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All about weight management: What's right for YOU?

Last updated on: March 17, 2010 13:46 IST

What is weight management and how do you go about it? Debjani Baidyaray speaks to an expert to give you the low-down.

We all have at some point of time or the other, obsessed about our bodies. Today especially, being overweight is also recognised as a health issue, apart from the fact that it is socially embarrassing. In such a scenario, a weight management programme can help you to effectively lose weight and achieve your target body image.

But what does weight management really involve? We had a discussion with fitness expert and nutritionist, Venu Hirani of weight management specialists Bodyworks, to find out. Here are a few quick facts to demystify the concept:

What is weight management?

Weight management, simply put, is management of body weight based on individual needs. Weight management, thus, does not only mean losing extra kilos, but maintaining body weight based on a healthy range determined by your body mass index or BMI. Somebody who is underweight will thus need to gain weight, while someone who is over the desired range will have to lose kilos to maintain that ideal weight.

A weight management plan usually involves two main aspects: balanced diet and exercise. The actual combination, in which these two aspects are applied, will depend on your current body weight, body fat percentage and basic body composition.

So how is a weight management programme planned?

As specified earlier, weight loss or management requires an individualistic approach. Your weight management professional will decide whether and how much weight loss is required, based on your BMI (body mass index) and body fat percentage. He or she will assess your current health status and make an effort to understand your lifestyle.

This will be followed by a specific diet and exercise plan to help you reduce body weight. Such a plan will take into consideration your individual preferences, as also issues such as allergies to certain foods.

How are the goals set for a person undergoing a weight loss programme?

Goals are usually determined based on individual requirements. Do you wish to merely shed a few inches, get a toned body or completely alter your body image? The answer to this will determine your specific goals.

Who should enroll for a weight loss programme?

Anybody who is unhealthy or uncomfortable because of his or her body weight should consult a doctor or weight management professional to achieve bodyweight more appropriate to his or her BMI. Weight loss programmes basically cater to people who want to lose weight to remain fit and healthy.

Lack of adequate nutrition or physical activity leads to excess body weight .This, in turn, can lead to serious health hazards like diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol problems. Weight management is thus an important aspect of ensuring good health.

Are there specific plans for people who have specific health problems?

Yes, a person may need to lose weight, for instance, because he or she is a diabetic. Also, a thyroid patient will require a different plan from, say, a woman who wants to lose weight after childbirth. The requirements are different in each case.

These individuals will be recommended specific physical activities and exercises that will not interfere with their condition. Similarly diet plans for these people will also address their special requirements.

How important is physical activity for weight management?

Exercise is an important factor for staying fit and healthy. Only diet cannot help you lose weight and stay fit. You need to burn excess calories you take in through food. But it is important to draw up a fitness plan that is realistic. This is done keeping individual preferences and factors such as physical fitness and time availability, in mind.

Randomly adopting exercise plans just because they have worked for others could even end up harming you. A complete assessment of what is acceptable to the body is necessary before drawing up a fitness plan.

A final word of advice

If you believe you need to lose weight, consult a weight loss professional for advice. Do not believe in popular myths associated with weight loss or go by what your peers, family and colleagues say. Remember, an ideal body weight is important to be mentally and physically healthy.

Debjani Baidyaray

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