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5 unhealthy habits that are making you obese

August 21, 2018 08:25 IST

Skipping meals, caffeine addiction and not exercising enough are just some of the habits you need to give up, says bariatric surgeon Dr Rajat Goel. 

Habits that are making you obese

Do you work long hours on the computer? Have to go from one business lunch or meeting to the next almost every day?

Does your job involve nonstop travelling?

If answers to all the above is yes, chances are your meal time and fitness goals are derailed.

You might also be unintentionally harming your health and putting on extra weight.

Here are some habits that are making you fat every day. 

1. Not drinking enough water

Our body consists of 60 per cent water; hence drinking sufficient water is essential for a healthy body.

Water helps detoxify and keeps the body hydrated.

Hydration keeps your memory sharp and active.

The fluid in your body allows the muscles and joints to work better, clear toxins through kidneys.

According to The Institute of Medicine, an adult requires about 13 cups of fluid per day (for men) and 9 cups for women.

Drinking sufficient water also helps to remove excess fat from the body.

2. Skipping meal

When we skip a meal our metabolism goes down. Later in the day you tend to overeat to satisfy hunger which results in overweight and obesity.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology those who skip out breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

You can enhance your metabolism by eating small portions of nutritious foods throughout the day.

You can have 1 cup of yogurt and berries as a fast breakfast option for quick nutritional requirement.

If you're travelling, simply carry some snacks or a handful of dry fruits pistachios, almond or apricot.

This will help to maintain nutritional level.

3. Eating late at night

It is advisable to have dinner four hours before bed time. However, in today’s busy schedule, late office hours and other social commitment, we hardly get time to have meal on time.

Hence taking dinner late night is the common mistake we all generally make.

In a recent study on cell metabolism, it has been found that those who had an early dinner and fasted for 16 hours were slimmer than those who ate late night and directly went to bed.

Longer lapse between meals allows the body to process the food more efficiently.

According to the National Institutes of Health, late-night meals can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep.

4. Lack of exercise

When you have a busy schedule there is no time for exercise, hence people look for alternate therapies for weight loss.

If you exercise regularly, it would have an impact even later in life.

Therefore we recommend patients to exercise minimum 30 minutes on a regular basis. If you don’t have time, you should practice cardio exercises by walking minimum 30 minutes a day.

Instead of using the lift, start taking the stairs. Don't use car or any other vehicle for getting something from market.

Try to do household task on your own instead of taking maid’s help.

Moreover you can do light exercise at home or even in office without disturbing your schedule.

Exercise not only keeps you looking and feeling great, but it can help you lose weight and give boost to your energy.

According to the Framingham Heart Study, people with moderate or high levels of activity may live longer.

Exercise keeps your heart healthy; lowers the risk of chronic disease, improves blood flow to brain, keeping mind sharp; and control blood sugar.

5. Sugar and caffeine addiction

We crave for tea, coffee, cold drink and other sugar drink when feel exhausted as we find it an easy solution to get energy back.

Coffee, a bottled energy drink, or a piece of sugar-packed energy bar may be an effective energy booster. 

Caffeine leads to sleeplessness, headache and it can be addictive. Sugar can give you an initial jolt, but leaves you more lethargic.

High sugar intake results into rapid weight gain.

So if you feel to have an extra boost to stay alert, opt for snacks that are loaded with protein and carbohydrates such as whole grains and breads, eggs and meat, don’t go for sugar and caffeine products.

6. Junk food

The eating habits of today’s generation are oriented towards ‘fast’, energy dense foods which are of low nutritional value (containing saturated fats and cholesterol), leading to mal- adaptive metabolism and adding to the enormous burden of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in India.

Junk foods are high in trans fats.

Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids which increase our ‘bad’ cholesterol.

A product of early 1900s, trans fatty acids result from a refining process called hydrogenation, which forces extra hydrogen atoms onto plant oils using intense heat and pressure.

This allows companies make inexpensive solid fats out of cheap liquid oils and are used to increase the shelf life of foods.

They are found in fast foods, biscuits, cakes and pastries.

Besides trans fats, the high amount of sugars and salts in these products also harm us.

Those consuming junk foods on regular basis have higher tendency of developing obesity, diabetes, depression, endometriosis, liver dysfunction and cancer.

Here's a rough diet guide that both teens and adults can follow:

7:00 to 8.00 am

Breakfast: 1 glass milk with any source of cereal, such as bran flakes, brown bread or high fiber biscuits.

11:00 am

Pre Lunch: Should be a handy nutritional finger food such as brown bread sandwiches, vegetable or paneer kathi roll etc

2:00 pm

Any fruit

3:00 pm

Lunch: 2 rotis/ rice with subzi/dal/ curd and salad

6:00 pm

Evening snack: 1 glass of milk or any fruit shake along with some light snacks such as poha or veg idli etc.

9:00 pm

Dinner: 2 roti/ rice with subzi/dal/ curd and salad

Lead image -- a still from Inji Iduppazhagi -- used for representational purposes only.

The author Dr Rajat Goel is a Delhi-based minimal access and bariatric surgeon.

Dr Rajat Goel