Healthlines: Change your weight

Updated 08 February 2013
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Healthlines: Change your weight

To change your shape you must want to lose weight for yourself, not for your husband, your children or anyone else. It has to be you that want to be slimmer because it is important to you and to your health.
The amount you need to eat varies from person to another and depends upon how active you are, but the average woman needs about 2,000 calories to maintain her body weight, and for a man this figure is near 2,500. If you consume more calories than your body needs, then you will gain weight and put fat on your bones. The reason for being overweight is eating extra calories daily. Most people who are obese are eating just a few extra calories each day. Take Suzanne for example: She simply gave up eating her daily chocolate bar and 2 packets of chips and after 3 months she lost weight.
Losing weight will bring you a very big smile, slimmer figure, a healthier body, more energy, improved confidence and a rise in self-esteem. You have achieved something of value.

Get in Control
The early months of the year are a period when we think about getting back into shape. Once festivities such as Diwali, Eid and Christmas are out of the way, we have time once again to think of taking care of our bodies. It is the time to say, “It is payback time for my body”, which means: Fresh healthy food; exercise; water; relaxing time and keeping junk food to a minimum. For those of you whose eating habits may have got completely out of control, try my plan to get back into the driving seat with my one week of “I’m in Control” plan.
Early morning cleanser: Hot water and lemon
Breakfast: Fresh juice, medium bowl porridge oats and skimmed milk; or fresh juice, shredded wheat and skimmed milk or fresh juice, Muesli, yogurt and fruit.
Mid-morning: Banana or apple.
Lunch:
Cup of soup, sandwich (filling choices: Egg and cress; turkey slices and tomato salad; tuna and cucumber salad; or Salmon and cucumber) just allow a teaspoon of low calorie mayonnaise. Freshly squeezed juice or tea if needed.
Mid-afternoon: Boost flagging energy levels with a low-calorie cereal bar.
Mid-evening: Small handful of plain nuts (Almonds, Brazils etc.)
Supper: Lean protein (Grilled meat or fish, or vegetable protein – with up to three boiled vegetables.)
Desert: Small size low-fat plain yogurt mixed with brightly color fruit pieces.
Before bed: Glass of milk or hot milk and honey.
Drinks: Try to limit coffee to mornings only, and caffeine drinks, such as tea, to a maximum of four cups in the day. Drink water any time and at least eight glasses of water a day. Cut out fizzy drinks and alcohol but have as many fresh fruit juices as you want.

Tips
Try to sit down and let your body enjoy your meal. Don’t eat while sitting at your desk.
Take a lunchtime stroll and get some fresh air.
If you are cooking for the family, just add rice, potatoes, or pasta to their evening meal to make it easy for yourself.
Observe your fat intake. Middle Eastern and Asian cooking contain high levels of fat and salt
The “I’m in Control” plan gets rid of all those decisions about what to eat. This eating plan is designed to pay back your body for all the festive and junk food eaten over the festive period. This eating plan will also help snackers get back into eating by a set routine. Your body loves a regular routine and a balanced blood sugar level, which reduces cravings.

Ask Alva
I am so desperate to lose another 15 kilos to reach my ideal weight. I always read your column and it gave me courage to consult my problem. Last September my weight was 75 kilos and I lost 5 kilos in a month with diet and exercise. My diet consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken without any fat. No carbohydrates in my diet and still I am having a plateau weight. What diet should I follow to lose 15 kilos in two months? I have to attend a wedding in May.
— Depressed

You sound as though you have been on a low-calorie diet that is too low. These rigid low-calorie diets do not work in the long term because they slow down your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns up calories. Your body feels there is a famine and reacts by slowing down the metabolism so you burn fewer calories. This is the result of crash dieting — the body feels under stress.
Follow these guidelines and you will gradually lose weight and become healthier and stronger without suffering. And what’s more, the changes will become part of your daily routine.
Begin a program of exercises for 20 minutes every morning — start slowly and do a little more each day. Mail me at [email protected] for a free copy of my 20-minute Mini-Morning Workout.
Try to walk, swim, or skip with a rope every afternoon.
Follow the eating guidelines in the article above.
— Alva


Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

Updated 21 April 2018
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Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

JEDDAH: There is a growing need for dietary supplements in Saudi Arabia, given the increasing popularity of junk food and the effective role supplements can play in treating diseases caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A recent study found that 22 percent of Saudi people take nutritional supplements. It is no surprise, then, that many Saudi businesses have forged partnerships with international dietary-supplement companies.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss, a Saudi dietitian with a Ph.D. in nutrition, said dietary supplements can be defined as substances that provide the human body with a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet. However, she stressed that they are not intended to replace healthy eating.

She also warned against taking them without first talking to a doctor or dietitian, as some products can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. 

“They can also cause problems if someone has a history of certain health issues,” she added.

A blood test can determine which nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet, and therefore which supplements might be beneficial. Nutritional supplements are also used to help treat certain health conditions. 

“Vitamin C, for example, is often used to reduce cold symptoms,” said Idriss. “Fish oil is taken to lower elevated blood triglycerides.”

She suggested four daily essentials that can bridge nutritional gaps in our diet: a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

“I routinely recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to my clients after consulting with their doctors,” she said. 

“For menstruating women, who require 18 milligrams of iron each day, a daily supplement helps boost iron intake.”

She said people over the age of 50 are advised to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting enough B12, which plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. 

“Older adults are more vulnerable to B12 deficiency because they are more likely to have decreased production of stomach acid, which is needed to release B12 from the proteins in food.” said Idriss. 

“It is also a good idea to take a daily multivitamin if one is following a low-calorie diet.”

She also pointed out that a high intake of DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of DHA might also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

“A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of both DHA and EPA is equivalent to eating 12 ounces of salmon a week,” said Idriss.

The dietitian believes that the Saudis who take food supplements often do so more to benefit their appearance than their health. 

“Saudi women consume more dietary supplements than other people in Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“They do so either to lose weight or to care for their hair and nails. Bodybuilders also take large amounts of supplements.”

However, both groups, according to Idriss, tend to take supplements on the recommendation of friends and trainers, not doctors. 

She warned that commercials and social-media rumors can persuade people to buy supplements online that may not be approved as safe by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and advised people to get as much of their daily nutrient needs as possible from healthy eating.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss

“Along with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet provides fiber and hundreds of protective phytochemicals, something a supplement cannot do,” she said, adding that the body absorbs natural food more effectively than supplements.

In addition, combining supplements with medications can have dangerous, even life-threatening, effects. 

“Drugs for heart disease and depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth-control pills are less effective when taken with herbal supplements,” she said.

“Taking an anticoagulant, aspirin, and a vitamin E supplement together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or even stroke.”

 

Natural sources

With the spread of fast-food restaurants and their alluring ads, the long-term health of the Saudi people is in danger, as children and young people snub natural sources of nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables. 

“This can lead to many deficiency diseases. Moreover, vegetarians can develop similar illnesses due to the absence of meat in their diet,” she said.
Dr. Ashraf Ameer, a family-medicine consultant, said the importance of nutritional supplements lies in treating mineral and vitamin deficiency, especially for pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly. 

“However, these products should come from reliable companies and meet Saudi food and drug requirements,”he added.

Mohammed Yaseen, who has a food supplements business, said his company works with a leading British health-care company to provide the Saudi market with high quality products.

“With this we hope we can contribute to the national transformation program by raising private-sector spending in health care from 25 percent to 35 percent, which in turn would lead to the sector’s financial sustainability and boost economic and social development in the Kingdom,” Yaseen said.

Decoder

Vitamin Terms

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid.  Phytochemical is a biologically active compound found in plants.