Authored by Ms. Edwina Raj, Head – Clinical Nutrition Dietetics, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore
Every year, January 22nd is observed as women’s healthy weight day to encourage women to maintain a healthy weight and discourage their obsession with unhealthy practices of weight management. This day emphasizes the need for healthy living, bolstering general health via optimal nutrition among women, and empowering women of all sizes to embrace their body type.
In the past few years, an increase in exposure to social media has given rise to the trend of celebrity-styled bodies, due to which there has been a noticeable jump in people trying to follow fad diets/unhealthy diets, and self-styled workouts, which do more harm than good.
While being thin or lean shouldn’t be one’s only aim, unfortunately, many women now associate fitness with weight loss due to such trends. There has been a surge in ‘body image’ issues among women recently, as most of them are ridiculed for their body type due to the rise in infertility concerns among couples, which makes them psychologically disturbed and depressed about their body weight and further forces them to achieve instant results. But women need to understand that they are unique and beautiful in their own way, and weight loss cannot help them become healthier. One can weigh more than someone else and still stay healthy; weight is just a number, but what matters is your body composition, which measures your percentage of muscle, body fat, and type of metabolism. So, rather than chasing your weight, understand and follow a healthy behavior, and change your approach to health today by following the tips listed below:
Begin your day with a warm glass of water and stay hydrated throughout the day: you can add a dash of lime or fruit infused water if you feel nauseous, or soak garden cress seeds or chia seeds, which have great health benefits if tolerated.
Never ever skip your breakfast: According to recent research data, skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain or obesity and an increased risk of heart disease and death. A wholesome breakfast can keep you energized the entire day and is critical to meeting your daily nutrient needs. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it allows you to break your overnight fast!
Ensure adequate intake of calcium to maintain your bone health: As you age, your estrogen level drops, a savior hormone in women responsible for their health till menopause that helps in maintaining bone health. Hence, it’s important to consider an adequate supply of calcium and vitamin D to achieve strong bones. Sources: curd, almond milk, soya and its products, dairy if tolerated, leafy vegetables, fish with bones,apricots, sesame seeds, etc.
Consume a balanced meal to get the optimal amount of key nutrients like iron, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamin B12 to support women during their reproductive years: A nutrient-rich, balanced diet that provides your body with protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and fats can help you stay healthy. One can include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to ensure a balanced diet. Additionally, one must restrict junk, processed foods, and added sugar as they increase the risk of heart disease and obesity.
Avoid smoking and cut down your alcohol intake: Smoking and alcohol can disrupt your hormones and make it difficult to manage your health and body composition.
Work out: Exercising is critical to maintaining overall wellness. Performing any form of physical workout, including walking, jogging, running, hitting the gym, or doing yoga for 30 minutes a day for five days a week, can help you lose weight and boost your physical and mental well-being.
Undergo regular health checks: Right from childbirth to menopause, a woman’s body undergoes many hormonal changes. Therefore, it is recommended that women above the age of 35 must undergo regular screening tests to detect any health issues that may impact them later. Visit your healthcare provider regularly to understand the recommended tests for your age and to follow a nutrition care plan prescribed by a registered clinical dietitian.
As a woman, you must prioritize your health above everything else and make decisions that ensure your overall well-being. This Women’s Healthy Weight Day, pledge yourself the gift to overall well-being and follow a healthy lifestyle.
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