A lot of us have gained weight during the pandemic due to myriad reasons. Some of us because the activity and movement level has reduced drastically, others because of poor eating habits – mostly stress-induced eating.
For a lot of us, this has happened because of a combination of both these factors – low exercise and more eating – when it should actually be the other way round.
Whatever the reason for the weight gain, it is a bad idea to be overweight, and all the extra load must be shed as soon as possible.
But that said there are two different kind of people, who perceive their body in two different ways.
Some way too critically and others in a rather lax manner. I don’t like it when a friend shows angst over the non-existent extra fat on her waist. I am also equally exhausted of trying to explain to people that their beer belly is not cute, it’s downright unhealthy.
Both these views are definitely distorted. And both can be destructive.
It is important to be sensible about ones load and avoid falling in either ‘I am fine, I only look fat’ or ‘I have an extra kg on my cheeks’ group.
Figure it out
It’s not tough to figure out whether you are scale-friendly or way off the optimum weight. There’s a basic, simple and scientific way to go about it.
You can of course follow the I-look-in-the-mirror-and-then-decide approach, which is okay only if you can be truly unbiased and truthful about your own weight (fat chance!); opt for the height weight charts - but they are way too generic and out-dated to be of any use; or go hunting for a (hard-to-find-a good-one) body composition machine to check your fat content.
But the simplest route to follow and a fairly accurate one at that, is to work out your Basal Metabolic Index (BMI). All you need is a calculator to do that.
It’s a simple formula: BMI = Weight in kilograms divided by (Height in meters) square.
Let me explain how to go about it. Take my friend's weight (the one who complains about the extra fat around her waist) is 54 kg and her height is 5 feet (1.524 meters). So her BMI would be 54 divided by 1.524 x 1.524 = 23.2.
Now let’s compare it to the BMI categories (Underweight = less than18.5, Normal weight = 18.5 - 24.9, Overweight = 25 - 29.9, Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater).
At 23.2, she falls in the normal weight category and has no reason to complain.
Similarly, every one can work out their BMI to check where they stand.
And if your weight lies within the healthy range but you're still unhappy, what you need is not a diet plan but a supervised exercise programme to sculpt your body better.
Maybe just a tutorial on better self esteem is all you need. If it is way off the mark, you know what you need to do. Yes, lose the extra weight quickly.
Take your weight seriously, but measure it the right way. Don’t fall for half-baked ways to figure it out.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)