Now we all know that obesity is not only a cosmetic issue but is far more harmful. It is in fact the leading cause of hospitalizations and death the world over.

Visceral fat, the fat that gets deposited around our vital organs, is rarely visible to the eye and hence poses a graver threat to the humans. Thus a healthy looking person may also be having lots of visceral fat hidden inside his body. In order to tackle this huge problem called Obesity we have been in a perpetual search. Nowadays most scientists and doctors agree that Diet and Lifestyle change is the foremost solution for this problem. Changing our diet and lifestyle is totally within our hands.

How should we achieve this?

Self-discipline and a concerted effort need to be put in to achieve this goal. The diet and lifestyle changes includes,

Regular Exercise :

Physical activity plays a major role in control of obesity. Exercise, household work, walking, running, climbing stairs is a must for burning calories that we consume through food we eat.

Exercises like walking, running or climbing stairs (Cardio-exercises) increase blood circulation throughout our body. It increases our metabolism and helps in burning fat. Whereas Heavy body building exercises like weight training burn the excess fat and replace it with muscle mass thus helping in losing subcutaneous or somatic fat.

Does this mean that exercise is the only solution to lose weight or prevent gaining weight? Most definitely not!

Exercise is definitely important for healthy living but we should understand that All the calories we consume are not utilized and burnt at equal speed.

The excess amount of Fructose or vegetable oil, trans fats we eat from food gets converted directly into fats. And this fat is further accumulated inside our abdomen and around internal organs. It is called as belly fat/visceral fat. It is very hard to burn and use up by exercise alone. We need proper change in our diet and lifestyle to ensure that we do not accumulate more of this fat in our body.

Thus Diet and lifestyle changes are necessary as an adjuvant to the exercise for a healthy life. Now let’s see what kind of diet and lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent obesity.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes:

Diet and Lifestyle changes can be explained with some Do’s and Don’ts,

How to prevent Obesity

DON’TS
  • Avoid eating processed food or junk food as this food contains lots of fructose, vegetable oil, preservatives, salt and trans-fats. And all these ingredients are responsible for accumulation of visceral fat.
  • Avoid Sugary/sweetened beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks. They contain lots of sugar in the form of fructose which can cause accelerated weight gain.
  • Try to avoid keeping hot food into plastic utensils or avoid eating hot food/liquids from plastic containers to prevent seeping of Bisphenol-A (synthetic oestrogen) from plastic container into food. Being an Endocrine Disruptor Chemical, this Bisphenol-A can leads to obesity.
  • Do not eat foods rich in soya bean such as soya bean flour, soya paneer (tofu). Soya milk etc. Soya bean being a phytoestrogen can lead to obesity.
  • Avoid deep fried food like Potato wada, french fries, samosa and also keep use of vegetable oil in home cooked food to the minimum. Vegetable oil has very high quantity of Omega-6 fatty compared to Omega-3. Excess of Omega-6 without sufficient Omega-3 is harmful and cause obesity.
  • Avoid self-medication; Many over the counter medications such as Antibiotics can make one obese by killing helpful bacteria in the large intestine. The absence of such bacteria leads to rapid weight gain
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle: prolonged sitting at one place slows down the rate of metabolism and it becomes difficult to burn the fat accumulated in the body.
  • Excess Sleep or too less sleep are both also harmful for the body and play an important role in weight gain.
DO’S
  • Live an Active lifestyle with regular exercise such as taking a daily walk. This improves our metabolism and we can burn more calories and fats.
  • Prefer fruits and vegetables in your meals as opposed to junk foods. They are low density food with little contribution into body fat accumulation and also provide proper hydration to the body.
  • Eat foods rich in fibre such as Green leafy vegetables, banana, cucumber, carrot, broccoli etc.
  • Time your meal: Do not eat rapidly during meal. Because brain requires at least 20 mins for realizing the feeling of satiety. Rapid eating makes person tend to over eat due to lack of satiety. Always prefer and eat home cooked food over ready to eat foods stuffs or processed foods.
  • Replace regular sugar [Sucrose] with dextrose. As dextrose does not contain fructose ad hence the calories that the body gets from dextrose can be easily burnt.
  • Eat high protein food like Beans, Lentils, chicken, fish, eggs in more quantity compared to high carbohydrate or high fat foods like, Ghee, sweets (including those made in dextrose), corn, rice, wheat, cream etc.
  • Try to replace fried food with its roasted or baked versions e.g. Baked Wada/ baked Samosa, roasted fish instead of fish fry
  • Include more amount omega-3 fatty acids in diet. If required try to use cooking oils with higher amount of omega-3 compared to omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Take regular walk in morning sunlight to get adequate amount of vitamin-D. Sufficient amount of vitamin-D is necessary for healthy bones as well as for weight loss and many other vital processes within body.
  • Increase intake Probiotic foods in diet e.g. curd, Yoghurt, Kimchi as it increases the number of good bacteria in our intestine. Good bacteria protect us from getting obese.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating to remove pesticides sprayed on them. Pesticides act as Obesogens as they cause hormonal imbalance in the body.
  • Take adequate sleep during night time. At least 6 hours of sleep every day is necessary.
  • Use Paper cups or stainless steel containers for hot food/liquids. And replace plastic utensils with glass for microwave cooking.
  • Eat food slowly and chew it thoroughly as this helps in digestion as well as prevents weight gain due to early satiety.