Diet & Obesity

Diet & Obesity

Your calories should come from a balanced diet that contains the major food groups of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. If you want to lose weight you must expend more calories than you consume, but this is best done gradually as radical crash dieting will be hard to maintain and will actually cause your metabolism to slow down, making it harder to shift the weight.

To determine whether your weight lies in the healthy or unhealthy range, you need to work out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement used to determine how healthy your weight is in comparison to your height.

BMI can be calculated using a formula but it can also be done quickly and easily using a new healthy eating mobile phone app developed by Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar as part of the Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign. The app, available for both iPhone and Android, can also be used as a calorie counter and lists all common foods. It is the first app ever developed to include data on Arabic foods. The app is available in both Arabic and English-language versions and can be downloaded from the iTunes store and Google Play – just search for ‘Your Health First calorie counter’. Best of all, the app is free, and very easy to download and use so do it today.

To calculate your BMI manually, divide your height in meters (m) by your weight in kilograms (kg) squared. So, if you weigh 80kg and you are 1.80m tall, your calculation will be 80 ÷ (1.80 x 1.80) = BMI 24.69

The normal, healthy range for BMI is 18.25 to 25. If your BMI is between 25 and 30, you are classed as overweight, and if your BMI is more than 30, you are obese. A BMI of more than 35 indicates severe obesity and a BMI of more than 40 is classed as very severe obesity.

If you calculate your BMI and find that you are obese, consult your doctor for advice on how to safely lose weight.

Tips to help you lose weight:

  • Cut easy calories first. Fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade contain large amounts of sugar and calories. Switching to water is an easy way to lose lots of calories from your diet with no real effort.
  • Don’t pile your plate high! A portion should be about the size of your own fist and your meals should consist of a portion of protein such as chicken, a portion of carbohydrate such as rice or pasta, and a portion of vegetables for essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Eat breakfast and include a little protein, such as an egg. Your body breaks down protein more slowly than carbohydrates, so you feel full for longer. A good breakfast is a boiled egg, a slice of toast and a piece of fruit.
  • Eat small and often. The old-fashioned routine of three meals a day leaves too much time between meals to get hungry and encourages overeating and snacking. Instead, eat four to five smaller meals spread evenly throughout the day.
  • Treats should be occasional, not every day. Craving delicious cakes, pastries and chocolate is natural, and they should be enjoyed now and again. But once a week, indulge in a treat rather than every day.
  • Beware of the huge amounts of calories in fast food. A typical burger, large fries and a large coke can contain up to 1,300 calories – more than half of the daily calorie allowance for a woman in just one meal.
  • Sugar can turn to fat. Carbohydrates and sugars you consume that are not used will be converted to fat and stored by your body.
  • Eat slowly. It can take up to 20 minutes for your body to release the hormones that tell you that you are full so don’t race through your meal.
  • Get into the kitchen. Take control of the food you eat by preparing it yourself.
  • Drink plenty of water daily. A glass of water taken before a meal will help you to feel full up sooner. Water also helps your metabolism to function and helps you to digest food – aim for 10 to 12 glasses a day.
  • Don’t obsess over using scales. When trying to lose some pounds, don’t be discouraged by small changes, either way. Your weight will fluctuate, day to day, which can be discouraging at first. Stick to your regime and checking your weight only once every two weeks.
  • Watch out for hidden sugars. Many processed foods contain large amounts of sugar, even if they are savory. Check the labels on packaging.
  • Know the facts about fats. Some fats are bad for your while others are actually beneficial to health. Saturated fats found in butter and lard are harmful, while unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish are good for you.
  • Choose lean meats such as the white flesh of poultry and limit the amount of fatty red meats like mutton and beef to once or twice a week.
  • Don’t eat before bed. Calories consumed just before sleeping can lead to weight gain by being turned into fat.
  • Keep track of the number of calories you are consuming every day with the Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar mobile phone app developed as part of the Your Health First: Sahtak Awalan campaign.

Remember, it’s your life, your future, Your Health First.