutrients. Eating just grapefruit will, therefore, have negative effects on your body — it will lead to nutritional deficiencies. This holds good, or bad, for several other so-called ‘miracle’ foods and diets available in the market.

The purpose of eating a variety of food enables us to stay healthy, not just delight our palate. or taste buds. It is also, at the same time, something that can be easily abused. When this happens, you are subject to the inevitable — obesity.

Food is like ammunition for the body. It provides a host of nutrients and vitamins and minerals, including nutraceuticals, antioxidants, and so on. It supplies energy.

Never miss the wood for the trees and vice versa. Take this, or that, for example. When you follow dietary regimens that exclude certain foods, you feel out of sync with yourself and your weight loss plan. Why? Lack of variety leads to craving for other foods, which only adds more weight to your calories. They also do not provide you with all the nutrients your body needs on a regular basis.

It is only a healthy diet plan that can promote balance in tune with our bodily requirements for good health. Besides, a complete food plan provides us with a range of tastes you’d naturally like to derive from healthy foods. Also, when you eat food in the right proportion, it will help you reduce your total calorie intake and thereby encourage weight loss.

Things To Do

  • First, there is no need to be harsh on yourself. You need to be harsh on the casual food habits you have gotten yourself into
  • Get hold of your unhealthy eating habits. Initiate self-control
  • Say ‘no’ to potato chips, for example — your ‘addiction’ for years
  • Keep a track of your daily eating habits and slowly establish new healthy eating practices and habits
  • When you get the urge to ‘chomp’ your chips, cookies, or sweets, go out for a walk instead.

Use Logic. Not Emotion

Most advertisements and endorsements say that someone, most often a celebrity, has lost weight quickly — so can you. It isn’t so simplistic. Fad diets are countless, and they cannot work for everyone. What’s more, they can change, for example, your blood sugar levels, or elevate your cholesterol. This is true of high-protein diets too. High protein diets are not a suitable diet plan for high blood pressure, or hypertensive, individuals.

Also, remember — we are human beings. Not mechanised gadgets. One type, therefore, does not fit all.

The best thing to do is to speak to your physician, therapist, or nutritionist-dietician who understands your health and medical status, and can formulate, chart, or recommend a diet and exercise programme appropriate, or customised, for you alone. They can also estimate what can work for you and/or may not work for you. In so doing, they can help you avoid the usual ‘false diet traps’ that could bring you distress and danger — not healthy, or sensible, weight loss.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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