Obesity or excess weight ails a sizeable population these days and modern lifestyle is at the core of this growing problem. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating junk food and doing little or no exercise can wreak havoc with overall health. Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even certain kinds of cancer. Generally, it is obese people who have a high percentage of unhealthy fat in their body, but a lot of times many people with normal weight may have high body fat percentage and they may be equally at risk of lifestyle diseases. (Also read: Brisk walking vs jogging; which is better for weight loss? Expert take)
As it is not easy to completely reverse the lifestyle acquired over the years, a bit-by-bit approach offers a long-lasting solution to the obesity problem. There is no quick-fix remedy either. A slight modification could change various aspects of your daily routine and could yield magical results in few months. These positive outcomes generally motivate one to take a step further in leading a healthy living.
“As you know obesity is becoming rampant nowadays due to westernization, lack of physical activity, eating too much of junk food, faulty lifestyle in this society. Obesity predisposes a person to a lot of health problems. An obese person is at a higher risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, liver diseases, obstructive sleep apnoea, heart related problems, various cancers and the list is endless. It is important to take care of your body weight and reverse obesity,” says Dr Anukalp Prakash, Lead Consultant – department of Gastroenterology, CK Birla Hospital over a telephonic conversation with HT Digital.
Here are the lifestyle changes that one should incorporate in their lifestyle to prevent, reverse or manage obesity.
Avoid bad fat
“Eat less ‘bad’ fat or fried stuff and include more ‘good’ fat in limited amount like butter and cheese. Consume less processed and sugary foods such as processed sweets, jaggery, sugar and eat more servings of vegetables and fruits. High fibre diet helps keep our stomach full and has less calories,” Dr Shubham Vatsya, Consultant Gastroenterology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad told HT Digital.
Lead an active lifestyle
“It’s a known fact that exercise reduces weight, but an overall active lifestyle such as opting for stairs instead of lift, taking a walk while talking over the phone, and standing meetings are active lifestyle habits one should incorporate in their daily life routine,” says Dr Sajeet Nayar, MBBS, MS – General Surgery – Pristyn Care in a conversation with HT Digital.
Eat plenty of dietary fibre
“Focus on eating low–glycaemic index foods such as green vegetables, fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils. Medium Glycaemic index foods include sweet corn, bananas, raw pineapple, raisins, cherries, oat breakfast cereals, and multigrain, whole-grain wheat or rye bread while high glycaemic index food which should be avoided are white rice, white bread and potato,” says Dr Vatsya.
Increase intake of water or calorie-free drinks
“Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and opt for fruit juice although no more than a small amount per day,” says Dr Nayar.
Limit screen time
“We should limit TV and screen time and instead find interest in outdoor activities rather than sitting all the time,” says Dr Prakash.
Meditate – try relaxation techniques
“While you may have a stressful life, balancing home and work, it’s important to take a break, try breathing exercises, meditation or breaking out into a dance if in itself is relaxing to you,” says Dr Nayar.
“Nowadays in our lifestyle the stress has increased, we should try and reduce this stress by involving ourselves in meditation, yoga, music and dancing and any other activity that reduces stress. We should try and improve our sleep habits and go to bed early and ensuring we have 8 hours of good sleep. This reduces stress and chances of obesity,” says Dr Prakash.
Keep an eye on your hormones, emotions
“Avoid emotional eating. Pause and reflect on what has caused this sudden change in your mood – rather than indulging in eating your emotions,” says Dr Nayar.
Track your fitness, BMI and other health-metrics
“Everyone around is becoming digital-first. Integrating technology and fitness has helped many individuals track their weight loss journey, keeping an eye on BMI and other health parameters – SPO2, Blood Pressure, and Oxygen levels, among others,” says Dr Nayar.
“For people who have already become obese and finding it difficult to reduce weight there are other methods of shedding weight like endoscopic balloon placement into the stomach which helps reduce weight around 15-20 kg in 6 months and there are other surgical options available like bariatric surgery which can reduce the weight and prevent a person from developing various diseases from obesity,” says Dr Prakash.
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