Our Experts Speak ToThere are numerous health problems and medical conditions associated with obesity, such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for a short time during sleep), lower joint problems and asthma.
Some female specific problems of obesity are the following :
Problem 1 - Obesity and Pregnancy - A report presented by the March of Dimes Task Force on Nutrition and Optimal Human Development, in the USA shows women who are overweight or obese are 30% to 40% more likely to deliver a baby with a major birth defect such as those that affect the brain, heart, and digestive system.
Problem 2 - Being overweight or obese was associated with an increased risk of fibromyalgia, a pain disorder, especially among women who also reported low levels of physical exercise.
Problem 3 - Belly fat has been linked to an increased risk for migraines. Earlier research has linked obesity with an increase in the frequency of migraines in people who already have them. A new suggests that obesity raises the overall risk for migraines.
Problem 4 - Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle appear to increase the risk for Breast Cancer, uterine cancer and colon cancer.
Problem 5 - Obesity is associated with an increased risk of infertility. Several studies have shown health benefits which can be observed with weightloss. A modest weight loss of 2 kg to 4.5 kg results in a significant lowering of blood pressure. People with asthma who lost an average of 14 kg over 1 year showed improved lung function, with the number of severe asthma episodes (exacerbations) and oral corticosteroid courses were reduced. People with type 2 diabetes who lost weight had lower blood sugar levels and were able to use less medicine to lower their blood sugar levels.
You can gain significant health benefits from losing weight. SO let's get started….
Keep Hydrated: The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four.
Push Yourself: Aerobic exercise may not build big muscles, but it can rev up your metabolism in the hours after a workout. High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts. If you are a walker, try to include short bursts of jogging during your regular walk.
Move It: The more you move during the day, the more calories you burn. And remember: working out in the morning has the benefit of revving up your metabolism for hours.
Build More Muscle: Our bodies constantly burn calories, even when we're doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. Muscles also help you look good and have a toned body as well.
Smart Snacking: Eating more often can help you lose weight. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, you train your metabolism to slow down. Having a small meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of a day.
Power Up with Protein: The body burns many more calories digesting protein as it uses for fat or carbohydrates. Protein may require almost 25% more energy to digest compared to fat. Eat a balanced diet, replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods which can jump-start the metabolism at mealtime.
Green Tea: Drinking 2 to 4 cups of green tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours.
NO Crash Diets: Anything involving eating fewer than 1,000 calories a day is disastrous. These diets may help you drop pounds with poor nutrition, a high percentage of the loss comes from muscle. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. The final result is a body that burns far fewer calories (and gains weight faster) than the one you had before the diet.
BREAKFAST – TRULY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY By Abha Kashyap, MBA CSS (Harvard University)
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It refuels your body and your brain. When your body is refueled in the morning, you won't be inclined to over-eat during the lunch time, and indulge in unhealthy foods. When your brain is refueled, your mental functions are sharper, memory better and you are more alert. Studies have shown that children perform better in school, after a good breakfast; studies have even linked healthy breakfasts with less chronic disease, increased longevity and better health.
Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. One reason – there is not enough time. Meetings, school or other demands begin early in the day, leaving little time for consumption of a healthy meal during the morning hours. Another common reason to skip breakfast is that they are not hungry in the morning. This is a result of eating a full meal late in the evening or indulging in late snacking. When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food. Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep. This results in there still being food in the stomach in the morning hours. The stomach needs rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning. Another reason for people skipping breakfast is their belief that skipping breakfast will result in weight loss. People who want to lose weight often think that by skipping meals, they are saving calories. Actually, eating breakfast may be good for losing weight. Experts suggest that by eating breakfast, you keep your metabolism running, and skipping meals kicks the body into "starvation" mode. This makes the body hold on to the fat, thinking it will have to use this in the future as energy. Eating breakfast keeps the body in the mode to burn fuel, burn calories, thus burn fat. To lose weight, it is important to keep your metabolism high, in the fuel-burning mode. Also keep in mind, that a good breakfast is one that provides at least one third of the day's calories.
