According the Global Nutrition Report of 2016, 22% of the Indian adult population is dealing with obesity. It’s no wonder that as more people move to urban areas and take up jobs that require little or no physical exercise, the levels of obesity are increasing.
To make matters worse, there are a slew of ready to eat items that contribute to this epidemic, with their easy availability and low nutritional value, whether it’s making instant noodles to stop a hunger pang or munching on a packet of chips that was in the vending machine. As lifestyles get busier, the time taken to eat reduces as well, and with the act of having a meal becoming an inconvenience, most opt for a quick fix that they can carry with them.
A convenient snack turns into a dangerous habit as doctors are reporting ever increasing rates of diabetes and high blood pressure among the younger urban population. Our long work hours are predisposing a majority of this population to osteoporosis on some level. A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about nutrition though, it’s the whole gamut of mental, physical and spiritual wellness.
We talked to Sridhar Varadaraj, the founder & managing partner of Zago. The fitness enthusiast shared some words of wisdom on how we can make small tweaks in our everyday habits and lifestyles can lower the impact of negative after effects of the on-the-go lifestyle.
- Get more than 40 winks a night: An adequate amount of sleep is more important than you can think. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight.
- Lighting the fire in your belly: Kick starting your metabolism in the morning can lead to a raised metabolism the whole day. The key is a good breakfast. A hearty breakfast of oats, protein and fiber can provide your body with the necessary energy to start the day alert and alleviate any grogginess.
- Snacking Right: To keep a raised metabolism, snacking on whole foods like fruits can add fibre to the diet along with replenishing nutrients in the body.
- Another super food: Nuts or dry fruits of some kind can be touted as another super food. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts are high in good fats. Avoid dried berries as they can be easy to load up on and are high in sugars.
- Get moving: Exercise of even 30 mins a day can reduce heart disease risk and joint pains by 25%. There are so many ways and variations of exercise, it’s easy to incorporate it in any sort of schedule.
- Staying hydrated: Guzzling water throughout the day not only keeps you hydrated but keeps hunger pangs at bay, most times thirst is confused with hunger and you can end up overeating. Keeping a water bottle handy reminds you to drink more water.
- Protein-up: Your post workout snack should be high in protein to enhance the results of the workout.
- Quitting the Junk: If you’re addicted to instant snacks and junk staples like chips and biscuits; try to reduce the amount of snacks in the day to one, instead of going cold turkey. You’ll be more likely to stick to healthy eating.
- De-stress: Stress is another factor that adds to weight gain. Finding ways to cope with stress through meditation, dancing, jogging, reading or any activity that takes the mind away from the source of stress is ultimate way to de-stress. The hormone cortisol which builds up during stress causes weight gain when it is in the body for prolonged periods.
With 5 out of 10 urban Indians trying to lose weight, it’s no surprise that a work-life balance is key. It isn’t just adults that suffer the after effects of poor choices made day in and out, but their children as well. Habits are learned from parents and can be silent messages to children of how important they should take their own health.
With 15% of the adolescent population in India being obese according to the Indian Association of Pediatrics, there’s no doubt that these patterns are being carried on to kids who don’t know better. Exercise and practicing healthy eating habits can become a family activity which provide motivation to everybody participating.
A healthy lifestyle is a matter of habit, it’s not easy to replace bad habits,however, to improve chances of a good life, small changes here and there can have a big impact overall on the future. They can lead to healthy choices and an eventual view of doing right to your body.