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One of the most major lifestyles conditions that is demographically seen afflicting millions across the globe. Obesity is said to be the major contributing cause for acquiring both diabetes and hypertension at a fairly early age during one's lifetime. Misplaced dietary priorities and a sedentary lifestyle are considered the major causes for developing obesity. As we grow, our metabolic rate tends to slow considerably, and our dietary requirements too are reduced quite a bit. However, the middle-age prosperity and limited mobility within the sphere of our home & office environment, make quite a lot of our routine dietary intake surplus. It is this surplus intake (against reduced physical activity) that results in a significant positive energy/calorie balance in our body. And, these excess calories are stored as 'fat' in our adipose tissue.

All our excess weight = excess fat (stored in adipose tissue). We all know that fat accumulates when we eat more food than what our body normally required. Yet we do allow it to accumulate, mostly our mid-life stage and beyond. Fat accumulation is a fairly long & gradual process, at times hardly noticeable for weeks & months. And, when we notice it , or are struck by a consequent medical condition, we suddenly get alarmed, and in undue distress, we step hard on any available weight loss program.

We all aim to lose weight much faster that the rate at which we had gained it over the years, and therein lies a behavioural (di)stress response, which indeed is the underlying reason for the failure of most dieting regimens, especially the rather tempting crash-diet fads ! Our bodies are intelligent. They follow straight-line metabolic directions consequent to dietary inputs. They sure don't want to lose any of their carbohydrates, fats or proteins. For them excess fat is NOT equal to undesirable weight. It is treated simply as an energy store for any food crisis that the body might face.

Losing weight is easy. Yes, it is indeed easy, if one is prudent enough to take a practical & viable approach to shedding all extra weight. If we lose just about 1 kg per month, we are in fact required to lose only about 1/4 kg ( yes, a mere 250 gms) per week. Surely possible with minimal of dietary & body-activity changes. Don't read the latter as 'exercise', if that frightens you.

Please note that it is absolutely imperative to set most modest and attainable weight-loss targets for oneself. Losing just about 1 kg per month, or about 10 kg in a year is indeed marvelous, unless someone needs to lose weight faster as per medical advice. Even if one weighs as much as 100 kg, and wishes to lose 40 kg, it is sane enough to begin gradually and target a 4-year schedule to attain it.

If excess weight is hurtling us towards accelerating morbidity, we MUST lose weight as an act of prioritized self-preservation endeavor, unless the uppermost thought in our mind is that we have already 'lived' & 'done' enough in our lives, and why at all should we bother to even attempt any minimal lifestyle modification to better our respective state-of-being. Such are of course extreme cases, though by no means rare.

Obesity isn't merely a cosmetic, social or psychological problem, and is the underlying causative factor of a host of bodily maladies. These include, orthopaedic problems, especially for the weight-bearing joints. Obese persons are all the more predisposed for being afflicted with gout, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and coronary artery disease. But, how does excess weight invite so many ailments. This is something that the busy & rather business-harried doctors just don't have the time to explain to their patients. Excess body weight is a potentially life-threatening condition over a period of time for the following primary reasons :

1. Body fat isn't a fat stored in an ordinary container. Once produced, it becomes an integral part of what we refer to as "adipose tissue". This tissue is very much a living & thriving tissue like any other tissue of the body. It has blood supply too, lots of it in fact. This poses a serious threat to cardiac functioning. Carrying your 25 kg overweight body around isn't quite the same thing as carrying a load of 25 kg over your shoulders. You carry the load-weight only for sometime, and if tired, you can always rest a while putting the weight aside. You don't and you can't do the same with your excess body weight. It is there with you ALWAYS, even while you sleep - those in reclining position the weight is gravity-neutralized, but the well-blooded adipose tissue remains very much inside the body. Do realize that just 1 kg of adipose tissue caries several kilometers long capillary bed inside it. And, if you are about 25 kg overweight, you add just that much more of the circulatory pathway through which your heart must propel blood 24 hours a day. Your excess weight does indeed tax the heart, and over a period of time your heart starts showing signs of this added strain. It is because of this strain that it starts generating more force to propel the blood through the extra/spare circulatory pathway. This force is constantly transmitted to the arteries. Arteries being much thinner than the heart (which in itself is like a huge blood vessel) resist the additional force of the propelled blood by thickening their arteries over a period of time. This begins to significantly enhance 'peripheral resistance' to the forcefully flowing blood, and thus heart has to exert all the more to overcome this resistance. Thus a vicious propulsion force & rheoscopic cycle comes into play - resulting in a gradually withering heart and rising hypertensive condition. This is a definite sort of circulatory distress situation that results in the development of circulatory pathogenesis even at a young age. If not checked, and if the excess weight isn't lost soon enough, a person falls easy prey to chronic hypertension, coronary artery disease (CAD), and a hypertrophied and partly failing heart.

