Due to modern urban life styles and increasing affluence, obesity has become a major health problem in developed as well as developing countries Not only one looks ungainly due to being overweight but also carries risk of many chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke. Hence it is necessary to reduce extra weight and maintain a normal weight.
Normal body weight is determined by body mass index, which is based on height and weight of a person. A few persons gain excess weight due to disease conditions. Endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, drugs like corticoids taken for long time, adrenal disorders, e.t.c. are some of these conditions. One can also gain weight during convalescence as after a major surgery, trauma or pregnancy and delivery. However in 90% cases obesity is simply a result of consuming more calories in form of food and drinks , than what is being burnt.
Nowadays there is some awareness among people that excess body weight is bad. Many people globally have started doing various forms of exercises in a bid to avoid becoming obese or losing extra weight. Going to the gym has also become fashionable to exercise and reduce increased weight. Seeing this need, many business houses have also started to make profit by offering short cuts to lose weight. In print media, in various websites, one comes across advertisements about tablets, capsules, herbal supplements e.t.c. which would help to lose weight in a week or 10 days. None of these are free from side effects. In the 1980s a tablet to lose weight had become very popular. It acted on the brain to suppress appetite. But these, ‘diet pills were seen to cause many adverse effects like nausea, dizziness, somnolence and even thickening of heart valves.
Bariatric surgery is yet another option to reduce excess weight. But unless one is grossly overweight where even movements also become difficult, it is best avoided, because it carries risks of any major surgery and also long term risks.
There is no short cut to lose weight. The calories consumed need to be burnt. hence role of diet and physical exercise both are important. Many individuals resort to crash dieting which is most unhealthy. A person carries risk of becoming malnourished, due to crash dieting. This can make him/her physically weak and also affects the body’s ability to fight diseases.
Diet should be balanced and contain all necessary nutrients. This includes fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, milk and milk products and healthy meat like fish. Alcohol is strictly forbidden, as it supplies empty calories with no nutrition. Many individuals are very cautious about their diet, exercise regularly but drink alcohol regularly. This adds on the weight, due to which they feel depressed. Such people are often heard saying, “I have tried everything but my weight does not reduce. Similarly white sugar and deep fried foods should be avoided.
Regular physical exercise burns calories consumed, thus preventing obesity and helps to reduce extra weight. Exercise done can be any ranging from brisk walking, jogging, aerobics, swimming, yoga, sports and games, e.t.c. But one should be cautious enough to exercise as per his or her physical ability. Conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, stiffness of joints, e.t.c. should be kept in mind while exercising. Recent studies have shown that just exercising for 30 minutes daily or 3 times/week is not sufficient. If after doing some exercise, a person sits continuously for 7-8 hours, he is at risk of developing central obesity and its resultant problems. Hence it is important to move in between work as well. Some physical work done in form of gardening, sweeping/mopping the house is also useful in this regard.
While attempting to lose weight, one should remember that it should be done in a healthy natural way and should be gradual. After shedding extra calories, measures need to be undertaken to avoid recurrence of obesity.