January marks the first month of a new year and this is the month wherein the resolutions are made and people get focused on trying to stay in good health and knock off the extra weight thus marking this month as - Healthy weight awareness month. So, in honor of the month of new beginnings, we at Medicircle have begun this series wherein we are interviewing the experts in the field of Health and Wellness to give out correct information to all our viewers and readers.
Parul Malhotra Bahl, Founder, Diet Expression, has around 15 years of experience as a practicing Nutritionist, Diabetes Educator, a Lifestyle Coach, and a Nutrition Blogger.
Steps to Healthy Weight Loss
Parul shares her thoughts, “Mostly when people come to me with the purpose of losing weight, the first thing I tell them is to set their expectations right. We must understand that along with fat mass bodyweight comprises of other components like water content, muscle mass, and bone mass. Bone weight can hardly change but other components may change. A healthy weight loss is when the body loses just the fat component. By following Fad diets rather than the fat, one ends up losing muscle mass and water content that's when one progresses towards the unhealthy-thin. People also ask me how would we know that we are losing a healthy weight or we are on the right track or not? The answer is just don't look for that number changing on the weighing scale, watch for two more indicators - One watch for inch loss with a toned skin. Saggy skin is a result of muscle mass loss indicating an unhealthy weightloss. Second watch how is your internal body responding? For example, are your indigestion issues like constipation, bloating, gas or acidity resolving? Are your hair and skin getting healthier? Are your energy levels getting better? If the answer is no then definitely you are not progressing towards a healthy weight loss,,” she says.
Best way to lose weight - One step at a time
Parul explains, “There are three steps to losing weight:
Set right targets and go slow - It's not a race that you have to finish at the earliest. Rather it's a journey that needs to be covered one step at a time. You did not gain all this weight overnight so expecting it to lose overnight will be unreasonable. For a sustainable weight loss set a small target of 2-3 kgs in a month.
Set a routine - It is very critical that your body is set in a routine. The body responds better to a set routine as compared to a haphazard routine. The routine includes your timings of eating, exercising, sleeping, etc. Studies and my experience shows that small and frequent meal pattern works best.
Have nutritionally well-balanced meals - A diet with very low calories or a diet focusing only on the number of calories will never be a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet will be when the quality of calories (calories coming from which type of carb, protein, fat, and micronutrient sources) is also taken into consideration along with the number of calories. Even more important is balancing your calorie intake with the calorie expenditure.
Taking care of these three steps helps your body boost its metabolism to a level that further helps the body to initiate a healthy weight loss process. It's important to remember that you will never stay motivated for long. The only thing that will help you stay on the journey is your discipline and consistent efforts. During all the weight loss transformations that I have given in all these years, this is the only mantra that has worked for people. It has been a life-changing experience for most of them. Their way of looking towards life, their priority towards their health changed. Long story short work on changing your lifestyle and your daily habits rather than just focusing on fad diets to get that permanent weight loss. Else you will get stuck in that yo-yo trap (losing - gaining - losing) that will leave you frustrated. Eventually, you will stop believing your healthcare professionals when they say that it's possible,” she says.
Lack of basic humanity to reach out and help the underprivileged
Parul sheds light on the challenges faced by the healthcare industry, “ Even though our healthcare system over the years has evolved from a curative science, where we used to depend mostly on yoga and naturopathy to more of a wellness sector which now includes nutritionists, yoga therapists, fitness trainers etc. Still at a larger level there are some limitations that today's healthcare system faces :
Lack of Accessibility and Awareness - Healthcare is not accessible to everyone and everywhere and that is the biggest challenge. Healthcare is divided under two umbrellas in India; one is the private sector and the second is the public sector. It is the public sector, which has the maximum limitations and needs to be worked upon. To begin with there are limited healthcare professionals/providers who would volunteer to work on low salaries or who would have the enthusiasm to go out and help the low-income group people. Sadly money has become the driving force for everyone. Wanting to earn is not wrong but neglecting the fact that there are so many underprivileged people in our country who need our knowledge and support today. To practice what I preach, I am associated with NGOs like Indraprastha Sanjeevani and Foundations like THE OM FOUNDATION CHARITABLE TRUST where I extend my services voluntarily. To make an overall difference in the healthcare system or in the wellness industry, today's healthcare professionals need to think over and beyond just earning money. They need to have that compassion. The same limitation leads to a lack of spreading awareness towards the importance of health amongst these underprivileged.
Lack of Communication skills - Due to paucity of time most health professionals use readymade charts/handouts during consultations. Sadly that makes no difference in the patient's health. What makes a difference is how much do you customize the treatment for your patient/clients. Also critical is the way you communicate your knowledge to them. How well your client/patient responds to your treatment majorly depends on how understanding and empathetic you have been towards their limitations.
If we work towards these, definitely the healthcare and wellness system in our country has a lot of potentials to grow,” she says.
Don't believe in whatever you see, and hear
Parul explains, “When it comes to tips to lose weight, I would say:
Find the right professional - weightloss should not be a race that you have to finish at the earliest. Since it is a slow and gradual process it might get boring and difficult. Find the right professional who can hold your hand, and can help you understand your limitations, and help you get over them. The journey becomes very easy and fruitful. Don't believe in whatever you see, and hear - Even if you go to a professional, always ask questions to be aware. When you have a scientific explanation to your queries you will find logic in your treatment. That's when you should apply it to yourself. Understand your body - just don't blindly follow somebody or something which is being followed by many. It may or may not work for you. Your body is different so don't compare your body with anybody else's. Your body's metabolism, the way your body is going to respond to a particular diet or a workout regimen is going to be very different from the way any other body will respond to it.
So understand your body, and then take steps forward with the help of your professional. If you do this and ignore whatever the general public suggests you, you will never fall into a trap and you will be able to achieve the weight loss and the lifestyle change you wish to,” she says.
You can connect with Parul through:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page: Diet Expression
Contact no.: 9953988457
(Edited by Rabia Mistry Mulla)