They say thin is always in but it can go too far and become unhealthy.
Overweight issues are over-hyped and the plight of millions of under-weight people is unheard of. If you are fighting a battle of anorexia, read the causes and consequences here.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extreme thinness and an inability to stay at the minimum body weight, considered healthy for your weight and height.
People suffering from anorexia are obsessed with controlling their eating and have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may use extreme dieting, excessive exercise or other methods to lose weight.
Psychiatric Impacts of Being Underweight and Anorexia Nervosa
Underweight people can suffer from negative body image disorders, low-self esteem, and anxiety. They are mostly snappy and cranky. Some underweight people are also known to have depression, that demands a professional help.
Anorexia Nervosa is like stretching your weight loss program or diet a bit too far, to an extent that you no longer feel hungry. Our glamour industry is to be blamed for that.
If you watch Fashion TV or know what a size zero is, you’ll know what I mean.
These females are walking skeletons with ghostly faces. Mind you that glow on the face is make-up and not natural. Some are as young as 14 years. Teenage is the time when your body is growing and needs extra nutrition and healthy fats. And starving during this time is criminal.
Just to remain thin some girls binge eat and immediately induce vomiting, this is a psychiatric disorder called bulimia.
When these girls have reached both these stages, they need professional help of dieticians and psychiatrists. Remember the 22-inch waist of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind? Underweight people have it and overweight people strive for it, but both are never happy.
How To Gain Weight the Healthy Way
Underweight people should be on a weight gaining diet and increase the overall calories they take in a day. They need to eat 4 to 5 meals a day with some in-between snacks.
Add Fat to Your Diet
Remember the fat we eat is the fat we wear. You need to increase the consumption of butter, desi ghee, cheese, cream and full cream milk. Add high energy food like dry fruits and nuts to your diet. Only fats will not give you whole nutrition. Add proteins to your daily diet. Animal proteins like egg, mutton, fish, chicken and pork should be in the diet.
If you are a vegetarian then consume a lot of pulses, milk and milk products daily along with soy. Soy protein is equivalent to animal protein.
For Example: Add two eggs or two bananas with milk to your existing diet.
Load Up on Carbs
Liberal amounts of carbohydrates should be taken, like cereals, rice, simple sugars or anything that tastes sweet.
For Example: Add two bowls of jaggery (gur) and roasted black grams (channa) to your existing diet to increase you weight. They are a rich source of iron, hence will improve anemia (Low Hemoglobin in blood) also.
Above all exercise is a must, if you want all that food to digest and fill your body at the right places.
Remember to drink a lot of water throughout the day, ideally 6 to 8 litres a day.
I do not recommend food supplements or appetite stimulants without a doctor’s advice. Steroids are a big NO! All boys to note this please.
At the center of the two extremes of underweight and overweight scales, lies a pivot. Here is person who maintains the right weight no matter what he/she eats. Such people should thank their parents for giving them those wonderful genes.
(Dr Niruta Sharma is a Consultant in Cardiology Department at RML Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, New Delhi. She wants to simplify health issues for public. She can be reached out on Twitter/@Nirutasharma)