The truth about weight loss
Sad, but it is true that nothing short of correct eating and adequate exercise can bring about fat loss. Note that I have used the word fat loss and not weight loss because weight includes water weight, bone weight, muscle weight and the fat weight. When you are trying to lose weight make sure you lose only the fat and none else.
“But I cannot diet” may be the first retort that comes your mind (especially if you are a male.) At this point we are not talking about a ‘diet’ (read starvation) but we are talking about a lifestyle, a life long habit of correct eating which makes your body healthy. You can eat foods of your choice (read, junk food) occasionally, but mainly you must pamper your body with what it deserves i.e. good nutrition.
Mumbaikars are well read and well travelled and are aware of most aspects of nutrition. For instance we all know that substituting meals with liquid protein formulas is unhealthy.
But what most people don’t know is that liquid protein powder supplements are potentially dangerous because they may dehydrate an individual, (by causing rapid water loss not fat loss) cause ventricular arrhythmia, (irregular heartbeat) affect the kidneys, cause electrolyte imbalance and can even prove ‘fatal’. Such supplements are not balanced in nutrients because ‘real’ food contains a whole range of known and unknown nutrients; in the correct proportion and balance, which powder supplements can never provide.
Many years ago we did get influenced by the west and a lot of people joined a popular weight loss program which gave powder supplements to drink instead of regular Indian meals. Many people lost weight rapidly and their health as well. The company closed down. Then came gadgets. All gadgets promoted for ‘weight reduction’ purpose or for ‘spot reduction’ should be viewed with suspicion.
To quote a paragraph from the American book ‘Nutrition : Principles and Application in Health Promotion’ by Carol Jean West Suitor and Merrily Forbes Crowley : ‘The FDA states that all of the following are fakes :
- “Passive” or “effortless” exercise machines,
- “Body-wraps” and other sweat inducing garments,
- Massagers promoted as spot reducers, and
- Any other gadget represented as capable of changing ones figure or physique without proper diet and active exercise.
Then came the age of amphetamines and feufluramines, which are appetite suppressant, which cause weight loss by reducing appetite. They came in with their own set of side effects such as anxiety, depression and excessive appetite after stopping them. These were again borrowed from the west & they developed a reputation of being dangerous and addictive. Please note these ‘diet pills’ are not to be mixed up with herbal medicines, which are ancient to Indian culture. Dr. Deepak Chopra in his book ‘Perfect Weight’, states “The herbal preparations Ayurveda recommends cannot even be referred to as drugs in the usual sense of the word”. He further clarifys “Herbal supplements, on the other hand, can be of great benefit in weight control without the negative side effects of conventional drugs”. He also adds, “Ayurvedic herbal supplements are useful for weight control as part of an overall strategy that seeks to balance the individual at all levels-body, mind and spirit”. But make sure you have an ayurvedic doctor guiding you regarding the medicines and dosage.
Our culture is slowly getting obsessed with thinness. Our teenagers now understand that being fat is undesirable. So they starve themselves of whole some foods and when hunger catches up with them, they binge on nutrient deprived junk food. With the result they don’t gain weight, but lose out on health. This effect on health cannot be seen at a young age (because the body can sustain abuses remarkably well at this age.), but in the later years lack of whole some food (like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, whole pulses, milk, eggs) robs them of essential nutrients and precipitate problems such as low immunity, low energy, susceptibility to frequent coughs and colds, asthma, allergies, and later on cancer, diabetes, heart disease early menopause, depression etc.
Weight-obsession is a silent epidemic spreading slowly but surely in our culture. While it is definitely advisable to be the ideal weight by following correct eating pattern and a lifestyle most suitable to your individual metabolic needs; it is incorrect to use protein formulas, and sweat inducing wraps, and gadgets promising weight loss without proper diet and exercise. The answer to correct weight loss lies in increasing physical activity and eating foods as close to their Natural State as possible.