How to cut down the extra weight
Overweightness and obesity are huge problems, especially in today’s society where junk food is easily available and at affordable prices.
In 2016, 1.9 billion adults were overweight with 650 million of them being obese- accounting for 39% and 13% of adults who were overweight and obese, respectively. In the same year, 41 million children under 5 years of age were overweight.
Overweightness and obesity refer to having an excess fat accumulation in the body that may lead to health impairment.
How do you know whether you are overweight or obese?
You have probably heard of, or read, the term BMI somewhere. Body Mass Index (BMI) is what determines whether one is overweight or obese. The World Health Organisation (WHO), defines these two terms as follows:
Being overweight is having a BMI of greater than or equal to 25 while obesity is having a BMI of, above, or equal to 30.
It is however, important to know that BMI is only a rough guide because it may not apply to every individual in the same way due to differences in weight and height.
To be sure of your BMI, have your weight and height measured, and then from that you can calculate your BMI, and know what weight to maintain.
The BMI in children is different from that of adults.
Causes of Overweightness and Obesity
The contributing factors to being overweight or obese vary from one individual to another. However, there are some common factors that lead to these weight issues. They include:
- Diet: The increased intake of foods that are high in sugars and fats is an important factor. The number of fast food outlets continues to increase daily in many parts of the world. Fast food is becoming increasingly available and affordable. This has contributed immensely to an increase in the number of people being overweight and obese. Not only fatty foods lead to weight gain. Drinks high in sugar content, such as beer, wine and soft drinks, can also contribute to the problem. Foods high in sugar content, such as potatoes, beans and rice can, if eaten in excess, also contribute to overweightness and obesity.
- Physical activity: The lack of being physically active due to the change in the modes of transportation, urbanization and the increase in formal jobs has greatly increased the number of people who are overweight and obese. Many people, especially those in the formal business environment, go to work using private or public means of transport which are easily accessible, then sit at work for most of the day, and then go home using the same means of transport. This lack of physical activity makes it easy for fat to accumulate in the body because they are not being burned.
Poor diet and the lack of physical activity may be the major contributors to weight problems, but they are certainly not the only factors leading being overweight or obese. Other factors include:
- Genetics: One can inherit genes from obese parents that make one more likely to be obese. The effects of inherited genes can however, to an extent, be controlled by maintaining a healthy diet and so not signalling the genes that lead to one being obese
- Insulin Resistance: When the body digests foods containing carbohydrates, two things happen. First, glucose is released into the bloodstream and second, the body produces insulin. Insulin helps to get the glucose into the body cells and also to control the amount of glucose in the blood.
Insulin resistance is a pathological condition in which the body is not able to use the insulin properly. When that happens, the body is not able to control the amount of glucose in the blood, and the body’s blood sugar levels become too high.
Insulin resistance can, in time, result in type 2 diabetes. One of the causes of insulin resistance is diet – foods too high in harmful fats and sugars.
- Some pharmaceutical medications: such as diabetes drugs, and antipsychotic and antidepressant medications can lead to being obese and overweight because they alter the functioning of the body and brain making the body store fats instead of using them.
- Leptin Resistance: This is brought about by the leptin hormone failing to function as required The hormone fails to do what it is supposed to do – send signals to the hypothalamus to alert someone to stop eating when the stomach is full.
Health-related issues of Overweightness and Obesity
Overweightness and obesity raise many health issues given that they are causes of many diseases. Here are some health issues:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Some types of cancers such as Colon, Kidney, Prostrate, Breast Cancer
- Cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart diseases
Children who suffer from obesity are likely to die prematurely, have breathing problems, get diabetes, and suffer fractures.
Parents should ensure that they monitor their children’s diet so that the children learn to eat healthily from a young age and maintain a healthy body weight.
Psychological Consequences of Being Overweight or Obese
Apart from the physical conditions that one can get from being overweight or obese, the mental health of a person can also be affected. Many people suffering from overweightness and obesity have low self- esteem and anxiety.
They may begin to feel negative about themselves because of their physical appearance and because they see people looking down upon them and talking about them when they are in public. This can lead to more overeating because of depression, and more weight gain, and so the situation gets worse.
Being sensitive towards overweight and obese people and not discriminating against them because of their weight, can help reduce the negative psychological effects they might suffer. Feeling loved and cared for can assist them in their struggles with overweightness and obesity.
How to Lose Weight
The interesting fact about overweightness and obesity problems is that they are manageable. It may not be easy for most people, but it is doable.
Over the past few decades, weight problems have become a major crisis, leading to a lot of expert research, which, in turn, has produced much information that can help those who are struggling with weight loss.
Some tips you might consider, include:
- Check your diet:This is one of the best ways to deal with being overweight and obese. Limit your intake of sugars and fats and ensure you eat more vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, etc. Remember to include fruits and lots of water in your diet as well. Water and fruits will help in your digestion.
- Physical Activity: Remaining active physically will help you burn excess fats and maintain a healthy weight. A 30-minute walk daily and a few at-home exercises could really help in keeping you active. It is not essential to find the time to go to the gym and do hard workouts there. You can do exercises yourself at home.
However, if you can get to a gym, it is also a good way to lose weight, especially because you will most likely find people there who have gone for the same reason – to lose weight. You can give each other moral support. It is advisable however, to ensure that you get a good gym instructor who will understand your weight loss goals and help you through the journey.
Quitting the following habits may also help you lose weight:
- Eating amnesia: This mostly happens when a person is watching television and doesn’t realize just how much food or snacks they have has had. It is advisable to be aware of one’s food consumption.
- Stress eating: This is the eating of food to reduce stress or depression. Instead of stress eating, finding something else to focus your energy on is often helpful, like sports, working out, talking to people, watching a movie, doing your hobbies.
- Excessive drinking: This can lead to being overweight or obese because of the calories contained in beers, wines and other soft drinks. You may find it helpful to drink less of those and in their place, drink more natural juices, herbal tea, water, and other drinks that help in losing weight.
If you have tried the weight lose tactics suggested above, and have still not succeeded in losing weight, IMT can assist you in accessing treatment options at our partner hospitals to help you in your weight loss journey.
Surgery may be an appropriate treatment option for you. There are different types of Bariatric Surgery you could have, including:
- Gastric Bypass: In this surgery, the top part of the stomach is joined to the small intestine. This makes you feel full sooner and helps prevent the absorption of many calories from the food you eat.
- Gastric Band: This surgery involves placing a band around the stomach which helps you to feel full after eating less food.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy: Part of the stomach is removed in this surgery and, like in the other two surgeries mentioned, you eat less to get full.
It is nevertheless important to note that, even after these surgeries, you will have to maintain a healthy diet, because you may begin to gain weight again if you continue with the same eating habits as before.
Remember that overweightness and obesity make it more difficult to fight diseases, so maintaining a healthy weight not only helps keep away diseases but gives you a better fighting chance if you are attacked by an illness.