A Holistic View on Weight Loss
by Dr. Grace Ravindran - Naturopathic Doctor
Latest medical research and results shows Obesity is considered as one of the five top conditions that is leading to death globally. Some of the alarming facts from WHO revealed that the worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these, over 650 million adults were obese.
Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than being underweight.
Globally there are more people who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Excessive body weight is associated with various diseases and conditions, particularly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis and asthma. As a result, obesity has been found to reduce life expectancy.
Causes of Weight gain
The causes of weight gain are many. It is very important to know the actual cause of weight gain in order to plan for a long term weight management programme. At an individual level, a combination of excessive food energy intake and a lack of physical activity is thought to explain most cases of obesity. A limited number of cases are due primarily to genetics, medical reasons, or psychiatric illness. In contrast, increasing rates of obesity at a societal level are felt to be due to an easily accessible and palatable diet, increased reliance on cars, and mechanized manufacturing.
Other causes include
Unhealthy diet pattern: Societies become increasingly reliant on energy-dense, big-portions, and fast-food meals, the association between fast-food consumption and obesity becomes more concerning.
Sedentary lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role in obesity. Worldwide there has been a large shift towards less physically demanding work, and currently at least 30% of the world's population gets insufficient exercise. This is primarily due to increasing use of mechanized transportation and a greater prevalence of labor-saving technology in the home.
Other illnesses: Certain physical and mental illnesses and the pharmaceutical substances used to treat them can increase risk of obesity. Medical illnesses that increase obesity risk include hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, growth hormone deficiency, and the following eating disorders: binge eating disorder and night eating syndrome.
Increased stress levels: Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, blood sugar drops and there is craving for sugary and fatty foods.
Inadequate sleep: Studies have shown that when people don't get enough sleep they have increased levels of “the hunger hormone”, ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.
A Natural intervention to fight weight gain
Prevention is better than cure
Overweight and obesity, as well as their related non-communicable diseases, are largely preventable.
Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices; by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest and most accessible choice, this aids in the prevention of these diseases.
At The Retreat Palm Dubai we aim to provide a fully integrated approach to wellbeing, allowing our guests a calm environment with a variety of accessible activities, experts and nutritional programmes to aid a healthy lifestyle.
- Follow a healthy eating style
Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fat and limit sweets and alcohol. Eat three regular meals a day with limited snacking. You can still enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as an infrequent treat. Try to follow a regular meal time and ensure that there is minimum 2hour gap between your dinner and bed time. Avoid processed foods.
- Go for intermittent fasting or 5:2 fasting
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days a week, then restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 calories on the other two days. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. When you fast, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. your cells also initiate important cellular repair processes and change which genes they express. Intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories, while boosting metabolism slightly. It is a very effective tool to lose weight and belly fat.
- Increase your hydration levels
There is actually truth to the claim that drinking water can help with weight loss. Drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz.) of water may increase the calories you burn by 24–30% for an hour afterward.Drinking water before meals may also lead to reduced calorie intake, especially for middle-aged and older people.Water is particularly good for weight loss when it replaces other beverages that are high in calories and sugar.
- Get Good Sleep
Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
- Physical exercises
A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day of any sort can aid in weight loss.
Physical activity in the form of structured exercise contributes to the creation of an energy deficit by increasing total energy expenditure, and this can promote weight loss. Going for options like Yoga will help in burning extra calories at the same time helps to practice mindfulness. If you are going for a high intense work out then 3 sessions of 30-45 minutes will be sufficient. Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health. It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease.
- Stress management
Bringing down the cortisol levels helps in aiding weight loss. This can be achieved through techniques like deep breathing, meditation, Yoga, music therapy, spending time with friends and family, gardening, taking care of a pet and so on. De-stressing can help you to sleep better, eat better, and have emotional balance.
It is very important to have a personalized weight loss program to be designed under supervision of a Naturopath or an expert as it is essential to know regarding the lifestyle, co-morbidities and the challenges in losing weight. Taking into consideration all the above points with good will power and motivation losing weight should be possible for all.
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