A Dietitian’s Perspective To Easy Weight Loss
We are blessed with many hormones, each of which has its own unique role to play. There are hormones that help a woman menstruate and hormones that stop menstruation. Many of these hormones also, directly or indirectly, contribute to weight issues.
Most, if not all working youngsters will agree that weight loss is a dream come true. Some lucky people are born with extremely fast metabolism, which helps them to never gain an inch even after hogging everything under the sun. And then there is the vast majority of us, the underdogs, who gain weight just at the sight of someone else eating. It is for the second category that God has created dietitians. These are the blessed souls who make us eat lesser and lesser and promise us of the day when we can fit into our 5-year old dresses.
Eating less will surely melt away the weight. But what after all the weight is gone? Can we sustain such a minimalistic diet? In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO. Which is when we move into Phase 2 of our weight issues. Where the lost weight comes back with a vengeance. Then follows demotivation and then, binge-eating. If the weight is anyway going to stay, why not take it with a pinch of salt? Or better still, a tub of butterscotch ice-cream? Does that sound familiar?
What if we tell you that dieting need not be boring? What if we tell you that dieting will not lead to intense cravings for food? What if we tell you that dieting need not be an expensive affair? Most of you are going to tell me to go fly a plane. Well! The plane can wait.
If you want some inside dope on how best to design your nutri-goals, what are the do’s and don’ts for a successful diet, how to stay motivated to lose weight and the most important of all, whom to clarify your doubts from, read on.
We spoke to Vibha Hasija, Dietitian, about the effectiveness of diet in aiding weight loss. Ms. Vibha Hasija is Professor, Faculty of Dept. of Foods, Nutrition, and Dietetics, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai. She is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with 22 years of experience in the field of dietetics. She is also representative of the Mumbai Chapter of the Indian Dietetic Association and has trained many young professionals who now practise in different hospitals across Mumbai.
VineeWrites (henceforth referred to as VW): What is more important for successful weight loss? Diet or exercise?
Vibha Hasija (VH): Both have equal importance. While weight loss can be achieved by both individually, doing so creates a deficit in energy efficiency because we either would be eating less or expending more energy. But when both happen simultaneously — eating right thus creating a caloric deficit and exercising so that metabolism increases with muscle use, the effect is more holistic, sustainable, and powerful.
VW: Will skipping meals help me lose weight faster?
VH: Yes. It would. But temporarily. After a while, our amazing body turns miserly and slowly reduces the energy usage for various activities. We essentially end up spending lesser energy for the same activities, and our weight loss pace tapers off. Additionally, skipping meals may also lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can impact performance and could lead to deficits in nutrient intake. Always consult a professional nutritionist before embarking on any weight loss goal.
VW: Will losing weight the right way assist in managing medical issues? If yes, what medical issues can be managed/controlled with weight loss?
VH: The point here is achieving optimum weight — a measure that your nutritionist can decide.
Achieving optimal weight has huge preventive and therapeutic benefits for a wide spectrum of metabolic and lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid issues, liver diseases, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, and cancers.
VW: How much of weight loss per month is ideal and healthy?
VH: In most cases we look out for 2-3kgs of weight loss per month. It might be more in the initial periods because of loss of water. Weight loss more than that could also be achieved if medically indicated, with very strict monitoring of the patient.
VW: Can you bust 3 myths about dieting?
VH: There are many but if I need to stick to three then…
MYTH 1. Eating fat free is important.
FACT: Fats are important. Eating fat free can be dangerous because we need the right quality and quantity of fats for health.
MYTH 2. I just need to eat less.
FACT: You do need portion control but doing it without consulting a nutritionist might result in inadequate consumption of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), which may have deleterious long-term effects.
MYTH 3. Just taking a meal replacement is enough to aid sustained weight loss.
FACT: Weight loss is the result of eating right. It cannot be a success with only a single point of focus.
VW: If I am grossly overweight/obese, can I still expect to come to a healthy weight with the right dietary guidance?
VH: Absolutely. Sometimes the "ideal" weight may not be realised but a healthy weight can.
VW: How do I identify the correct dietitian for me?
VH: A nutritionist must have a qualification (preferably a post-graduation) from a good university. Having wide experience is of course a plus. Care has to be taken to avoid consultation with those who have done diplomas shorter than a year with less credibility.
VW: Should carbohydrates be completely avoided from our meals for more effective weight loss?
VH: Never. Nothing should be completely avoided. They should just be taken in the right amounts.
Complete avoidance could lead to serious metabolic issues
VW: How can I ensure I stick to my diet?
VH: Just like we stick to any life decisions. We need to remember the reasons to eat right. And that comes from the magic combination of will and mindset, support from family and friends, and a good nutritionist. We can write a book on this topic. For this, each of us has to find our own way. We need to hold on to the preciousness of our body.
VW: Can dieting also assist in weight gain for thin people?
VH: Yes. The right diet and nourishment can optimise weight and muscle and strength and fitness for all those who are over or underweight
VW: Any message to our readers?
VH: We need to understand how life will be with the correct weight and health as well as how inadequate life will seem with long term disease. We have to find our guiding lights who will help us achieve good health and fitness. We may have ups and downs in our journey to health — but that is OK because that is how life is. But we must never let go. Each nutritionist will share many strategies that will help. Ultimately, it is up to us.
Now that many of our queries have been answered, let us look at some interesting, scientifically proven facts about weight loss
- Did you know that during weight loss, 84 percent of the fat that is lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs, whereas the remaining 16 percent becomes water? This study was published in a special Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal in one of their 2014 editions. No wonder we sweat so much while we workout.
- An interesting read on the Mayo Clinic website published on March 28, 2018 says that because 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat is around 3500 calories, it's estimated that you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. Sweat!Sweat!
- Another stellar article was the one published in the Scientific American on May 15, 2006. This goes on to state that throughout most of their lives, females have a higher percentage of body fat than males. By 25 years of age, for example, healthy-weight women have almost twice the body fat that healthy-weight men have. It is more difficult to shed fat from the pelvis, buttocks and thighs.
- Being short on sleep can cause weight gain. Yes. WebMD has an article from the year 2016, which states exactly that. Owing to erratic work schedules and less attention to fitness, women tend to have sleep deficits very often. This is one of the major contributors to weight gain. So, to lose weight faster and keep it away, snooooze.
I do hope this article has helped clear many common doubts in women about dieting and weight loss. I thank our honourable dietitian, Ms.Vibha Hasija for taking time out from her busy schedule to answer our questions.
As for our readers, we have a special gift. Do share your detailed views on this article. The best 10 comments will be eligible for a 10% discount on their first weight loss consultation with Ms. Vibha Hasija via email.
If you liked reading this article, stay connected for our next article on Bariatrics. This is the medical field where weight corrections are done surgically for not just cosmetic reasons but also for those who are morbidly obese in order to improve their living conditions and for longevity.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Vineetha