For overweight people losing even small amounts of weight and increasing physical activity can prevent plenty of medical com-plications. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI = kg/m2) of 25 to < 30 and obesity is defined as BMI of 30 or more.
Thankfully, Nepal does not have obese people, but we together with the rest of South Asia are sure set to be an overweight nation. Forget about having rippling, abdominal muscles. Just keep your weight in the normal range. Unfortunately, once the weight is gained, losing it is a difficult proposition.
Patients on a diet generally lose about 5 per cent of their bodyweight over the first six months, but by 12 to 24 months they are back to 'mangal man' (square one). The long term ineffectiveness of weight reduction
diets may be due to compensatory changes in energy expenditure that oppose the maintenance of a lower body weight as well as genetic and environmental factors. Here are some common diets used for weight loss:
The Atkins diet, which lets you eat fat and protein to your heart's content with very low carbohydrate, is probably impractical in Nepal because of the lack of variety of meat and fish.
The LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Relationships and Nutrition) diet is based on intensive lifestyle modification and may be too 'idealistic' for many, but very beneficial if you can bring about these changes in your life. The Zone diet comprises of 40 per cent carbohydrate and 30 per cent each protein and fat.
My favourite, however, is the Dal Bhat diet also known as the Ornish diet after Dr Dean Ornish, a professor of medicine from the University of California in San Francisco. But I think even the good doctor would be stunned at seeing the mountain of rice that many Nepalis consume here twice a day with a minimal exercise plan. Probably the only group of people in Nepal that can efficiently deal with this vast amount of rice-eating are porters along the Himalayan trails.
The Ornish diet is vegetarian based and fat restricted. A modification of the Ornish diet with controlled rice consumption but plentiful dal and vegetables with a tasty achar to boot may be a very suitable and practical option for the Nepali palate.