Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Obesity Factor


Obesity is a big problem. To start with it kills self esteem. You don't feel good about yourself. There is a constant feeling of guilt. You don't look attractive. Your clothes don't fit well. You are embarrassed of your weight and what people may think of you.

Some feel, you shouldn't bother about what people say. Maybe they are right. But wouldn't it be awesome of you could shed that fat?

Apart from being a social issue, obesity is a much bigger medical problem.

The obese are more likely to suffer from hypertension (high BP), diabetes and ischaemic heart disease (heart attack). They are prone to get lumbar spondylitis and knee arthritis. In summary, obese will live shorter lives and that life will have more suffering.

So those who say "I live to eat" or "I love food", I'd like to warn them that they will pay a heavy price for their indulgence.

If you are still not interested in loosing weight, you don't need to read further! I say this because loosing weight is not simple or easy. It is a Herculean task, nothing less than a complicated project that needs your full concentration till completion.

First step is to rule out medical illness. Many disorders for eg thyroid problems lead to weight gain. It is only logical to address these medical issues before trying to lose weight.

You can lose weight by diet AND exercise. Even a small child will tell you that. What is important to realise is diet alone or exercise alone may not be enough. So diet has to go hand in hand with exercise.

Which diet?
There are many diets out there that guarantee weight loss. Each claiming to be better than the other. They all work! It's common sense. If you starve you will loose weight. The issue here is how long can you sustain a diet? The more fancy and effective the diet the less likely it is for you to stick to it. And once you are off the diet, all your weight is back in a few months. So how do you approach the problem?
I feel your diet should not change drastically. Obviously less oil, less salt, less sweet! More importantly less quantity. We have been brought up to think that it is nothing less than a crime to stop eating before your stomach is overfull. We need to loose that habit. We have to train ourselves to get up from the meal with a hungry stomach. It takes a lot of effort and determination to do this.
Just one useful tip. Usually dinner is the heaviest meal for most people. I believe that if you can attack this one meal consistently you can achieve your goal. One way is to eat of bowl of fruits and raw vegetable salad one hour before dinner. That way your tummy is full and you can easily avoid a heavy dinner.

Which exercise?
To loose weight you need aerobic exercise. This means any exercise that increases your heart rate (you can hear your heart beating) and your breathing rate. For eg brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rowing etc. The recommendation is to do aerobic exercise for half hour everyday.

Many people are not able to loose weight. Some of them genuinely cannot loose weight and they need medical attention. But most of them fail cos they fall short in effort. Loosing weight is a full time job that needs a high level of sincerity and commitment. Commitment so that you don't give up and sincerity so that you don't take short cuts. The biggest enemy of those who don't loose weight is usually laziness!

To conclude, obesity is not only a social problem, it is more serious medical issue. Loosing weight is essential. With determination and motivation, most people can shed their fat. Two proverbs come to mind - "where there is a will, there is a way" and "try try till you succeed"