Obesity: 6 Myths That Are Preventing Your Weight Loss
What’s the difference between being chubby, overweight, and obese? Well, being chubby could simply mean you are 4-6kgs heavier than your ideal body weight. This approximation is loosely defined and varies from culture to culture and ethnicity to ethnicity. However obesity, and being overweight are serious health issues that need deeper understanding.
The Difference Between Overweight & Obesity
Classified more scientifically, a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is used to determine whether they are simply overweight, or they are obese. If your BMI is between 25.0-29.9, you’re considered to be overweight. Anything above a BMI of 30.0 puts a person in the obese category, warranting they take immediate and strict measures to lose weight.
Within your BMI, the body composition is also important. This is a further break down of your BMI value. It is to understand how much of your body weight is muscle mass, bone mass, body water, and what’s your visceral fat (most dangerous kind of fat) percentage. The higher your fat percentage, especially visceral fat, the more your organs are under pressure from all the excess weight you are carrying.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity, according to NHP, is a ‘condition where a person has accumulated abnormal or excessive body fat that causes negative effects on the health’. Obesity is usually considered to result from an incorrect ratio of calories consumed and calories spent for energy. Once believed to be a problem of high income countries, now overweight and obese population riddles low and mid-income countries too.
According to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS-4), every third woman (34%) living in Mumbai was found to be overweight or obese; as against the same survey in 2005-06 where the number was pegged at 27% in the 15-49 years age group. Men in this survey fared far worse; 18% men were pegged to be overweight or obese in 2005-06. The figure in 2016 doubled and stood at 35% in the 15-49 years age group.
Exclusive Expert Speak: Dr Sharad Sharma, Hiranandani Hospital
With alarming numbers which are only increasing year-on-year, obesity is proving to be a serious health concern in today’s world. In order to fight against this lifestyle problem, we must understand the facts and myths that surround it.
Breath & Beats caught up with Dr Sharad Sharma, Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgeon of Hiranandani Hospital, for a health exclusive. He sheds some light on obesity so that you can seek medical intervention at an appropriate time and prevent unwarranted weight gain.
Myth #1: If You Don’t See Weight Loss With Exercise, You Don’t Need To Workout
Obesity Fact: The truth is, while weight loss is more about diet than exercise, a good workout will help you keep the weight of in the long run. It will improve your body composition, regulate blood circulation, tone your body, and make your heart healthier. Exercise is an important part of weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle in general.
Myth #2: Obesity Is A Side-Effect Of Skipping Breakfast
Obesity Fact: Clinical trials that studied the outcomes of eating versus skipping breakfast, showed no effect on weight in both the groups. So, it does not matter if you have breakfast or not; what matters is the change of habits. While going from skipping breakfast to eating breakfast, are you putting on weight? If yes, it would indicate that your total calorie intake increased without much change in your physical activity. This leads to weight gain. So if you choose either of the options, skipping or eating breakfast, it must be accompanied by appropriate physical activity. It translates to more calories spent versus consumed.
Myth #3: A Fruit Diet Or Vegetable-Rich Diet Will Result In Weight Loss
Obesity Fact: It is true that the consumption of fruits and vegetables has health benefits. But unfortunately, when it is not accompanied by increase in physical activity, weight gain may still occur or there may be no change in weight at all. Instead of restricting yourself to one or two food groups which will lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long run, it’s advisable to eat a balanced diet that’s calorie-counted for weight loss. Of course, physical activity, especially increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat, can help accelerate weight loss.
Myth #4: If You Lose Weight Fast, It Will Come Back
Obesity Fact: A recommendation to lose weight slowly might give poorer results in the ultimate success of weight loss efforts. One may feel less motivated and more likely to get derailed from their diet and exercise routine. Choose a pace you are comfortable with. Losing weight fast, slow, or gradually is dependent from person to person. The idea is to do it in a healthy manner. No starvation, and guided by a health professional who is a licensed supervisor.
Myth #5: Bariatric Surgery Is Risky & Only Recommended For Extremely Obese People
Obesity Fact: While bariatric surgery has proven to be the most effective weight loss method for morbidly obese patients, it is also meant for the ‘not-so-obese’ people. It helps with type-2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOD), Obstructive Sleep Apnea, etc. If diet and exercise fail, bariatric surgery is a safe option for those who want to lose weight.
Myth #6: Being Overweight Or Obese Is Genetic So It Can’t Be Prevented
Obesity Fact: Any weight gain needs lifestyle support; unless there is excessive calorie intake, weight gain cannot happen. Even genetically predisposed obesity can be controlled and prevented. It can be achieved with proper dietary modifications, appropriate physical activity, and regular consultations with your doctor. If your side of the family is prone to being overweight, it is always advisable to create an environment of healthy eating, better lifestyle choices, and physical exercise for the next generation by making yourself a model example. It will help you break the cycle and prove to be beneficial for the health of your family.
Breath And Beats #RealStories
with Dr Sharad Sharma
Mr Carlos D’Souza, a Marketing Manager in Oman, migrated from Mumbai 5 years ago and lived a good life. The problems began 3 years ago. A good job, relaxed social life, and minuscule familial responsibilities became too good to be true. He started putting on weight, from his original weight of 80kgs, he went to 165kgs in just three years. Consequently,he developed diabetes, and asthma as well. And now he could hardly walk a few 100 meters before he got breathless. His job required him to be on the field for 8 hours a day, and that started becoming increasingly difficult. The story is not one of its kind; many of us may have seen ourselves, our friends and acquaintances experience similar weight gain issues.
The solution of course lies in prevention. But, if that would have been easy, 10-15% of Indians would not have been overweight! The hallmark of living a healthy life is to eat a balanced meal and to maintain a good amount of physical activity. As for Mr D’Souza, well the best option for him was to undergo a Bariatric Surgery followed by a doctor prescribed diet and activity plan. It changed everything for him; in a year, he lost 85kgs, his blood sugar normalised and he did not need asthma medications any more. The best part, he could marry his childhood sweetheart!