In today’s time, body image is a concern for all of us. Social media has led to a trend of having a perfect body shape which is difficult to achieve but not impossible. However, it takes consistency and patience to achieve your goal. What comes quick, leaves quick too. We always find ways to lose weight as fast as we can without realizing the harmful effects it can have on our health. It is important to know the required amount of weight that needs to be shed and also the right way to get rid of it.
In order to understand weight changes in your body, it is important to know about your energy balance. Energy is another term for calories. A balance of energy/calories means that the calories you consume are equal to calories you burn through physical activity. This is how you maintain weight. If the calories you are consuming, are more than you burn then it leads to weight gain. If calories consumed are less than what you burn then it leads to weight loss. So for weight loss, you need to have your calories in balance with your physical activity.
Body Mass Index
BMI is a screening tool to assess the amount of fat or body weight that you have. It tells you if your weight is desirable according to your height or not. It also tells you the category of obesity in which you fall if you are obese.
To measure BMI = Weight (kg)/ Height (m2)
Less than 18.5
|Desirable body weight|
Obesity grade I
Obesity grade II
Obesity grade III
If you are underweight it means you have a poor diet. You are not providing your body enough calories and nutrients. Your body relies on the dietary components for its better functioning. It can be due to causes such as dieting, intense exercise, lack of access to food, body type, etc, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Without sufficient energy and nutrients, body functions are compromised and it leads to complications such as
- Vitamin Deficiencies and anemia
- Decreased immunity and increased vulnerability to infection and illnesses
- Growth problems
Overweight and Obesity
The main cause of obesity is eating more than what your body requires. It can also be due to underlying conditions such as hypothyroidism. Obesity is a leading cause of all major diseases such as hypertension, CVD, renal problems, diabetes, etc. it comes with excessive deposition of fat in the adipose tissues. People who are obese have high LDL and cholesterol in their bodies that can badly affect health. There are two types of body fat:
Android: It is apple shape obesity or excess fat in the trunk or abdomen area.
Gynoid: It is pear-shaped obesity or excess fat around thighs or buttocks.
Dietary Management for Underweight
- Increase kcal, around 500—1000kcal to actual kcal required.
- Add supplements
- Increase portion size
- Eat calorie-rich snacks
- Consume 3 main meals and 3 snacks
Dietary Management for Overweight/Obesity
- Easy short term weight goals
- Increase physical activity
- Include one fruit at lunch
- Reduce 500 kcal from actual kcal requirement
- Reduce portion size
- Weight loss should be gradual and safe
- 1200 kcal/day for women to lose weight
- 1400-1500 kcal/day for men to lose weight
- Weight loss of 0.5-1 lb/week is safe