It is considered the first step to being afflicted with disorders like diabetes, some cancers, heart diseases, strokes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and gout, among others.
Scientifically, anybody whose bodyweight is 20% higher than normal is considered obese. In terms of BMI (Body Mass Index), anything over 30 is considered obese.
The most common cause of obesity in the current generation is the sedentary lifestyle we lead. Poor dietary and lifestyle choices lead to obesity and eventually towards the plethora of related illnesses.
How Can You Avoid Obesity?
We are always advised to "eat less" to avoid being obese. But we need to understand that "what" to eat is more important than "how much" you eat. A balanced diet consumed in limited portions at regular intervals throughout the day is the key to an optimal weight.
So, what are the foods you should avoid? Are there any "Don'ts" to follow? Let's take a look at them.
Refined Sugars and HFCS: Let's face it. Our body does not need white sugar. Our body needs carbohydrates, yes, but not in the form of refined white sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup or HCFS (found in processed sweet foods, like soft drinks, breakfast cereals and bars, pastries, etc).
Our body can take up carbs from the grains and cereals that we eat. Simple sugars will result in a spike in insulin levels and give your body empty calories, sans the nutrients. In the absence of equivalent physical activity to burn up these extra calories, the carbs will be converted into fats and stored in the body.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners Like The Plague! Don't fall for the "Zero Calorie Sweetener" ads. Agreed, that the sweetener has no (or very less) calories, but it comes with its own baggage of health hazards and more importantly, increases your brain's craving for real sugar. And the vicious cycle starts all over again!
Don't Shun Fats, Eat "Healthy" Fats: Is there anything like a "healthy fat?" Yes, there absolutely is! Our body requires fats. It is an essential nutrient. But all fats are not good.
So what constitutes a good fat? Olive oil, coconut oil, butter (from organic milk) and most organic, cold-pressed (unrefined) nut oils are a good source of fats that your body requires. The bad ones to avoid are the trans fats.
Do. NOT. Starve. Systematic starving of your body through fancy diets will only lead you on a dangerous path to gaining more weight.
And Finally, Exercise! Optimize your exercise regimen. Don't overdo. If you avoid the "fattening" foods mentioned above, you can also cut down on your physical activities. Play a physically demanding sport or involve in a fitness activity you enjoy, instead of hitting the gym. This is a fun way of working out.
Introduce organically grown raw veggies and fruits in your diet. Drink lots of water. Sit down to eat and savour your meal, instead of rushing through meals as if they were a mundane chore. Planning your meals also helps avoid cravings at odd hours. Sleep soundly and meditate for at least 15 minutes every day. All these will go a long way in helping you avoid obesity and staying fit, mentally and physically.