In the past few years, an increase in exposure to social media has given rise to the trend of celebrity style bodies, due to which there has been a noticeable jump in people trying to follow fad diets/unhealthy diets, and self-styled workouts, which do more harm than good.
While being thin or lean shouldn’t be one’s only aim, unfortunately, many women now associate fitness with weight loss due to such trends. There has been a surge in ‘body image’ issues among women recently, as most of them are ridiculed for their body type due to the rise in infertility concerns among couples, which makes them psychologically disturbed and depressed about their body weight and further forces them to achieve instant results. But women need to understand that they are unique and beautiful in their own way, and weight loss cannot help them become healthier. One can weigh more than someone else and still stay healthy; weight is just a number, but what matters is your body composition, which measures your percentage of muscle, body fat, and type of metabolism. So, rather than chasing your weight, understand and follow healthy behaviours, and change your approach to health today by following the tips listed below:
Stay hydrated: You can add a dash of lime or fruit infused water if you feel nauseous, or soak garden cress seeds or chia seeds, which have great health benefits if tolerated.
Never skip breakfast: According to recent research data, skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain or obesity and an increased risk of heart disease and death. A wholesome breakfast can keep you energised the entire day and is critical to meeting your daily nutrient needs. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it allows you to break your overnight fast.
Ensure adequate intake of calcium: As you age, your estrogen level drops, a saviour hormone in women responsible for their health till menopause that helps in maintaining bone health. Hence, it’s important to consider an adequate supply of calcium and vitamin D to achieve strong bones. Sources: curd, almond milk, soya and its products, dairy if tolerated, leafy vegetables, fish with bones, apricots, sesame seeds, etc.
Consume balanced meal: A nutrient-rich, balanced diet that provides your body with protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and fats can help you stay healthy. One can include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to ensure a balanced diet. Additionally, one must restrict junk, processed foods, and added sugar as they increase the risk of heart disease and obesity. Avoid smoking and alcohol intake: Smoking and alcohol can disrupt your hormones and make it difficult to manage your health and body composition.
Workout: Exercising is critical to maintaining overall wellness. Performing any form of physical workout, including walking, jogging, running, hitting the gym, or doing yoga for 30 minutes a day for five days a week, can help you lose weight and boost your physical and mental well-being.
Undergo regular health checks: Right from childbirth to menopause, a woman’s body undergoes many hormonal changes. Therefore, it is recommended that women above the age of 35 undergo regular screening tests to detect any health issues that may impact them later. Visit your healthcare provider regularly to understand the recommended tests for your age and to follow a nutrition care plan prescribed by a registered clinical dietitian. As a woman, you must prioritise your health above everything else and make decisions that ensure your overall well-being.
Edwina Raj is the Head-Clinical Nutrition Dietetics at Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore.