Due to modern lifestyle trends such as preference for fast foods, staying healthy has become a big challenge to many people. As a result, cases of obesity have shot up and people can be seen trying out different techniques to lose or maintain a good weight.
According to Gerald Ruzindana, a naturopathic doctor at Amazon Complementary Therapy in Remera, Kigali, there is a lot of misconception regarding healthy weight.
He says to understand the entire concept, it all goes back to the basics such as what one eats and when they eat it, as well as the nutrient composition in a particular type of diet they consume.
“Before you try looking for ways of cutting your weight, understanding the kilocalories milligrams in a particular type of food one consumes is essential,” he says.
Ruzindana says the level of physical activity is slowing down in relation to the brain capacity, which results into overweight.
“For instance, many people work while seated or drive from work straight to their home. They have limited time for exercise, thus end up becoming obese,” he notes.
Ruzindana says it requires a lot of physical activity to boost the metabolism process.
According to him, gaining and losing weight is normally the relationship between calorie intake and calorie expenditure.
“Whenever one consumes a lot of calories but expends less, it means they are taking in what the body cannot utilise. Eventually, during the metabolic process, the liver secretes only the energy it needs and the remaining food is dumped on walls of the stomach as excess fats,” he says.
Daniel Gahungu, a general practitioner at Polyclinic Ectoile in Kigali, says fats are always stored as energy, but explains that most people fail to understand the concept of overweight and obesity, thinking that it’s something to do with particular activities.
“For instance, people tend to consume a lot of simple sugars categorised as simple carbohydrates, which delay in our body system. Others, on the other hand, think that eliminating only fats in their diets will work when it comes to reducing weight,” he says.
Gahungu, however, notes that one needs to know the amount of food the body requires and exercise moderation.
“What one eats depends on their appetite or availability of the food. In some cases lack of money to buy the required food leads one to consume one type of food in large amounts, resulting in unwanted weight,” he says.
Tips on maintaining healthy weight
Prof Joseph Mucumbisti, a pediatrician at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, and president of Rwanda Heart Foundation, says knowing the difference between overweight and obesity is important.
He points out that there is nothing a person can do to lose weight other than getting to know the concept of right dieting. He adds that calorie intake in the body should be matched with activities that will help the body spend those calories stored.
“Knowing the stages of weight gain help one know better where they fall, and which step is the right one to take. One should be able to differentiate underweight (where one has less BMI to the expected weight), overweight and obesity,” he says.
The knowledge, Mucumbisti says, aids one to know exactly what to do to achieve the normal weight without necessarily involving other medications like pills or surgeries.
Ruzindana says products such as natural slimming tea, hibiscus, as well as nutritional foods and supplements that are natural aid in reducing fat metabolism, but cannot be relied on.
“When one embraces a good lifestyle, using such products will also aid them in acquiring the desired weight. On the contrary, using them and continuing with a bad lifestyle is a waste of time, as the products only help in slowing down fat metabolism,” he says.
In 2013, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a chronic disease, and urged health insurance to start paying for obesity treatment including counseling.
According to the research, recognising obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue, which has become an alarming issue worldwide.
Further, the research points out that the decision could also help in the fight against obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as improving funding for obesity drugs, surgery, and counseling.