December 18th 2017

Society / Health & Science

Common misconceptions to avoid in a weight loss programme

Kenyans have never been as fat as they are today; munching on french-fries and sitting in front of a computer all day at work doesn’t help.

By Sandra Onindosonindo@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 28 Jun 2016 19:10 EAT

Many Kenyans are getting too comfortable with the cushions of fat under their skin. Eating for all the wrong reasons is sending many individuals ballooning into worrying sizes, evident from the numbers seen on the scale.

Most overweight and obese Kenyans are from the middle class. A typical middle class Kenyan family will have a diet comprising of ham, bacon, buns, bread, sausages fried in fat, omelets, milk and cereals for breakfast. Lunch may consist of French fries accompanied by a deep fried chicken or a jumbo sized burger or both plus a soda. Dinner could be similar to lunch. Other options would be pasta or fried rice served with fatty meat. In addition to the three basic meals of a day, snacks such as pastries and soda are also squeezed into the diet. It would indeed be surprising if such a diet didn’t cause weight gain.

On seeing that they are slowly growing out of their clothes, many of these individuals suddenly want to lose the excess weight overnight. Sadly, this is mission impossible as the excess weight was not gained overnight either. The process of weight loss is gradual and needs to be taken a day at a time. For weight loss to occur, it is important for the overweight or obese individual to understand basic nutrition.

Create a calorific deficit

Losing weight is all about calories in versus calories out. This simply means expelling more calories than you consume in the form of energy. This is easier said than done, by consuming low calorie foods and exercising. The best form of exercises for weight loss are cardiovascular exercises (Any exercise that raises your heart rate). For one to gain a pound of fat, the total number of calories consumed would be 3,500. Therefore, to lose a pound of fat, one has to lose 3,500 calories. Losing 500 calories a day would consequently lead to a one pound weekly weight loss.

Choose wisely from every food group

When on weight loss diet, it is important to understand the importance of each food group. Carbohydrates are energy giving foods, proteins are body building whereas vitamins are protective foods. Being high in energy means that carbohydrates are packed with high numbers of calories. Consuming lots of carbohydrates and not expending the energy will definitely lead to weight gain. Most weight loss diets advice that proteins be highly consumed so as to aid in the building and repair of muscles.

Drink lots of water

Drinking water does not directly lead to weight loss, rather, it quenches thirst and fills up the stomach, preventing the consumption of sugar-filled high calorie drinks such as fruit juices and soda. Drinking water before a meal also helps with portion control as the dieter is bound to get full sooner.

Eat fruits whole

One would need more than three oranges to make a glass of orange juice, whereas if told to eat it whole, only one orange would be consumed. Eating fruits whole rather than blending them will ensure that one gains the full benefits of dietary fiber. Fiber helps the dieter feel full for longer without overeating.

Incorporating these changes into one’s lifestyle ensures that no weight gain is observed in future, consequently increasing one’s lifespan.

Sandra is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press specializing in news, health and lifestyle coverage.

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