It is Christmas season and parties have started. Most if not all the dishes you crave for – lechon, fried chicken, adobo, menudo, macaroni salad to name a few, abound in corners despite price increases. These are all calorie-laden and high in fat with all the meat and frying. Intake of excessive kilocalories (kcal) can bring about weight gain that may just worsen after the party season leading to a variety of health problems. An excess of 3500 kcal results to a weight gain of about half a kilo. Mind you, it is very difficult to shed off excess weight.
Weight is one measure of growth such that starting at birth, there is a so-called normal weight (2.5 kg – 3.2kg). In one’s lifetime, the period of infancy (0-11 months) is a period of fastest growth so that a child of normal growth is expected to double his/her weight by age five to six months and triple by age one year. From thence, a child is more or less at a normal growth rate with increments of 2 kg each year at least until 19 years of age. The period of adolescence (10-19 y/o) is the second growth spurt, next to infancy, such that all needed energy and nutrients are crucial to attainment of one’s full growth potential particularly during infancy and adolescence.
During adulthood, increase in size is not expected but one should be within his/her normal weight range which is based on the ideal or desirable body weight (IBW/DBW). This is the weight at which the body functions best. One formula that is used globally is the Hamwi Method computed as for the first 5 feet of height, allot 100 lbs for females, 106 lbs for males. For every inch above 5 ft, add 5 lbs for females, add 6 lbs for males. For every inch below 5 ft, deduct these same pounds depending on the sex (5 or 6 lbs). The lower limit of the normal weight range is 10% below the IBW and the upper limit is 10% above.
Example: 5’4 male will have an IBW of 130 lbs (1st 5ft = 106 lbs; add 24 lbs from 4 in x 6 lbs) or 59 kg. Get 10% which is 5.9 rounded off to 6 kg. The normal weight range will be 53 (derived from 59 minus 6) to 65 kg (derived from 59 plus 6). Beyond the normal weight range is malnutrition. A commonly used method to determine nutritional status is calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) and one has a normal nutritional status if having a BMI of 18.5-24.9. One is overweight if BMI=25.0-24.9 and obese if higher.
Being underweight, overweight or obese are malnutrition problems and risk factors to a variety of illnesses. Excessive weight gain brings about undesirable changes to body functions, increased risk to surgery, lowered level of fitness in addition to emotional, physical and social implications. Worldwide, obesity is now a fast growing “epidemic” and associated with diabetes mellitus; diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as heart attack and stroke; some type of cancers; gallstones; gout; osteoarthritis and many more. For some, surgeries are complicated or may have to be postponed pending weight loss.
Some tips to maintain your weight especially for those who attend many parties – go for healthier option such as fruits and vegetables. Choose the lean meat, not the visible fat. Pick the steamed, boiled or baked protein dish or those not cooked in fat. No to creamy sauces or soup and colored drinks. Chew your food thoroughly so little shall have been consumed by the time the satiety signal is felt. Drink lots of water which is the best beverage at all times and it has no calories! Moderate alcohol drinking, if you must. Think of life after Christmas and it’s all your choice when it comes to food – sacrifice now and enjoy later, or enjoy now and sacrifice later. Happy eating!