If you look at yourself in the mirror and think that you are looking fat, this is the time to start working in the direction of a slimmer self.
Obesity is a disease, resulting in high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, venous edema, insulin resistance due to more fat, increased atherosclerosis resulting in more heart attacks and brain strokes, hypoventilation resulting in less oxygen in the blood and a host of related problems.
The incidence of obesity is on the rise in India, with sedentary lifestyles, mostly deskwork, availability of fast food and continuos supply of junk eatables and beverages, which are high on calories and fats. In fact MacDonald’s and Pizza Huts in the USA have contributed in making the US population look extremely prosperous and added to their body fat.
Over the last 20 years, during my annual academic sojourn to the USA, I have noticed an increasing population of obese people there. It is difficult to find a slim American unless he is a fitness enthusiast or has fallen on bad times. On the contrary, the Paris population is slim in a majority because being the fashion capital of the world, it is ingrained in the minds of people there that SLIM is LIFE and BEAUTY and OBESE is UGLY and DISEASE. Obese Parisians are so ashamed of themselves that they do not venture out on the streets unless they have shed their fat.
Here’s what we can do to shape up:
Diet: At the top of the list is eat less. Eat to live; do not eat a full stomach, end your meal when you are 75% full. It is better to start with some raw vegetable salad. This will give you vitamins, very little calories and importantly will feel filling so that you consume lesser calories and fats.
Exercise: Walking everyday for 30 minutes is good unless there is a contraindication. It is better to buy a treadmill, as we may not have to time to dress up and go for a walk. Do wear proper walking shoes, as it helps prevent arthritis.
(The concluding part of this column will appear next week. The writer is a senior consultant cardiologist practising at Care Hospital, Hyderabad)