Mr JP weighs 102 kg. He stands at a height of 1.7m. His body mass index (BMI) is 35.3. He is obese. He admits that he has excess abdominal fat. He, however, notices every year that he partakes of his church fasting period that he loses weight, about 3-4 kg in six weeks. He gains back about 5-6 kg after stopping his fast…
There are several schools of thoughts regarding weight loss or weight management. Some of them are healthy while others aren’t.
Many dietary compositions have gained commercial relevance, draining the individuals of their money, yet they do not derive satisfaction.
The truth is this; losing excess fat is as simple as – A, B, C. Daily, the average adult needs about 2000-2500 KCalories of energy from food intake to maintain their weight and carry out daily activities.
A. If the individual eats the expected food intake or more and does not carry out commensurate physical activities or just does routine and basic activities, weight gain sets in. This is the case of persons who enjoy to fill their stomach but dislike to exercise. Such persons may be used to sending people on errands rather than do some things themselves
B. If the individual eats more than the excepted average and carries out more than the daily recommended physical activity, weight loss is possible. This is the case of some athletes. A documentary on an Australian multiple award-winning swimmer revealed that he ate about 4000 KCalories of food daily. He swam 5 hours everyday. He lost all the fat despite eating a lot. He burnt the food he ate through DISCIPLINED AND REGULAR MODERATE- INTENSE ACTIVITIES.
C. If the individual eats less than the daily recommended food intake and carries out recommend daily activities. weight loss is expected. This is the case of Mr JP during his fasting period. He does his routine activities despite eating less. This explains his weight loss.
D. If the person eats less than daily recommended food intake and carries out more than the daily recommended physical activity, weight loss is more rapid. This is recommended for obese persons. While the average, normal sized adult, is expected to do 30 minutes of moderate exercises to maintain shape and cardiopulmonary endurance, the obese individual needs to do 1 hour of similar exercises.
Therefore, to lose excess fat;
1. Be disciplined.
2. Get a bathroom scale to monitor your progress.
3. Cut down on sugars ( soft drinks, candies, cakes), reduce intake of fatty meals (beef, pastries, et cetera)
4. Eat more of vegetables. They will fill your stomach and give you a feeling of satisfaction. They add little to your weight because of the low calories content.
5. Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol contains more calories than carbohydrate diet. 1 g of alcohol provides 7KCalories of energy while 1g of sugar (carbohydrate) gives 4KCalories.
6. There may be a need to see a dietitian or nutritionist.
It is not too late. Do not give up. Now you know what to do. Go and lose the excess fat.
Dr Ademola Orolu is a Consultant Family Physician. He holds the Fellowship of The West African College of Physicians. He is also an Associate Fellow of The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. He is in active clinical practice. He is a writer, a patient advocate, and has a passion for health education. He is the Medical Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nathaniel Health Consulting (a family hospital), Matogun, Ogun State. He is the editor-in-chief of The Family Doctors. He can be contacted via email@example.com