Obesity is a chronic disorder with multiple serious health complications. Previously it used to be a concern only for developed countries but now it is becoming a problem for developing countries as well. There is a global epidemic of obesity with prevalence as high as 30 to 40% in some regions. In India approximately 139 million people are obese. Obesity impairs quality of life and reduces life expectancy. All the effects and complications of obesity appear at lower body weight and at a younger age in Indians as compared to the West.

Weight gain is caused by an imbalance between energy intake [from your diet] and energy expenditure [through activities of daily living and exercise]. Therefore, you can lose weight by cutting down on your energy intake or increasing your energy expenditure, or better still a combination of the two.

Basic rules for a weight loss diet

Cut down on calories
For effective weight loss, you need to cut down your intake of energy [calories] one way or the other. Try reducing your intake by 200 to 300 calories per day. Just by eliminating a banana from your diet, you can reduce your daily intake by 100 calories. Similarly, eating half a serving of fried snacks rather than the full serving would help you cut another 100 calories. You only need to make small sustainable changes to your diet, making sure you get all the essential nutrients in the right proportions.

Restrict fat intake
Fat is the most concentrated source of calories. By restricting fat in the diet, you can reduce the total calorie intake most effectively.

Proteins are your allies – But choose wisely
Protein promotes a sense of fullness and does not, by itself, cause weight gain; however, many foods rich in protein are also rich in fat, limiting their usefulness if you want to lose weight. Overcome this by choosing lean meat and skimmed milk over red meat and whole milk.

No skipping meals
Try not to skip meals, particularly breakfast. When hunger strikes in between meals, munch on healthy fillers like grams and vegetable salad. Start your meal with low-calorie foods such as green salads and clear soups.