Obesity is a common condition that is often neglected and overlooked but can lead to serious health issues. Between 2015 and2016, it was found that about 93.3 million adults in the US suffered from obesity. In 2016, there were more than 1.9 billion overweight adults worldwide. Out of this 1.9 billion, 650 million were obese. Obesity was initially considered a first world problem, but now it is prevalent in developing countries as well.
The effects of obesity
Obesity has adverse effects on a person’s mental and physical health. It can lead to high blood sugar, which in turn increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. The excess fat may sometimes build up around your liver and cause liver disease. High blood sugar increases your risk of a heart attack. It is also linked with causing Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, a digestive disorder where the stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus as it flows back into it.
Obesity also causes your joints to be strained from excessive pressure, causing complications like osteoarthritis. It also increases the risk of cancer of the colon, gallbladder, ovary, breasts, etc. Obese people often suffer from depression and body image issues. It decreases the overall quality of life and hence should be dealt with effectively to improve your mental and physical health.
A healthy lifestyle can prevent obesity and the various diseases associated with it from adversely affecting your day to day life. Doctors, educational institutions, businesses, and individuals must come together to create a society that promotes healthy living. Efforts can be made from early childhood to promote healthy eating and physical activities. And all of this should be done in a planned manner to achieve the best results.
The food industry can also contribute to these efforts by reducing the amount of sugar, salt, and fat present in processed foods. Foods that are meant for children should not be high in sugar and fat. The food industry can ensure that healthy food choices are available to the general public.
At an individual level, efforts can be made to reduce the intake of fats and sugar and take part in physical activities regularly to keep your weight in check. One should come up with a diet plan for weight loss to shed the extra fat from your body and improve your overall health. There are several diet strategies you can follow to lose weight.
The Paleo Diet
This diet plan for weight loss, also known as the Caveman diet, is based on the principle that modern diseases are linked to a Western lifestyle and aims to revert to the diet followed by our ancestors who were hunter-gatherers. It is a weight loss meal plan based on fresh food like fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, and lean meat.
Processed foods are a strict no-no on this diet plan. It forbids the consumption of wheat and dairy, as well as potatoes, salt, peanuts, beans, and refined vegetable oil. This diet restricts the intake of sugar and salt. Individuals on a Paleo diet can drink green tea and black coffee, but soft drinks and juices with sugar added to them are to be avoided. This diet plan also promotes regular exercise.
Paleo diet has some health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, etc. But following this diet may lead to calcium and Vitamin D deficiency due to the removal of dairy products from your diet.
The Mediterranean Diet
While strictly speaking, this is not a diet plan for weight loss, studies have shown that combining this diet with exercise and calorie restriction leads to weight loss. It incorporates the food that people living in the Mediterranean region of Italy and Greece used to eat. It is based on the observation that people living in these regions have fewer cases of deaths caused due to coronary heart diseases.
The diet encourages one to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. White meat, beans, and eggs are an integral part of this diet, but red meat is limited. Consumption of healthy fat sources such as olive oil is encouraged, while trans-fat and saturated fats have no place on this diet plan. Dairy products should be taken in moderation, as well as the occasional glass of red wine. Physical exercise and sharing your meal with your family and friends is encouraged.
This dietary strategy is the best diet for weight loss. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, it was found that this strategy leads to 3-8% weight loss over 3-24 weeks, which was considerably higher than the other weight loss methods.
There are various methods related to intermittent fasting, but the basic principle remains the same. It aims to restrict the amount of time you spend eating. It is characterized by simple and easy to follow methods like skipping breakfast or not eating anything after dinner.
While it is a safe enough method for healthy adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with low weight, eating disorders, and low blood sugar should consult a professional before starting intermittent fasting.
Low Carb Diet
This diet plan for weight loss is one of the most popular ones out there. This diet limits carbohydrates and focuses primarily on protein and fat. Protein is useful for controlling your appetite, increasing metabolism, and conserving muscle mass.
This diet plan aims at cutting off items from your diets such as sweetened beverages, sweets, cakes, biscuits, and cereals. It encourages the consumption of all kinds of meat, fish, vegetables that are grown above-ground, cheese, cream, eggs, nuts, and seeds, etc.
This weight loss meal plan can improve blood sugar and insulin levels and also reduce the risk factors of heart diseases. It has also been found to be effective in reducing belly fat. However, it may lead to digestive complications in certain individuals, as well as causing a raring condition called ketoacidosis where the body starts breaking down fat at a rapid pace.
