Nutrition and Weight Guidance
Obesity and its Causes
The amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories which are burnt during daily activities determines our body weight. However, there are several other factors which cause obesity. These are:
- Physical inactivity
- Emotional or psychological issues
- Diet rich in calories and fat
- Some medical problems/medications
BMI or body mass index is a number which takes height and weight of an individual into consideration and is calculated accordingly. An ideal BMI ranges from 18.5 – 25. If it is less than 18.5, then it is considered underweight. If it is in the range 25-30, then it is considered overweight. BMI crossing 30 is considered obese.
Required Calories To Maintain Ideal Weight
There is a formula known as the Harris-Benedict equation which is used by physicians to determine the caloric needs. This equation gives a basal metabolic rate, the amount of calories required to preserve body functions such as respiration, heart rate, brain function and body temperature. The figures given by the equation are based on averages of the population. Individuals with muscles may need more calories than what is given by this equation. Individuals who are overweight or obese may need lesser calories. On an average, women need approximately 2000 calories per day, and men need 2500 calories per day for maintaining weight. For weight loss, 500 calories per day needs to be subtracted along with increasing physical activities in order to lose weight.
Ideal Nutrition and Diet for Maintaining Ideal Weight
A healthy and balanced nutritious diet consisting of 3 meals per day including all types of food, i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and less fat, oil and sugar etc. is needed for losing weight or maintaining health weight. Foods such as fried foods, high in fat and sugar, snacking in between meals, sugared drinks and sodas, etc. should be eliminated from your diet if you intend to lose weight or maintain an ideal weight. Appropriate portion sizes should be taken, second helpings should be avoided and as well as eating between meals should be avoided if one wants to maintain ideal weight.
Impact of Drinking Alcohol or Wine or Beer on Weight
The body absorbs alcohol very rapidly after its intake. As it is a toxin and there is no place to store it in the body, it is used as an energy source instead of carbohydrates and fats resulting in accumulation of the excess carbohydrates and fats which is not used as energy and is stored as fat. This causes slower weight loss. So, it is advised to avoid alcohol for weight loss; however, it can be taken on a rare occasion.
Why Mediterranean Diet Helps Maintain Ideal Weight?
The Mediterranean diet is the diet pattern of the Mediterranean region of Europe, (Italy, southern France and Greece). Mediterranean diet consists of farm fresh foods and is helpful in maintaining healthy weight. The Mediterranean diet stresses on the following:
- Plenty of food from plant sources such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grain cereals and breads.
- Very slightly processed foods.
- Fresh fruit is eaten for dessert.
- Primary source of fat for cooking is olive oil.
- Daily fat intake is 25 – 35% of the total calories.
- Low fat dairy products are consumed in moderation.
- Moderate amounts of fish and poultry.
- Consumption of red meat in very less amounts, i.e. a few times in a month.
- Only 4 whole eggs in a week.
- Wine is ingested in low to moderate amounts.
- Plenty of daily physical activity, as they were farmers and rigorously worked daily.
- Three nutritious meals per day should be eaten.
- Fried and fatty foods, snacks and drinks loaded with high sugar should be avoided.
- Always eat single portions.
- Concentrate chiefly on nutritious food like vegetables, fruits and lean protein to maintain the right weight.
- Fruits, vegetables, chicken and fish should be the principal food groups in your diet if your intent is to maintain ideal weight.
- Lite popcorn and vegetables with low fat dip can be taken for snacks.
- Plenty of exercise and physical activity is a must for healthy weight.
- If you consume 15 chips in a day, (equivalent to 150 calories or a small bag), you may gain 15 lbs. in a year. So keep this point in mind before picking up those tempting chips if you intend to maintain ideal weight.
- 3500 calories is equal to 1 lb. of weight. So, if you decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, you will be losing 1 lb in a week.