2. Fat, in terms of excess weight, is redundant for us. But the body treats it as a welcome energy reservoir and maintains the integrity of this adipose tissue quite proactively. It is purely incidental that body requires the services of a hormone for maintaining the integrity of its adipose reservoirs. If the quantity of that hormone falls in blood, stored fat from the adipose tissue will be lost to the metabolic energy pool of the body. This hormone is INSULIN, just the same hormone whose principal role is to regulate carbohydrate (glucose) metabolism in the body with another antagonistic hormone GLUCAGON. Both these hormones are produced by the endocrine pancreas. As we keep gaining more and more weight, more and more INSULIN is required to maintain the essential integrity of the 'adipose tissue'. This causes a functional & physiological deficit in regard of the quantity of insulin required for glucose metabolism. The endocrine pancreas is strained to produce extra insulin to compensate for this deficiency. This added strain soon atrophies the insulin-producing cells of pancreas - DIABETES thus ensues. Thus, unless the excess weight is shed fast, a vicious physiological cycle comes into operation and worsens bodily health.

Obesity does remain a major and risk factor for contracting heart disease, allegedly the leading cause of death in the United States. If the clinical condition of a person so warrants, and one has to lose weight fast as per medical advice, one may have to resort to weight-loss (bariatric) surgery. Men and women may respond differently to bariatric surgery, though allegedly, women may have a lower risk of heart disease than men following such surgery. There may in fact be a significant reduction in the heart disease risk of morbidly obese persons after weight-loss surgery. It has been reported that women had a 41 percent reduced risk while men had a 35.6 percent reduced risk - a sort of gender-specific response and disparity in cardiac outcomes for patients undergoing bariatric surgery. It may well imply that women may have an enhanced mechanism of response to bariatric surgery, which leads to greater normalization of biochemical cardiac risk factors.

One can find innumerable diet plans and programmes over the cyber domain. Dieting for obesity is a very popular target area for lots of bloggers and YouTubers - and they have very wide, easy and rather eager and psychologically vulnerable audience to lap up whatever they say - and if if such 'dieting authors' do have an ulterior motive and promoting the sale of their 'diet' and 'weight management' measures either as a booklet, e-file, or even CDs. One can easily search for Atkin's diet, Low Carb diet, Ketogenic diet etc etc. Some of these work some of the times with some people who're resolved enough to stick to the programme, and stick well to a maintenance plan after they have reached their target weight.

If you are resolved to eat well (not necessarily diet) to manage your eat well, do bear the following essentials in mind :

ENEMIES OF WEIGHT LOSS

  • Not exercising at all or having a totally sedentary lifestyle.

  • Not sleeping at least 7 hours a day.

  • Skipping your breakfast or skipping food at any major meal-time.

  • Preferring food items with high glycemic index.

  • Often having episodes of hypoglycemia because of oral diabetic drugs or insulin shots.

  • Have poor control of your hypertension and/or diabetes.

  • Currently using corticosteriods for any treatment, or having to take these rather too frequently.

  • Taking anabolic steroids for any reason whatsoever.

  • Hypothyroidism.

  • Unduly worried (stressed) about NOT loosing weight rapidly.

  • Eating out quite frequently.

  • Have a very well stocked refrigerator or kitchen shelves.

  • Routinely taking tranquilizers or anti-anxiety pills.

REASONS OF WEIGHT GAIN OVER A PERIOD OF TIME

  • Calorie intake still the same but your basal metabolic rate & activity level has gone down with aging.

  • Post-pregnancy weight-management not well-maintained.

  • Irregular meal timings.

  • Outdoor life curtailed ... too much of time spent watching TV or working on PC/laptop.

  • Any hormonal (water-retention) problems diagnosed.