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Expert advice on hypertension and weight loss
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October 16, 2006

Get Ahead reader Rajesh wants to reduce his weight from 98 kgs to about 75-80 kgs within the next three months. However, he suffers from mild hypertension and hypothyroidism. Keeping these conditions in mind, fitness instructor Brinda Sapat has charted out a suitable diet/exercise regime to help him achieve his goal. 

Rajesh's profile

Age: 33 years

Sex: Male

Height: 5'11''

Weight: 98 kg

Daily routine: I wake up at 7 am and walk for half an hour. At about 8.15 am, I have breakfast, which is a helping of upma/two chappatis/ 4-6 Marie biscuits and a cup of tea. I leave for the office at around 9 am. Another cup of tea follows at around 10.30 am. Lunchtime is at 1 pm and comprises 3-4 chappatis and curry. I have my evening tea at 6 pm, with 4-6 Marie biscuits. Dinner, between 10 and 11 pm, is 3-4 chappatis with rice, dal and curry (1 helping each), besides papad and pickle. Another half-hour walk before 12 pm, followed by sleep.

My fitness goal: To get into the 75-80 kg weight range within the next three months.
Brinda's Verdict

Your profile outlines a fitness goal with a medical problem common to a lot of people, which is why I have chosen to work on it. I hope other readers with similar medical conditions and weight loss goals will also find this useful.

Hypothyroidism slows down metabolism, resulting in weight gain -- one of the reasons for hypertension (high blood pressure). The good news is the path to achieving weight loss and improving both medical conditions is the same. Exercising and eating healthy will make you burn fat, lower blood pressure and improve the thyroid condition. I'm going to re-work your schedule and eating habits a little. Do remember that, with hypothyroidism, losing weight takes longer than otherwise. Be patient and persevere.

* Please show this plan and consult with your doctor before starting this programme.


When you wake up

Have your breakfast BEFORE going for a walk. Your body needs energy to perform. It's carbohydrates that give your body energy to move. Once you start walking at the desired pace, that is when fat burning begins. If you don't fuel your body with enough energy, it won't work effectively and the rate of fat burn will be much lower. Always fuel your body for the activity it is going to perform, not for the activity it has already performed.


Have a big glass of water before and after walking.

Mid Morning (10.30 am)

Lunch (1 pm)

Evening Snack (5 pm)

Dinner (by 9 pm latest)

Give yourself a three-hour gap between dinner and bedtime. Being the last meal of the day, dinner should have low carbohydrate content.

Make sure you get at least 8 big glasses of water a day.

You have not mentioned what time you finish work. Try and exercise in the evening rather than close to bedtime.


Morning walks

Walk briskly for 30 minutes. You need to elevate your heart rate to a certain target rate, which varies from person to person. Here's how to calculate this:

1. 220 minus your age (gives you your Maximum Heart Rate).

2. Multiply this figure by 70 per cent.

3. Add this to your resting heart rate (taken by measuring your pulse for one minute).

This is your Target Heart Rate.

For example:  220 - 20 years = 200
             200 x 70 per cent = 140
             140 + 72 (resting heart rate) = 212 beats per minute

Record your resting heart rate first thing in the morning, by taking your pulse in the wrist. When you start your walk, take the pulse after about five minutes, to see whether you are reaching your target heart rate. Measure this for 10 seconds only (pulse rate drops very fast, so you need to do this quickly) and multiply it by six to see if you are getting the target figure. This pulse should be taken at the neck, on the side of your Adam's apple. Take the pulse again five minutes before you finish your walk. If this sounds too complicated, get yourself a heart rate monitor and wear it on your walks. Over the next two months, gradually increase your intensity -- you should be able to use 80 per cent as the multiplication factor by the end of two months.

Evening exercise

Instead of walking in the evenings again, do some weight bearing exercises. Weight-lifting increases muscle mass and decreases fat, so it's an important addition to a fitness routine. Get yourself a pair of 3 and 5-kg dumbbells for the upper body and 2-kg ankle weights for the lower body.

Upper Body Exercises

Chest press and chest flyes (end with chest stretch)
Bent over Rows (end with latissimus stretch)
* Lateral Arm Raises (end with shoulder stretch)
* Reverse Flyes (end with rounded back stretch)
* Bicep Curls (end with bicep stretch)
Tricep Dips (end with triceps stretch)

Lower Body

Knee Extensions (end with quadriceps stretch)
* Hamstring Curls (end with hamstring stretch)
* Calf Raises (end with calf stretch)
Squats (end with quadriceps and hamstring stretch)

* Check with your gym instructor for the exact method.

Note: Check with the doctor on all of the above exercises with regard to hypertension.

Body plateaus

When you start an exercise and diet regime, you lose some weight and then don't see any more weight loss. This happens when your body gets used to the amount and intensity of exercise you are doing. To counter this, you need to increase your intensity or amount of time further, or vary your workout to continue seeing the fat burn.

Note: Sometimes, your weighing scale may not show much of a drop. This is because while you are burning fat, your body is gaining muscle and muscle tissue is heavier than fat. Instead of the scale (which could disappoint you), measure your inches. That is a more accurate measure for fat burn.

Quick tips

It does become difficult to follow a diet and exercise plan at times, but keep at it. You will soon get so used to it, that you won't want it any other way. Good luck!

Would you like Brinda to review your profile? Post your details.

Make sure to include the following information:



Vital statistics:


My fitness goal:



Working hours

Daily routine:

-- Brinda is the head of the Group Exercise Department at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, where she also runs her classes. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for the last nine and a half years. 

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