Regarding breakfast, it is important first to establish that – as the cliché states – "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." It is also important to recognize how life has changed, working hours are just not limited to 8 hour days, in fact work starts at 9 or 10 in the morning and lasts until 8 or 9 at night. For children, the demands of the school curriculum, its constant changes, fierce entrance competitions, extra curricular activities, tuitions, etc. have taken their toll on their time. Breakfast trends are changing due to lifestyle changes. Hectic and stressful lives, for both adults and children, results in limited time, consequently, individuals are skipping meals or eating on the run. Breakfast becomes the first victim of this new hectic lifestyle. Recognizing the demands of lifestyle changes and with the understanding of the importance of breakfast, it is the breakfast menus that must change and adapt to the new lifestyles of today.
Fast food restaurants can take advantage of this lifestyle change, but they would need to be located in easily accessible locations, and open at early hours of the day. People will not go out of their way to consume fast food, therefore, accessibility is crucial. Healthy choice options also must be a part of their menu, for the health conscience customers. There is more scope of growth for quick, or instant breakfasts available at grocery stores, which can be consumed at home. This makes the meal more convenient, and having better chances that breakfast will not be skipped.
It is very important to realize that it is the choices of foods which makes the meal healthy or not; not the heritage, or country of origin. Foods from the same heritage, offer familiarity, customized taste, but do not always reflect on a healthy choice. It also does not mean that moving away from traditional foods reflects on shunning our heritage. With the breakfast meal, the change in food choices has to do with balancing less time with more nutrition, not a choice of heritage. If the heritage of Indian foods is not reflected in the breakfast menu, it may be present in lunch or dinner. Ideally, when most of the day is over, majority of the day's demands have been met, dinner time is a moment when the family comes together to be in touch with their heritage and with each other.
Some breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. There are some foods you should avoid during breakfast, foods high in sugars, high in sodium, high in saturated fats and high in calories. Breakfast should include protein and plenty of fiber; the combination will help satisfy your hunger and will keep you feeling full until lunchtime. The protein can come from low-fat meat, eggs, nuts or dairy products. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A healthy breakfast doesn't need to be extravagant or take a long time to prepare. Something simple like whole grain toast, a hard boiled egg and 100% fruit juice. Another quick breakfast which satisfies these three essentials is a bowl of whole-grain cereal with berries and low-fat milk.
For those who do not eat breakfast, there are a couple of simple, easy ways to add Breakfast to your daily routine:
- Start Small. Begin with whole wheat toast with a cup of tea or a glass of juice. In a few days, add a piece of fruit.
- Just Choose Fruit for Breakfast: Fresh Fruit is the best choice, it gives you fiber, natural sugars and vitamins. There are many good fruits to choose from: apples are the best for all, oranges, grapefruits, bananas, kiwis, mangos, melons, berries. Try to eat two servings of fruit every morning.
Some other quick breakfasts, to help get you started in the morning while on the run, can be prepared with minimal prep time the night before…..
- Breakfast Salad: The night before, combine lettuce leaves, spinach leaves, your favorite berries, walnuts, apple slices and egg pieces. Place this in a plastic container. The next morning, add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For vegetarians, do not add the eggs.
- Hardboiled Egg with fruit: Boil 2 eggs the night before and store it in the fridge. In the morning, peel and remove the yellow, especially for those with cholesterol problems. Eat the egg white with a little of salt and pepper. As you walk out the door, eat an apple. There you have it, a healthy breakfast on the run.
- Breakfast Health Drink: In the blender, combine the following – half a banana, 1 cup of yogurt, half cup of berries, ¼ cup milk and a couple cubes of ice. Add a tablespoon flax seed for some healthy omega-3s. Healthy and delicious.
- Last Night Leftovers: Leftover vegetable sabji from last night, with an ounce of grated cheese between 2 slices of brown or multi-grain bread, is quick, healthy. For non-vegetarians, remove the chicken out of the curry and put it between 2 slices of multigrain bread. If you had salad last night, you can add this to the above sandwiches, or just put the salad between 2 slices of whole wheat bread with 1 ounce of grates cheese. Another easy preparation, make 2 extra chapattis the night before, and in the morning, make a roll with the leftover subji. Roll this up in a napkin and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds – quick, warm healthy morning meal to get you started.
Health is by Choice...not by chance! The choice is yours. You don't have to be a statistic. By adopting a better diet and wiser lifestyle habits, you can live longer, feel better, and enjoy a healthier, more productive life.
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