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A healthy body weight is closely related to overall health. An obese person is at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. On the other hand, being underweight is also a health risk.

Various measurement tools like Body Mass Index (BMI) and WHR (waist-to-hip ratio) are good ways to gauge whether your weight is in healthy proportion to your height. However, for an accurate understanding of healthy body weight, it is always advisable to consult an expert.

India Today spoke to Nutritionist Shikha Dwivedi who talked about maintaining a healthy body weight without resorting to fad diets.

While fad diets seem attractive to people due to claims of accelerating weight loss without any physical effort, these diets actually eliminate essential nutrients from your diet.

“The reality is that no diet can be considered the ‘ideal’’ as this differs according to the individual’s lifestyle, age, gender and other factors,” says Shikha Dwivedi.

Managing healthy body weight is about adopting a clean and holistic lifestyle that includes a balanced diet with all essential nutrients, daily physical activity, and managing mental health and emotional well-being.

1. BALANCE IT OUT

The way a car needs proper fuel for non-stop functioning, our body needs a balanced diet to stay in shape and develop properly. Thus, a balanced diet is necessary for the right amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients including protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Your daily diet should contain whole grains (healthy carbs), and leafy vegetables (fibre, vitamins and minerals) along with nuts and seeds, which are a great source of healthy fats. Ensure that every meal consists of protein as it keeps you fuller for longer and provides all-day energy.

Fad diets exclude many essential nutrients, putting us at high risk of becoming ill and may even cause several health problems (like weakness and fatigue, nausea, headache, constipation, etc.) if we continue them for a prolonged period of time.

2. PRACTISE PORTION CONTROL

It’s important to have the right portion of macronutrients and micronutrients on your plate. The portion size should be calculated based on how many calories you plan to consume in a day.

The plate method is a simple way to control portions and ensure you’re consuming the right amount of daily macros and micros. For this method, your plate should measure 9 inches in diameter.

a. Fill half the plate with vegetables, whether they are cooked or tossed in a salad. Ensure you choose non-starchy veggies like peppers, broccoli, leafy greens and tomatoes.

b. Fill a quarter of the plate with lean protein such as legumes and lentils.

c. Fill the remaining quarter of the plate with complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains.

However, in order to lose weight, it is important that you follow a calorie-deficit diet. A calorie deficit happens when the number of calories a person consumes in a day is less than the number of calories they burn.

Taking expert guidance from a nutritionist, it is advisable to customise a plan according to your goals and requirements.

3. SWITCHING TO A PLANT-BASED DIET

Research has found that plant-based diets may be more effective in weight management and these also help in other health improvements, including lower rates of cancer, reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood glucose, and lower risk of diabetes amongst others. Hence, switching to a plant-based diet can help improve holistic health while helping you maintain a healthy body weight.

The plant-based diet focuses on consuming foods sourced from plants and avoiding processed food items. Highly processed foods like sugary drinks and deep-fried foods are high in calories and low in essential nutrients. So, a plant-based diet can safeguard your body by eliminating such foods with low nutritional value.

You can also opt for a plant-based protein powder to make up for your daily protein requirements and to manage healthy body weight with all-day energy. However, do ensure that your plant-based protein is clean i.e., free of harmful ingredients like preservatives, artificial sweeteners and additives.

4. STAYING ACTIVE EVERY DAY

Consumption of nutritious foods alone does not suffice. We should be more active throughout the day while following a healthy eating pattern. The right amount of physical activities, including walking, jogging and cycling, helps lose weight. Ensure to pack in at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity.

5. GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

If you’re trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as important as your diet and exercise. Mounting evidence shows that sleep may be the missing factor for many people who have difficulty losing weight.

Lack of sleep is not only one factor that contributes to obesity, but research also suggests it negatively affects hunger levels, influencing a person to consume more calories from high-sugar and high-fat foods.

It affects hunger hormone levels, increases ghrelin (a gut hormone), which makes you feel hungry, and decreases leptin, which makes you feel full. Hence, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily may help maintain a healthy body weight.

Author

India today