Tag Archives: Body Composition Analysis

Guidelines to successful Weight Loss and Management

Losing weight is easier than maintaining. Those of us who have tried will fully agree with this. But, with a realistic ideology it becomes easier to lose as well as maintain your weight, with minimal chances of gaining it back.

A few tips for smooth sailing…

Set Realistic Goals: Before boarding the weight loss train, chalk out your goals clearly. Research has proven that writing down your intentions is far more likely to turn them into actions than thinking or talking about them. Also, ensure that whatever weight loss goal you decide on; is realistic and you have a suitable time frame to achieve it.

Monitor Body Composition Changes: it is a far better motivator than weighing scales. Take circumference measurements of specific sites of the body like abdomen, hip, thigh before starting the weight loss programme and take repeat measurements every month. Those who plan to join gym or health centers might also monitor the changes in their body composition (fat and lean mass). Decrease in fat and increase in lean mass is an indicator of improving body stats.

Weigh Weekly / Fortnightly: It is any day better than stepping on the weighing scale daily. Frequent weighing can lead to an obsession about weight and this obsession might pose hindrance in successful weight loss. You need to come to terms with the fact that an initial weight loss of 2-3 kg cannot be maintained always. Try and lose 0.5-1 kg per week. Slow and gradual weight loss is easier to maintain as there are less chances of bounce back.

Keep a Food Diary: A food diary is a record of your daily food intake. It will act as an eye opener as you will acknowledge that you eat or drink several things without even registering them.  It will also evaluate what and when you are eating; whether the diet is balanced or deficient in any important nutrients. Food diary should be maintained for a week and it is recommended that you follow your usual eating pattern while making the record. Everything, from a spoonful of namkeen to sips of cola should be mentioned in the diary. No cheating!!! From the completed food diary your overall eating habits can be assessed and your dietitian / health care provider can suggest necessary changes to improve the same.

Cut and Replace FAT: By examining the food diary diet culprits can be identified and replaced with healthier options. (For healthier substitutions) But don’t try to remove fat completely from your diet. We need fats for their numerous functions in the body and their deficiency can trickle down to deficiency of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).

Cut Calories Gradually: A sudden calorie deficit can act as a shock for the body which might lower your BMR. This is the biggest mistake which all of us commit while trying to lose weight. So ensure that you start with few restrictions and only when weight loss slows down or you hit a plateau, further restrict the diet or increase the duration of your exercise programme.

Take Small Frequent Meals: Follow a meal pattern in which you incorporate 4-6 meals daily, including snacks. Our body requires energy even to digest food which we eat. So every time we eat, the body is using that extra bit. This does not mean that you can increase the amount of food; rather spread the food you plan to eat in the entire day over these meals. Several researches have concluded that frequent eating keeps blood sugar and insulin levels steady and helps control blood cholesterol levels too. A regular food intake also ensures a constant flow of energy for the entire day and no hunger pangs.

Lifestyle Changes: Long term weight management means making a few changes in lifestyle – lifelong healthy eating, regular exercise and abstinence from smoking and alcohol.

Last but not the least stay positive during the schedule; positivity can do wonders for your body image and will keep you motivated.

Hope these pointers are helpful for you…..

Fat or Lean: What does Your BCA indicate?

One day a friend of mine came to me in a state of shock and disbelief. On asking she said, “Can you imagine a thin person dying of cardiac arrest?” I replied in affirmative.

Yes we do associate an obese person with all these diseases but the thin ones are also not spared. Our weight predisposes us towards these diseases but how much percentage of this weight is FAT is the determining factor. A research study done by Dr Anoop Misra studied 400 diabetics for relationship between diabetes and obesity. By conventional BMI (Body mass index) criteria (height in relation to weight), just 40 per cent of the subjects were classed as obese. But when body fat percentages were considered, 90 per cent of the total group were found to be obese.

This research definitely proves that not just quantity but quality also matters.

A conventional weighing scale can measure total body weight, but it cannot tell you how much of this weight is fat. The inner picture can be obtained by doing Body Composition Analysis or BCA. BCA describes the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies. A person who looks slim may have a high percentage of fat in the body. This person will be unaware of the risk his body composition poses. But BCA helps us in assessing this risk. An inappropriate Lean to fat mass ratio is a wake up call to improve our diet and lifestyle.

Numerous mechanisms and machines are available which compute fat percentages. Nowadays even weighing scales are being equipped to calculate the same. Let us see how to interpret the results (fat percentages) we get from these machines:

Body Fat Ranges (Percent)

Interpretation

Males

Females

6-10

10-15

Exceptionally Lean

11-14

16-19

Very Lean

15-18

20-25

Lean

19-24

26-29

Moderate Fat

25 and above

30 and above

High Fat

We should try to keep our body fat percentage in the lean bracket because both high as well as low fat percentages have adverse consequences. A high fat percentage poses a risk for development of obesity and diabetes and a lower fat percentage might make a person deficient in fat soluble vitamins or can even lead to poor reproductive function in females.

How to achieve a balance between lean and fat percentage; will discuss in subsequent issues.