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Luke Coutinho’s Guide on Understanding Obesity Amongst Middle-Aged Women

Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
06 March 2020

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

Diet Plans for Women

Obesity is a bit more complex and different from being overweight and requires a comprehensive understanding - in order to be managed. It is fundamentally a medical problem in which the person happens to gain too much body fat, a person is obese when his/her body mass index or BMI is 30 or higher. Obesity is not a superficial problem and doesn’t act alone. An obese person is likely to suffer from different other health issues like diabetes, heart diseases, osteoarthritis, sometimes cancer - in a way obesity is perceived as a health hazard that increases the risk of multiple problems.

The prevalence of obesity is on the rise, however, the risk for obesity and its related chronic diseases is noticeable for both the sexes, but women in specific are found to be suffering more with this problem. Obesity in women negatively impacts their health - making them emotionally and physically vulnerable.

Obesity can adversely impact different stages of a woman’s life cycle and the effects begin to be seen during the mid-age. In the young and adolescent age, it can negatively impact the psychosocial health of females and as they grow old it might turn into a nightmare affecting their reproductive health. Obesity for the mid to old age women may be associated with many health hazard diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and there’s an increased risk for all types of cancer. The medical risk associated with obesity cannot be ignored in women’s life cycle as it can be life-risking for them and for their future generations as well.

As they say, nothing happens without a cause, and when talking about managing obesity among women, in particular, it’s quite essential to look into the root causes where this problem has more probability to sprout up from.

Eating junk and overeating: The mantra to manage obesity doesn’t lie in following any strict diet plans or rigorous exercise routines because diets don’t work, but simple lifestyle changes do! There is a need to change your relationship with your food, try to find out the exact impact the food is going to make on your body that you are consuming.

Also, in the case of overeating, your body is consuming calories more than it can burn, the extra calories are stored as fat making you become overweight or obese. In certain cases of stress, anxiety or depression the person tends to do emotional eating that also leads to overeating and belly fat and obesity.

Testing & trying different fad diets: You might pick a fad diet like Keto, Low Carb, diet pills thinking that they can be a fast way out to weight loss! But often these fad diets lead to adverse effects on your health. The reason being these fad diets are unworkable for a long time! When the person discontinues the fad diet they are likely to be back to binge eating or probably to the old patterns of eating. The yoyoing from fad diet to binge eating leads to weight gain or obesity..

Obesity in Middle-Aged Women

Emotional Issues: Women are by default emotional beings! They are natural givers; they tend to nurture and deal with a lot with feelings and emotions. And this sometimes makes them dwell into insecurities and negative emotions when they are not able to cope with the demanding conditions of life and relationships - eventually making them feel emotionally vulnerable and unloved with low self-esteem. .

This, in a way, is a kind of stress women have to deal with and in response to which their bodies produce a hormone namely Cortisol which is actually a stress management hormone released by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a fat-storing hormone, it turns on the fat-storing switch. The more stress you create the more cortisol your body would create in response to managing your stress and this way the more fat you store in order to feel loved and secured. Emotional distress can make one to reach out to eating sugar snacks, and other comforting foods that can lead to weight gain as well.

The persistent increase in cortisol levels results in abdominal obesity. Also, an important thing to know about Cortisol hormone is that – it tends to suppress the thyroid gland, a gland that plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy metabolic rate. A compromised thyroid gland could mean a sluggish metabolism which eventually leads to weight gain.

Hormonal Issues: Estrogen happens to be the main sex hormone in a female’s body and any imbalance in the level of this hormone may have adverse effects on the health of the female. A high level of estrogen hormone in the body can lead to a build-up of fat as this hormone is stored in fat cells in the body. This could also lead to estrogen dominance and possibly hormonal dependent cancers, fibrous, cysts, infertility, endometriosis, etc. In fact, upon a deeper diagnosis we do find that there is a correlation between hormonal imbalance and obesity.

