If someone is overweight or obese, they are at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers hence energy balance is important for maintaining a healthy weight and that is what we are trying to understand through our series on Healthy weight awareness.
Fatima Radhanpurwala, Founder, Nutrivision Wellness. She is a Registered Dietician and a Diabetes Educator.
Considering the scale is not a great idea to decide whether the person is healthy or unhealthy
Fatima shares her thoughts on healthy fat and unhealthy thin, “Many people are curious that their weight is not going down on the machine, but the inch loss is happening, so that is where healthy fat and unhealthy thin comes into the picture. We need to first check the body composition (BCA) of the person since the body comprises of not only fat but also muscle, water, and bones. So once we do the BCA, we get to know how much fat that person is carrying. The normal range for men is around 20 maximum and for females is 30. So we need to analyze whether it's on the higher side or the lower side. Sometimes the person has a perfect weight, perfect BMI, but there are chances that they have a higher fat percentage than the muscle percentage, so even that is unhealthy. So just considering the scale is not a great idea to decide whether the person is healthy or unhealthy. Even when losing weight, it happens that one does not lose much on the weighing scale, but they may lose inches, which means that they are losing fat, so even that is a great sign and the person should not lose hope,” she says.
A balance between diet and exercise
Fatima explains, “The best way to lose weight is to have a balance between diet and exercise. Some people fast or eat only salads as a means to lose weight faster but such type of weight loss is not sustainable in the long run. As there will be one point in time; you will think I need to go back to my regular life. So when planning your diet. plan according to your lifestyle, like your work habits, eating habits, sleeping pattern, also plan to prepare a meal or a daily meal for you along with exercise which is suitable for you. Sometimes people start doing some exercises which they don't want to do, but just to lose weight, they do it. But after they lose their weight, then leave it. So plan a basic meal that has a good amount of fiber, protein, a comparatively lower portion of carbohydrate as per the activity level. So that would be the ideal diet and will show good results and it's sustainable. So once people start practicing it, they can enjoy their meals, they can enjoy their cheat meals if they want to. Hence there is a need for balance and then there must be a motivation to continue,” she says.
Health and wellness industry is booming in India
Fatima shares her thoughts on challenges faced by the health and wellness industry, “People are more aware of health and wellness, which is a good attitude, but the challenge what we face as professionals is that people have too much information and over information sometimes is not great. There is a lot of misinformation in that information, whatever they know, from their friends, from the people who have tried their own techniques and methods, through the websites which are not authorized or a trusted source, and they have their own bunch of questions - Why not this? Why this? When they come to us, they have a mindset of all the data material and advice given by their friends and families that I want to do this even though we prescribe something else and that is a huge gap that occurs between the client and the professional. So we have to reduce that gap with counseling, break their myths, explain to them why it is so along with getting them into the process of weight loss and giving the proper diet. Second is a trend that flows in the market like someone is on a detox to lose weight, someone is following intermittent fasting, so every technique shows the results, but again, not one size fits all. So then we need to analyze whether it is appropriate for the person. Also, each category needs to be treated differently, so we have both the challenges in both urban and rural, the scenarios are different, the things are different, their problems are different, our problems are different,” she says.
Mantras for weight loss
Fatima shares her mantra for weight loss, “My mantra for weight loss is:
Good hydration - Most of the time people don't hydrate themselves at least two to three-liter of water is compulsory. More fiber - like fruits, vegetables, sprouts compared to your chapatti and rice, so they give you more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Avoid heavy dinners - like we Indians have a practice of having a good lavish dinner when we are together at home, so make the dinner light Cut down refined sugars and carbs - like biscuits, maida, extra sugar Physical activity is important - be it walking, playing, running, or just climbing stairs. Whatever the person likes to do they should start doing it apart from the daily course.
So that will be the five tips I would like to give,” she says.
(Edited by Rabia Mistry Mulla)