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Obesity does not occur overnight, neither can it go away so easily. However, it can be managed with long-term commitment and dedication to healthy weight management.
Essential Steps for Fighting Obesity
Medicines, surgery, or weight loss devices can treat your obesity, but you have to sustain the benefits through a healthy diet and a regular fitness routine.
1. Manage your diet
Your daily diet plays a central role in causing as well as treating obesity. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid foods and drinks with high fat and calorie content, including alcohol, which can cause unhealthy weight gain.
Opt for healthy and nutritious food items that give energy without tipping your calorie count on the wrong side.
You may try diet plans such as calorie-restricting diets and intermittent fasting.
a. Calorie-restricted diets
Calorie-limiting diets include low-calorie but nutritionally adequate food items to reduce calorie consumption. This induces a negative energy balance without burdening the metabolism to prevent further weight gain.
Your doctor may suggest an ideal calorie intake based on your weight, physique, and extent of daily activity. Calorie-restricted diets offer 1,200–1,500 calories per day to women and 1,500–1,800 calories per day to men. (1)
b. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting or intermittent energy restriction is a group of time-based eating techniques that are supposed to increase calorie expenditure. One of them is alternate-day fasting, where calorie consumption is reserved for “feeding days” and is balanced with “fasting days.”
The extended periods of fasting create a calorie deficit, thus stimulating the body to increase fat oxidation for energy production, therefore leading to gradual weight loss.
While this is the broad explanation for how intermittent fasting engenders weight loss, there is a need for further analysis and risk assessment to understand its safety and mechanism.
2. Perform physical activity
For a healthy weight loss diet to deliver its desired results, pair it with regular physical exercise. Frequent exercise helps boost your metabolism, develops a negative energy balance, and supplements your weight loss efforts.
You can easily tailor your workout by using health apps or seeking the help of health trainers at gyms and fitness centers. If you are trying exercise for the first time to counter obesity, do so with proper guidance.
It is natural to experience some degree of body ache and soreness in the initial days of physical training, but consult your health provider if you develop any serious and prolonged bodily issues.
Home Remedies for Obesity and Weight Loss
Medical treatment for obesity can be combined with some home remedies that can give you a helping hand in your weight loss journey.
1. Consume natural drinks that may help to boost your metabolism
The acidity in lemon comes from citric acid, which in small doses, can help your body melt excess body fat. The high vitamin C content boosts metabolism and aids digestion by detoxifying the body.
Lemon is also a good source of vital nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B, and minerals, including calcium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Thus, including lemon in your diet can help improve your overall nutrient intake while supporting obesity management. (2)(3)
How to use: Prepare a weight loss drink by squeezing half a lemon into a glass of warm water, and adding a drop of honey to it for better taste and extra health benefits. Consume this tonic on an empty stomach every morning.
Note: Lemon seeds, if consumed in large amounts, can be toxic and can induce adverse effects. Thus, make sure to weed out the seeds when extracting lemon juice.
Lemon juice is loaded with the antioxidant vitamin C which can help stimulate sluggish metabolism, assist the body in purging harmful free radicals from the system, and enhance digestion. The better your digestion, the greater calories you will burn.
b. Aloe vera
Current research points to the weight-loss-inducing properties of aloe vera.
How to use: Try aloe vera juice as a weight loss supplement every day for a month to see favorable results.
Aloe vera is relatively hard to break down and uses up more calories in being digested than it actually provides, thus, creating a negative energy balance favoring weight loss.
c. Green tea
Green tea or Chinese tea is a popular drink for weight loss, with a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for the same.
The caffeine in coffee and varieties of tea can also aid in reducing the extra body fat and lowering the BMI in patients with obesity. (6)(7) Moreover, green tea consumption can help in managing the comorbidities of obesity, including hypertension and high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
How to use:
- You can prepare a soothing cup of green tea either with tea bags or loose tea leaves that are easily available in the market and consume this beverage every day.
- You can also talk to your doctor about starting you on a green tea supplement.
d. Honey and cinnamon
Honey possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and metabolism-boosting properties that can help induce weight loss when used as a complementary aid to other anti-obesity measures.
Cinnamon derives its medicinal value from cinnamaldehyde and gallic acid, which make it an effective antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifier. Cinnamon may help limit your food intake by curbing your overall appetite, promoting better digestion, and addressing metabolic syndrome.
How to use:
- Simply add one teaspoon of cinnamon to a cup of water, and boil it for a few minutes.
- Add some honey to the tea to make it more palatable and healthy, and drink it while hot.
- Consume this cinnamon-honey tea twice a day to aid digestion and speed up weight loss over time.
Cinnamon and honey work great together for promoting better digestion, faster metabolism, improved satiety, and natural body detox, all of which can help in the management of obesity.
There is some evidence to suggest that moderate consumption of coffee without sugar may help promote weight loss by accelerating metabolism while curbing the appetite, but further studies are needed to understand the exact mechanism behind this claim. (6)(7)(15)
Bear in mind, however, that coffee is a stimulant that can adversely impact your sleep and keep you up at night if consumed in excessive amounts. Loss of sleep can pave the way for unnecessary snacking, sugar cravings, and other detrimental health effects that trigger weight gain.
