Weight training, quality of food intake key to keep obesity in check

To tackle obesity, it is important to focus on reducing insulin resistance, regulate blood sugar, increase exercise, and reduce stress.
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Obesity is a growing concern the world over. It is not about aesthetics, but the link to several metabolic conditions that is concerning.

Obesity is associated with a higher risk for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, depression, hypertension, high cholesterol, some forms of cancer, dementia, neuro degenerative conditions, PCOD, estrogen dominance, and infertility.

Obesity can predispose you towards developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of conditions that includes insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes.

All these increase the risk towards developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia.

Most people with metabolic disorders have obesity, and excess fat around the waist. This fat is metabolically active and can contribute to inflammation.

To tackle this, you need to focus on reducing insulin resistance, regulate blood sugar, increase exercise, and reduce stress.

Considerations when looking at obesity:

Obesity can be defined as any individual having a BMI greater than 30. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.

When looking at weight, it is important to utilise an effective method of measuring and estimating body composition. Body composition is the proportion of fat, bone, and muscle in your body. Fat weighs less than muscle, so measuring weight is never ideal. Even when looking at BMI, it may have limitations, as someone who is building muscle may be above BMI yet be healthier.

There are several factors to consider.

1.     Muscle weighs more than fat, yet it burns more calories, so if you have more muscle, you would be much healthier. A great place to start while addressing obesity and metabolic disorders is to add weight training or strength training. This can be a first step in addressing obesity.

2.     You could lose inches and not weight, as body composition changes. Many people get caught up in weight, and stress over some perceived ideal weight that they should be. If you are losing inches that should be a major motivating factor in doing something more. Avoid focusing only on weight as a measure of improvement.

3.     Weight can fluctuate considerably based on the time of the day, phase of a menstrual cycle for women, hydration, elimination, and other factors. Constantly weighing in will only lead to discouragement. Focus on only looking at these factors once or twice a month. Instead, bring your attention to what you are doing to change.

4.     Excess fat around your waist, where your waist is bigger than your hip, is the most dangerous kind of fat. Measuring this is a simple and effective way to observe what is helping you.

5.     An ideal way is to combine looking at BMI, waist to hip ratio, and clothes size every month or so, to track your progress. Do not set targets and goals. Be encouraged by changes in waist thickness, energy, mood, sleep, and how you handle stress.

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How should you approach obesity?

Your body is an amazing vehicle, and it always gives you signs that it is off balance. Insulin resistance is a sign that your body is trying to signal to you that something needs to be changed. Even if you begin with just one step, it does make a big change.

Recently, a client did nothing but changed her morning breakfast from three idlis, to one idli with protein, and she lost one and a half kilograms in one week. Stay focussed on gentle changes, but whatever you do, let it be a sustained effort.

1.     The first step is to look at your meals through one full day. If most of your calories are coming from starch, sugar, or grain, start by just changing this to include less of these with more protein, fibre, and healthy fats. I gave you one example of this before. Encourage yourself to eat more from home, with quick healthy meals, rather than eating out on the run when you are starving. Prepping yourself with simple meals that combine proteins, fats, and fibre, can be done quickly in so many ways.

2.     When you change the way your plate looks, with more vegetables, proteins, and fats, you will feel satiated with less quantities. By default, your portions reduce. This also makes your blood sugar regulated, and over time, this will lower insulin resistance. Without changing the structure on your plate, focusing on reducing portions, which many people still focus on to lose weight, is self-destructive. It will only impact your mood, prevent satiety, and upset blood sugar.

3.     Replace processed snacks from boxes, however healthy they claim to be, with a whole fruit, vegetables, nuts, or seeds. Typically, when you eat more balanced meals, your requirement to keep snacking will also come down. Eating often only works for some people. For others it can lead to gut issues when the digestive system does not get a break between meals.

4.     Most people with obesity tend to eat very little healthy fats. Most of their diet comes from carbohydrates as sugars and grains. Including some healthy fats at all meals helps to reverse insulin resistance and shift metabolic syndrome. Make sure that you add some nuts, quarter avocado, ghee, coconut milk, coconut, seeds, or olive oil.

Image source: Pexels

5.     If you can get by with just three meals, that is the best approach as it rests your digestive system, helps to regulate insulin and blood glucose, and allows your body to settle down to less food with more nutrition.

6.     Fasting is a great tool in obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Gently try to do a full day dry fast, which has several benefits, including improvement of insulin sensitivity.

If you are unable to do a full day without impact on your energy and mood, begin with just half. The more insulin resistance you are, and the more unstable your blood sugar balance is, the harder it will be initially. If you struggle to fast, it can point towards your body needing to ease towards it. However, it can also suggest that fasting can be very therapeutic for you. Work with a qualified practitioner to help you navigate that gently.

What is sustainable weight loss in obesity?

Losing half to one kilogram of weight a week can be a sustainable way to lose weight without impacting your body and health. Losing excess weight through fad diets and sever methods can work to lose weight, but be cautious if it impacts your B12, iron, D3, or energy. Take everything one step at a time, and let yourself be guided forward without frustration or dejection.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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