If there is one health and fitness topic that is avidly discussed the world over, it must be the phenomenon of weight loss. Nearly everyone – young or old, male or female and even fat or lean – is interested in losing weight. When it comes to weight loss, people are willing to try almost anything at all!
Why this craze over weight loss?
There seems to be a belief that being beautiful equals being slim. Popular media and celebrities also play their part in spreading this belief. One is constantly hearing stories about how a particular actor lost a ton of weight by following a particular diet or how a famous model lost all her maternity weight after a particular slimming treatment.
Peer pressure is an important factor when it comes to this obsession with weight loss. People who are on the heavier side are often made to be the butt of jokes and are mercilessly teased for their weight. While some might take such jabs lightly, many do not. This results in body image issues and insecurities about one’s appearance.
Such an attitude is the main culprit behind the steady rise of eating disorders that are becoming prevalent among many teenagers today. Anorexia and Bulimia are just two such common disorders that many adolescents fall victim to.
What are eating disorders?
Anorexia is an eating disorder where the patient goes to the extent of starving by depriving themselves of food, in order to remain thin. They believe that the only way that they can look attractive is by being as thin as possible and hence don’t even realize the amount of harm that they are causing themselves by refusing to eat.
Bulimia is yet another infamous eating disorder where the patient ends up binge eating and then purging out the food by inducing vomiting or by other such drastic means. Again, the primary reason behind this disorder is the need to stay thin.
Weight loss is not magic
No one is arguing that obesity is a good thing; obviously, it isn’t. Overweight people are prone to a number of illnesses. However, yearning to lose all of your excess weight in one go and looking for shortcuts to lose weight can be highly detrimental to your health and well-being.
Everybody has an ideal body mass index (BMI), which depends on factors such as your height, weight, age, and gender. As long as your weight falls within the expected range, you do not need to worry about your weight. If your BMI happens to be over the set limit, then you might need to take some steps to control your weight.
First, don’t be in a hurry to lose weight. A lot of people go on crash diets as their wedding dates approach. They might lose some weight but most crash diets backfire and then they end up piling on all the kilos they lost – and then some more – in no time at all.
Many new mothers are also quite upset about their weight gain during pregnancy and are impatient to lose all the extra baggage. But please keep in mind that your body has been responsible for a miracle. It has created, nurtured and nourished a new life. Please give your body the respect that it deserves and love yourself. You did not pile on the pounds in the blink of an eye – so don’t expect to lose it all in a day either!
Don’t compare yourself with celebrities. It is their job to look good and they have several ways and means to do so. Stay realistic and focus on your well-being.
Also, don’t compare yourself with someone else who has lost more weight than you while following the same practices as you. Each person’s body is different thanks to various aspects such as our genes, our metabolism rates, our lifestyles etc.
Eating right for weight loss
Watch what you eat and start making healthy choices. Maintain a food journal where you jot down what you eat. Reviewing this will help you figure out where you can cut down on sugar or unhealthy oils that can contribute to your weight gain.
Sugar has a sneaky way of creeping up into your diet, even if you don’t use it directly in the form of table sugar. For instance, most fruits are high in natural sugars. Try to eat fruits whole instead of drinking juices. This way you get the full benefits of the fruit including its fiber instead of a sugar overload.
Make healthy swaps in your diet. Instead of white bread, switch to multigrain or whole wheat bread. Swap white rice with brown rice and opt for whole wheat pasta instead of the regular variety.
Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods as much as possible and try to eat freshly made food. Try dips or spreads made of Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
If you are a non-vegetarian, try to go for lean cuts of meat. Trim off excess fat from any meat before you cook it. You could also drain off excess fat and oils from your food before serving it.
Start strong and try your best to resist temptation. One easy way to do this is to simply avoid stocking junk food in your pantry. If you must pig out, then assign one day of the week as a cheat day and treat yourself to anything that your heart desires on that day. Once you start eating healthy, your body will thank you for it and soon it will become an effortless way of life for you.
Lose weight in a healthy way
You are most definitely not going to lose weight if you are not physically active. Adopt some form of exercise daily. It could be as simple as skipping the lift and taking the stairs instead. Or you could walk two blocks to the supermarket instead of driving down there.
Losing weight requires perseverance and dedication. It is not going to happen overnight. Take it slow and have some patience. Remember that losing weight is not just about looking good. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for a healthy life. Stay happy!