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Count those calories!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The festive season is a time for indulgence, but be careful not to overdo it, says Ronita Torcato

The festive season is a time for feasting. Ganesh Chaturthi, then Navratri, the festival of nine nights; Dassera, Diwali, Christmas and New Year… it’s three months of pure indulgence, where sweets come thick and fast. It’s also the time when many of us gain too much weight, which then is difficult to get rid of.

We don’t want to be party poopers but the fact is that people who are indifferent to weight gain put themselves at risk.  Globally, over two billion adults and children suffer from health problems related to obesity and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions.

I know of several obese people who don't take obesity seriously.  They don't seem to know or care that people have actually died following complications like a blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.  

Four million deaths were attributed to excess body weight in 2015. Obesity also makes people prone to developing osteoarthritis and other life-threatening conditions.  Even young people are developing joint disorders and knee pain. Studies have also shown that that the overweight suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety and even a lack of self-confidence. Which is why New Year’s resolutions to lose weight should become dedicated year-round commitments. 

“It is imperative to change the mind-set to have a better relationship with one’s body and food habits to ensure best results!” says nutritionist Karishma Chawla. “A well balanced diet with the right proportion of carbs, lean protein, adequate fibre plus water, along with good sunshine and a positive self-image is ideal.”

This correspondent, who must confess to a paunch, is delighted that on World Obesity Day (October 13) the World Obesity Federation (WOF), focused on weight stigma, one of the last socially accepted forms of discrimination.   WOF is also partnering with the medical journal, Lancet, to publish a biennial World Obesity Report showing progress towards national and global targets for obesity prevalence.                 

Though India is a country where 270 million people live below the 'poverty line' and malnutrition is widespread and starvation deaths continue to occur, we are also the third most obese country in the world. A study published in Lancet says US, China and India are the top three in a list of 10 countries with the highest number of obese people.

We also have the second highest number of obese children in the world after China. That statistic is contained in a 2015 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which found that China has 15.3 million and India has 14.4 million obese children. 

Excess weight affected 2.2 billion children and adults worldwide, or 30 per cent of all people.   A survey of the 20 most populous countries, showed that the highest level of obesity among children and young adults was in the US at nearly 13 per cent; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35 per cent.   The study covered 195 countries and territories from 1980 through 2015, and includes analyses of other studies on the effects of excess weight and potential links between high BMI and cancers of numerous body parts, as well as leukaemia. 

Sadly, the prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries and has continuously increased in many others. The solution, doctors say, is to increase your metabolism, melt stubborn fat, rejuvenate the body by cleansing it of harmful toxins, and increase energy levels.  I   say, also eat spinach like Popeye!

And while you’re indulging in all those sweets this festive season, don’t also forget to dance the calories away!

Watch that weight with a few simple tips

Nutritionist Karishma Chawla has some great advice for the festive season on nutrition, exercise and sleep

  • Eat every two hours to keep the metabolism high ensuring no meals are skipped.
  • Avoid fried foods, minimise drinks and consume sweets sparingly.
  • Drink at least three to four litres of water. It helps to burn fat!
  • Consume cinnamon powder and apple cider vinegar – it helps to reduce cravings and aids fat loss.
  • Eat fruits sparingly and preferably in the first half of the day.
  • Consume carbs like oats, quinoa, whole wheat, jowar and bajra—also, three bowls of salad and two bowls of green veggies in the day.
  • Choose lean meat like chicken, eggs and fish over high fat ones. Avoid starchy carbs like refined flour, sugar, alcohol and excessive caffeine.
  • Ensure at least one hour of physical activity in the day. This could be a mix of light - moderate strength training in the form of weight, Pilates and cardio.
  • Be as active as possible, ensure seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Finally, take good strength multivitamins.
  • Signs people should watch out for if they exercise too much or eat in excess.
  • Sluggishness, feeling low on energy, bad mood swings, over-sleeping, unjustified cravings (salt or sugar) low concentration, lower fat loss or plateau or fat gain due to decreased metabolism and low immunity.

She also recommends

  • Look into the medical history to add any special foods or supplements if required.
  • It’s not only important to work on a nutrition sheet, it is equally important to get over fitness challenges and move forward to achieve goals!

Short Takes

  • Globally, over two billion adults and children suffer from health problems related to obesity and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions.
  • Four million deaths were attributed to excess body weight in 2015.
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