The General Motors diet or GM diet aims at reducing your weight in the short span of a week. This diet plan for weight loss is characterized by the intake of different food on different days of the week.
It encourages you to stay hydrated and drink at least eight glasses of water each day. The first day of the GM diet instructs you to eat only fruits the entire day. You can eat any fruit except bananas. The second day is for vegetables only. On the third day, you can have fruits and vegetables, except for bananas and potatoes. The fourth day requires you to eat only bananas and milk.
You can have meat on day five, along with tomatoes. This day also requires you to increase your water intake. Further, increase your water intake on day six, as well as having meat and vegetables, excluding potatoes. On the final day of the week, you should eat only brown rice, fruit juice, and vegetables. While there is no solid research to support this diet plan, it is flexible and easy to follow.
Some people argue that the best diet for weight loss is a plant-based diet that restricts all animal products. While some plant-based diets are flexible enough to allow for the occasional animal product, the most popular ones like vegetarianism and veganism restrict the use of animal products for health improvement as well as for environmental reasons.
Meat, poultry, and fish have no place in a plant-based diet. Since animal products are high in calories, eliminating them from your diet may lead to weight loss. Plant-based foods are rich in fiber, and so they can help you stay full or a long time.
This diet plan for weight loss also encourages you to stay fit and active. While it has been proved to be a foolproof way of losing weight, it may lead to a deficiency of certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids and iron.
The DASH Diet
The DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is aimed at preventing high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. This diet plan for weight boss instructs you to limit the consumption of red meat and sugar while cutting back on trans-fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
It encourages individuals to eat more vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy. You can also have fish, poultry, nuts, and whole-grain. It aims to lower the level of sodium in your body. Chips and sweets are a big no-no. Individuals are advised to drink skim milk instead of full-fat milk. Fruits could be added to your meals, but canned fruits with added sugar are prohibited.
The Indian Diet Plan
Indian foods contain various that can help you keep your weight in check. Indian spices have anti-oxidants and essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties that aid in digestion. Beans and lentils, which can be found in almost all of the diverse cuisines in the subcontinent, are rich in fiber, which helps reduce weight. Pickles also contain antioxidants and fiber. A weight loss meal plan solely based on Indian food can be
Drinks such as lemon water and amla juice are rich in Vitamin C and have the potential to burn fat. The vegetables in India are mostly locally grown and are low in calories. Cumin and fennel seeds boiled in water can aid in weight loss. You should eat fresh fruits and vegetables in this diet. It is also advisable to stay hydrated and get enough amount of sleep to keep yourself healthy and fit.
Weight Loss Food
No matter which diet plan for weight loss you are following, you should always be careful about what you put inside your body. Different foods have different effects on your hormones and metabolism. Ideally, you should stick to foods that are low in saturated fat and high in nutrients. You should also consume less sugar and salt.
Eggs, although thought to be h8igh in cholesterol, can help you lose wet since they increase fullness and prevent an individual from eating less. They are dense in protein and fat, and the majority of its nutrients are found in the yolk.
Green vegetables are an integral part of every weight loss meal plan. They are rich in fiber and low in carbs and calories, which make them ideal for a weight loss program. Green vegetables are also rich in calcium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and help your body burn excess fat.
Fatty fishes like salmon, trout, sardine, and herring are rich in protein and healthy fat. Seafood is rich in iodine as well. Salmon fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. They also help in improving metabolism and controlling obesity.
Lean meat consumption is a great way to reduce weight, no matter how many times meat has been blamed for obesity and excess weight gain. Processed meat is not good for you for unprocessed meat can aid you in staying healthy and fit. Meat is high in protein, which is quite filling and may prevent you from craving for food frequently.
Avocados contain good fats and are loaded with monounsaturated oleic acid. They contain a lot of water and fiber and hence are low in energy density. Low energy density means you will consume fewer calories, which in turn will help you in losing weight.
Losing weight takes a lot of dedication and self-control. You have to let go of the foods that you enjoy but are bad for your health. Form a weight loss meal plan and stick to it diligently to get the best results. Cheat days are inevitable and can help you maintain the diet plan for a longer period, but restrictions in the diet must be imposed if you want to lose weight and reduce the risk of diseases. Furthermore, you must stay physically active to lead a healthy life.