|Intentional weight loss is a deliberate attempt to lose weight. Although there are many programmes to help lose weight, the only proven long-term and safe method is to burn more calories than are ingested. This is achieved either by reducing the caloric intake (eat less food or healthier food) or by increasing the energy expenditure (exercise more). Often, behaviour modification techniques like eating smaller portions are also used to help control eating habits. Once the weight is lost, these habits can be modified slightly for weight maintenance.
One pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound a week, a person should consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week. This can be done by reducing the daily intake by 500 calories per day (500 x 7 days will provide a deficit of 3,500 calories per week). To lose 2 pounds per week, a deficit of 1,000 calories per day is required. If this seems impossible, physical activity also contributes significantly to weight loss. The deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can come from a combination of increased physical activity and reduced intake on a daily basis. Therefore, one does not need to experience significant food deprivation. The lowest intake per day recommended for females is 1,200 calories, unless they are in a medically-supervised, very low-calorie regimen which may have a daily level of 500 to 800 calories per day. The lowest level recommended for males is 1,500 calories per day. A very low-calorie diet can also be used by males if they are in a medically-supervised programme.
A key to weight maintenance and weight loss is to increase daily activity – things like taking the stairs, rather than the elevator or walking rather than driving when possible make a real difference.
Few tips to bring about weight loss as well as ensuring good health:
1. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grain products like wheat.
2. Increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates like whole wheat, millet (jowar) and barley (bajra)
3. Restrict refined products such as flour (maida) and its products such as bread, noodles, macaronis and pastas in regular diet
4. Restrict fat and cholesterol rich foods. Only non-vegetarian foods (like eggs and dairy products) are good sources of cholesterol, however saturated fatty acids present in butter, ghee, vanaspati and coconut get metabolised to cholesterol in our body
5. Reduce the amount of sugars consumed
6. Consume raw fruits and vegetables in form of salads and raitas in every meal. These provide adequate vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fibre is essential as it aids in digestion, has an effective role in managing obesity and cardiovascular problems
7. Limit salt intake
8. Have small portions of food at a time
9. Do not skip meals
10. Have regular meal timings
11. Do not eat while cooking and watching television
12. Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) in a day
13. Exercise regularly. Do brisk walking at least for 20-40 minutes in a day
The best exercises that are sustainable and safe to loose weight are aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises usually involve vigorous exercises sustained over a period of several minutes and their effect is to increase the efficiency of the lungs, heart and blood circulation, which are collectively known as the aerobic system. Short and sharp bursts of activity which rely on the body’s reserves of oxygen do not produce a similar improvement. Exercises should increase strength and mobility and also aid relaxation. You can choose walking, swimming, bicycling as per your fitness level and increase gradually. You should plan on 20-minute sessions at least 3 times per week. Gradual changes in eating habits will help encourage a permanent lifestyle change. A slow weight loss of 1 or 2 pounds a week, until the desirable body weight is reached, is best.