Q: I’m 21 years old. My height is 5 feet 6-inches and my weight is 47kg. What should I do to gain weight? My frame is very thin. Please tell me what should I do? Zara
A: Dear Zara, 52-70 kg is a healthy weight range. You should try to reach the lower limit as presently you are underweight. Firstly, you should check with your doctor about the reason for your low weight. It could be high metabolism rate or a more complicated condition like hyperthyroidism. Secondly, you should know your body composition to set appropriate targets. You should make some lifestyle changes to see positive results as weight gain is not just eating whatever and whenever you want to. The healthiest way to gain weight is by putting on lean muscle, which means while you are going to be eating more, you need to be conscious of what you are eating. You may strive to add up more fats on you only if your body composition shows you have lower fat levels. The rule to gain weight is to eat more calories than you burn. An addition of around 250-500 calories to your daily calorie requirement would be sufficient. But don’t forget that eating numerous number of meals would be more helpful rather having 3 meals a day. Try to take a balanced diet. Each of your platters must comprise of 3 parts carbohydrates, 2 parts proteins and 1 part from unsaturated fats. It is very important to avoid all forms of junks and unhealthy food choices including caffeinated drinks. Alcohol and all addictive items are absolutely contraindicated. You should be watchful of your activity level. You should take advantage from benefits of resistance exercises and weight training to gain lean mass and strengthen your muscles and joints. Exercise will also help you improve your appetite. Never forget to check your energy level before working out. Rest is equally important. 7-8 hours of sleep at night is mandatory for your health and fitness.
Q: My weight is 51kg and height is 5 feet 1-inch. My age is 25. I was thinking of reducing some weight, especially from around the belly. There is a lot of fat accumulated on my tummy and I have become very lazy too. Please suggest some easy exercises. Hafsa
A: Dear Hafsa, 45-60 kg is a healthy weight range for you. You may try to reduce 5-6 kg to reach your lower limit. You should try to change your lifestyle and bring some positive changes to see healthier effects. Lazy and lethargic habits must be replaced by an active lifestyle. It is good that you want to start an exercise regimen but don’t forget that you should also check your calorie intake. You must opt for fewer calories than your daily requirement. You must eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. In order to get the proper nutrition from your diet, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean proteins. At the core of a balanced diet are foods that are low in unnecessary fats and sugars but high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Aside from adding certain foods to your diet, you should also reduce your consumption of certain substances in order to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. These include alcohol, refined grains, solid fats, saturated fats, trans-fats, salt and sugars. Exercises must be done in a balanced form. You may follow the exercise plan given below.
Warm up: 5-7.5 mins, walk/ jog, moderate pace.
Resistance training: on specified days, 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets, rest 30 secs after each set.
Mon/ Thurs: Leg extension; Leg curls; Hip abduction; Hip adduction
Tues/ Fri: Chest press; Lat pull down; Biceps curls; Triceps extension
Wed/ Sat: Basic crunches; Cross crunches; Bridging; Plank 15 sec hold
Sun: rest day
Cardio training: 15 mins each of the following, moderate pace.
T.M; Elliptical; Magnetic bike.
Cool down: 2-5 mins, low pace, recumbent bike.
Flexibility stretches: isometric stretches, all major muscles, hold the stretched posture for 30 seconds each.
Q: I am 28 years old. I weigh 65kg and my height is 5 feet 4-inches. I have gained a lot of weight after my twin daughters' birth. I have trouble controlling my diet ever since I was pregnant and don't know how to let go of the binge eating habit. Please help! Humera
A: Dear Humera, firstly congratulations on the birth of your twins. Secondly, I am not sure of prescribing you something about eating disorder. I can only help in guiding people what they should eat and what they need to avoid, and the ways in which one can go for balanced eating to make one’s life active and healthy. In the same way, I can only tell you a few tips that you may try to follow. If you find it difficult or unable to follow at all, I would recommend you take an appointment from a psychologist and a nutritionist.
1. The first thing you need to do is to schedule your activities for the entire day. Make a time table and try to follow it. Take an hour out for yourself to exercise. You can go with a physically active hobby like gardening or joining a gym like a regular exerciser. Keep your frequency low at the beginning and gradually increase it.
2. Similarly, make a time table for all you need to eat every day. Opt for a number of meals each day but in smaller proportions.
3. Each platter should contain all major nutritional groups. A colourful platter may help you achieve this target.
4. Calculate your calorie intake and make a record of the calories you eat.
5. Try to intake whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, sea food, low fat forms but make sure the total calorie intake should not exceed than required.
6. Always prepare your food before you get hungry to avoid unhealthy choices.
7. Take your time to eat your food.
8. Always eat with family/ friends.
9. Try to take small-sized plates.
10. Drink plenty of water.