Sedentary lifestyle: With increasing comforts and too much technology around, people tend to show sedentary behavior in life. There’s a lack of physical activities, extended sitting, negligible mobility has altogether shaped a sedentary lifestyle. Less physical activity doesn’t let you use the energy provided by the food you eat. So, the extra energy is stored in the form of fat by your body making you obese.

Lack of sleep: A person who is sleep-deprived is likely to become obese or overweight because sleep deprivation brings about an imbalance in two appetite regulating hormones, i.e. leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone responsible for satiety and ghrelin is a hormone responsible for hunger. Lack of sleep stimulates release of ghrelin and suppresses leptin which could further lead to cravings and eating large portions of food.

Sleep-deprived people tend to feel a lot of fatigue making them less enthusiastic about any physical activity but what is of more serious concern here is that people with sleep deprivation are likely to do odd hours eating or take more calories than required. The extra unused calories are stored as fats in the body making the person obese. Lack of sleep disturbs the balance of the instrumental hormones that control the appetite of the person.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Pregnancy’s effect on blood pressure and how a healthy diet helps

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

It is no mean feat to grow another human being inside oneself. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnancy has several profound impacts on the body.

Plasma volume increases progressively through pregnancy. Cardiac output increases by 20%. The mother’s body requires more iron to produce foetal haemoglobin and certain other enzymes, as well as folate and B12. Her glucose metabolism undergoes changes to provide the foetus with sufficient glucose and energy and fuel its development. And the growing uterus causes mechanical changes to the digestive tract, pushing the stomach upwards and increasing gastric pressure.

Pregnancy and blood pressure

Eat Breakfast

Among these many changes, one significant shift that women should watch out for is a change in blood pressure. The pregnancy causes blood pressure to decrease in the first and second trimester but increase in the third. This increase in blood pressure can have a significant effect on the foetus if care is not taken.

It can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen the baby receives. This can, in turn, lead to intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, or premature birth. High blood pressure can also cause the placenta to be separated from the uterine wall, causing severe bleeding.

There are several factors that contribute to increases in blood pressure during pregnancy. The risk increases if women are overweight or obese, over 35 years of age, not getting enough physical activity, carrying more than one child or have a family history of hypertension.

How a healthy diet can help

Skin Care

Pregnant woman must also look into their iodine intake, as deficiency of iodine in the mother can lead to congenital abnormalities and decreased intelligence. Supplementation of iodine in severely deficient mothers is likely to increase the IQ of the infant. In severe cases of deficiency cretinism could precipitate. Iodine deficiency also leads to hypothyroid issues in the mother and infant. The easiest and best way to ensure that the required iodine reaches the mother is through iodised salt.

However, one of the main contributors to high blood pressure is dietary sodium. Sodium levels in the diet increase from added salt as well as from processed or ready-to-eat foods. Hence, pregnant women should highly restrict the consumption of foods high in sodiumsuch as pickles, papads, and preserved food. Store-bought sauces are also another prominent contributor of sodium and should be avoided as far as possible.

One good way to do this is to replace salty tastes with tangy or citrus tastes. For instance, pregnant women require a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to ensure adequate micronutrients. A good way to achieve this without adding more salt to the diet is through fresh salads seasoned with lime juice or coriander.

Another clear contributor to high blood pressure is bad cholesterol. When the arteries get clogged due to cholesterol, this forces the heart to pump harder, which increases blood pressure. Thus, women should also stay away from unhealthy cooking such as fried foods and dishes containing trans fats. What’s more, fried foods also often contain high levels of sodium, which increases sodium intake.

Sweets and desserts, particularly those prepared outside the home, can also be red flag. Such preparations often contain unhealthy fats, which again contribute to bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

While it might seem like that cravingsareundeniable, all our cravings are learnt and we do get used to a variety of tastes over time. So, when eating while pregnant, it’s time to cut down on sodium-richand fatty foods, and experiment with more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a range of other spices and herbs. This will ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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