Malika Kabra Rathi

Clinical Nutritionist & Food Therapist

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Fat & Thin are just a Society Spin!!

Fat & Thin are just a Society Spin!!

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Recently at my clinic two patients came face to face. The one with the heavier frame could not believe that the other one with a slim and petite frame needed to come to me for nutrition consultation. She burst, “Why does she need to follow your diet? She is so thin as it is.” I gave my standard reply that I help people achieve their desired fitness goals, whether X wants to lose weight or Y wants to gain it, my job is to help them achieve their targets.

Thin is a very generic term that denotes being skinny or something lesser than being fat. My 5-yr. old once surprised me when I was taking his opposite lessons and on being asked opposite of fat he said fit. Body shaming was never an adult issue only. Sadly, children are often grappling with similar problems. Being of a good built and height he looked bigger for his age and that’s how I taught him that he is Fit and not Fat.

A designer once told me while I was shopping for my wedding outfits how girls of my frame must ask for double pads to look like ‘Indian Brides”. I was too furious to ask if she meant Cup Sized A girls are any lesser a “woman.”

Weight is just a number on a scale. When we look at the larger scheme of things it’s actually not the number that matters.

India leads the world in being home to 40% of global underweight (BMI less than 18.5kg/m2) population-The Lancet Journal, 2016).

Asians have a lower mean BMI (Body Mass Index- Desirable weight for a given height and gender) but a higher Body Fat Percentage than Caucasians of the same age and sex. A man with BMI 23kg/m2 can have higher Body Fat of 24% thus increasing his chance of hypertension, Cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes in spite of his BMI being in the acceptable range.

Being underweight, overweight or obese during childhood and adolescence is associated with adverse health consequences throughout the life-course.

The epidemic of obesity should not overshadow the needs of people who remain undernourished.

So, to make things simpler, I have made a 10-point Checklist of being “fit and healthy”:

1. Good Immunity

You are bound to fall sick once in a while, we are not robots. But if you catch every single bug that the environment has to offer and you wish there were more sick leaves in a year, then its elementary my dear Watson you have low immunity.

2. Stamina

To exercise at least 4 times a week for 40mins without being taken away on a stretcher.

3. Acceptable Waist to Hip Ratio

Men must target less than 0.90 and Females 0.85, though Indians must target 0.2 lesser than recommendations above given by WHO.

4. Acceptable Body Fat percentage

Men: 11 to 20%, Women: 16 to 30%. Yay we can have extra body fat. There are many instruments like Skin fold Callipers, DXA Scan, Bio electrical Impedance with their own advantages and disadvantages. Though I prefer skin fold callipers, they have to be used by a trained professional for accuracy.

5. Good Quality Sleep

Indian Air Force Pilots were recently asked to cut down on social media as it came in their way of quality sleep. So, 7 to 8 hrs undisturbed nocturnal sleep is important for everyone.

6. Good Poop

Without any help from laxatives at least once daily.

7. Good Quality Hair & Skin

One which does not require Botox, Fillers, Skin Polishing, Make up to Glow. Genetic and Hereditary causes to be overruled.

8. Good Sex Drive

Now this is relative to every person but is extremely important for your hormones to flow well.

9. Decent Appetite

A sudden shift from normal appetite whether low or high should be discussed with a doctor or Nutritionist.

10. Healthy Relationships

With others and our own selves.

If any of the above is a “No” then don’t get alarmed, you need to ask yourself why is it lacking and try to fix the cause (on your own or with professional help).

Being Underweight or slightly overweight is sometimes fine but not “Malnourished- Less or Over nourished”. So, eating mindfully is the first step towards achieving desired goals or maintaining accomplished targets and it should be “Our Way of Life” and an “Ongoing Journey”.

If you are a certain weight (lean or overweight) with all the above checkpoints as Yes then time to take pride in being Just the way you are and celebrate your individuality and not fit into any conventional size or mindset of the society.

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