How to use: Make coffee part of your regular diet but drink no more than 2–3 cups a day.
Regular coffee consumption can help promote satiety and metabolism, thus making you eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the foundational principle for losing excess weight, and coffee can help you with that if taken in recommended amounts.
2. Add these spices to your diet to aid weight loss
a. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne is a moderately hot chili that is known for its thermogenic effect on the digestive system.
It gets its pungent taste from capsaicin and capsiate compounds, which are believed to oxidize stored body fat and promote negative energy balance. Thus, cayenne not only adds extra zest to your food but is also a unique agent for weight loss. (16)(17)(18)
Fennel is a flavoring herb believed to reduce water retention in the body by increasing urine output. Besides its purported diuretic properties, it may also aid metabolism, thus helping weight loss.
The health virtues of fennel can be traced back to the essential oils, fatty acids, phenylpropanoids, coumarin, tannins, flavonoids, monoterpenoids, and sesquiterpenes present in it. (19)
Whole flaxseeds contain a good dose of dietary fiber in its outer husk, which promotes healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Furthermore, flaxseeds can help fight inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of cardiovascular ailments. (20)(21)
Ginger is a known thermogenic and derives its pungency from its chief components, gingerol and 6-shogaol. The consumption of ginger generates heat in the body, which can help reduce accumulated fat and increase energy expenditure.
While these home remedies carry some degree of scientific backing and considerable anecdotal support, there is a need for more large-scale studies to conclusively establish their exact mechanisms and efficacy for reducing weight.
Lifestyle Changes Recommended for Obese People
Here are some beneficial lifestyle habits that can help you win over obesity:
1. Consume sufficient amounts of water
Consume sufficient amounts of water throughout the day to limit overeating by keeping you full while also detoxifying your body.
2. Get restful sleep every night
3. Never skip breakfast
Never skip breakfast as it is considered to be the most important meal of the day, especially for those struggling with obesity. (26) Starting your day with a high-protein, high-fiber, energy-packed meal can keep you full for a long time and provide energy without increasing your calorific load.
4. Consume more fruits and vegetables
Consume more fruits and vegetables as they are abundant in antioxidants that fight free radicals and mitigate oxidative cell damage. For this reason, consider adding carrots, grapes, peaches, figs, whole grains, and leafy greens to your diet.
5. Manage stress
Make concerted efforts to manage stress, which is one of the precursors for unhealthy eating and undue weight gain.
6. Eat in smaller plates
Eating in smaller plates can help make one feel full faster and thereby prevent overeating. (27)
You can only serve a small portion at a time, but you will often find that you can satisfy your hunger by eating much less than you are used to. Besides, you may consciously eat less to avoid multiple servings. (27)
7. Practice slow, mindful eating
Practice slow, mindful eating to monitor your calorie intake and avoid overeating. You must stop the minute you feel satisfied, rather than mindlessly eat till your stomach is heavy. (28)
Rushed eating always makes you consume more than your appetite since you don’t pay attention to your body’s signals. Chewing slowly gives your body time to register satiety, and often makes you full quicker than you expected. (28)
Prevention of Obesity
One of the principal ways to avert obesity is avoiding emotional eating. Emotional eating refers to finding comfort and fulfillment in food and can be the reason behind obesity.
Here are some ways to avoid emotional eating:
1. Use the hunger scale
This involves rating your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 referring to extreme hunger, 5 indicating neutrality, and 10 representing overly full.
If you are at a 2 or 3, you can start feeding yourself. However, eating with a score above 5 represents eating due to emotional reasons, which needs to be avoided. Thus, the hunger scale can make you better attuned toward real hunger and emotional cravings for food that result in overconsumption.
2. Start a food diary
A log dedicated to your food habits can be helpful in controlling emotional eating.
Through a journal, you can recognize those instances that lead you to binge eat along with the emotional and psychological conditions. It can also serve as a recorder of your food cravings and schedules.
3. Change your mode of resistance
Feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, etc., can lead to emotional dependence on food. One way to break this loop is to analyze your reasons for overeating and deal with them in novel ways. Cut yourself some slack and go for a conversation, or think through your problem and its root cause.
Most-Asked Questions About Obesity
Can a person with obesity still have a healthy pregnancy?
Women with obesity are generally advised to lose weight before they try conceiving since excess body fat and a BMI of 30 or above can cause complications in the pregnancy. However, obesity-related pregnancy issues can be reduced to an extent through normalizing body mass, mindful eating, and proper exercise during pregnancy.
Also, expecting mothers should go for regular health checkups and consult their ob-gyn regarding specific clinical requirements for childbirth. (29)
What is obesity hypoventilation syndrome?
Large fat deposits in adipose tissues can burden the diaphragm and respiratory passage, resulting in an obstructive respiratory disorder known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS).
OHS causes labored breathing, insufficient blood oxygen, and increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, also known as hypercapnia. The excessive stress on breathing can also affect the respiratory centers in the brain. Therefore, it is a potentially fatal condition that requires immediate medical aid.
A balanced diet, regular exercise, and behavior modification therapy are the primary non-surgical methods that aid in weight loss and maintenance. However, if these fail to provide benefits, you must consult a doctor for weight loss programs, treatment, and associated health concerns.