Body fat is stored in different regions of the body, and the pattern of its distribution can alter the health risks of obesity. For example, excess abdominal fat or apple-shaped (android) obesity is associated with increased risk of heart disease, whereas weight gain in the hips and thighs or pear-shaped (gynoid) obesity does not have the same magnitude of risk.
Usually, due to genetic reasons men are prone to storing fat in the abdominal region and women in the hips and thighs. Also, an increase in certain enzymatic activity, for example, lipoprotein lipase, causes some individuals to store more fat in certain areas.
Diet plus exercise is the ideal way to lose weight. A sound weight-loss program should include:
- Decreased fat consumption
- Portion control
- Palatable food choices
- High fibre
- Adequate nutrition
- An active lifestyle
- Consistent, sensible eating and exercise habits
Nutrition is very important and a healthy well balanced diet should include carbohydrates, proteins, fats and plenty of water. Carbohydrates (grains, vegetables, legumes) must make up 55%-60% of our diet, proteins (milk, eggs, meat, fish, sprouts) 15% and fats (oils, butter) 25%-30%. Fat is essential as it helps in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. Proteins are essential in repairing tissues and carbohydrates serve as fuel for energy. Fat also serves as a fuel source.
Stress, exhaustion and inactivity make us feel tired. Feeling persistently fatigued can place physical and mental strain on the body. This eventually slows the body down and can result in a weakened immune system, disturbed sleep and weight gain.
On the other hand, regular exercise helps eliminate excess fat, create a lean body and boost energy levels. The better the condition we are in and the more the protection we give our muscles and joints, the better our quality of life!
To keep our bodies fit, tuned and functioning efficiently, we have to make a determined effort to be active.
The key to staying consistent with exercise is to select an exercise program that is enjoyable – one that fits in with our personality, lifestyle and fitness goals.