Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

We’ve become used to hearing and reading that exercise is the most important aspect for weight loss. Studies have repeatedly shown that exercise alone might not bring down weight - there are other factors too, the most important being your diet.

It is true that exercise helps improve our mood and makes us feel upbeat, but does it help in faster weight loss? Not always.

Priyanka Verma, a nutritionist at Portea Medical in Delhi, notes that there is more to exercise than what meets the eye. “Just before the onset of the New Year, you see advertisements saying ‘Join the gym on January 1 and kick start your weight loss goal for the year’! To burst the bubble, there have been several studies which show that exercise isn’t actually all that important for weight loss. But this doesn’t mean exercise isn’t good. It is, in fact, great for the body,” she says.

So then, how does exercise exactly lead to weight loss?

“The key for weight loss is to generate and maintain a calorie deficit. It’s pretty easy to get people to eat 1,000-1,200 calories less per day, but to get them to do more than 1,000 calories per day of exercise is really difficult,” says Verma.

People in general are horrible in calculating “Calories In vs Calories Out” per day. Most people end up eating more than required after exercise, either because they thought they burned off a lot of calories or because they felt more hungry, she said.

“A single slice of pizza, for example, could undo the benefit of an hour’s workout. So could a cafe mocha or an ice cream cone,” notes Verma.

But do fitness trainers feel the same? Or do they feel exercise is the most important aspect of weight loss? We spoke to Anuj Vats, a fitness trainer at Shvas the Body Architecture, Delhi.

“I believe there are other ways as well to lose weight besides exercise. However, I would say that losing weight without gaining muscle/fitness is not a healthy way,” Vats said, listing out diet plans, meditation, etc.

Weight loss is a major concern for both the genders. To be able to reveal your body to your partner can be tough and hence, affect your sex life. Once you lose weight, you not only score better in your normal health parameters but also your love-making skills. Here are six ways losing weight can help you get your sex mojo back.

SELF-CONFIDENCE: One major drawback of being overweight is the inability to open yourself up to your partner physically. The lack of self-confidence due to bodily issues can hinder one’s sex life massively. By losing weight, you gain the confidence to be around your partner. You also tend to be freer and this can positively affect your sex life.

YOU ORGASM FASTER AND BETTER: As per experts, when you are overweight, an extra layer of plaque is formed around blood vessels hampering blood flow in the genital area. As a result, reaching climax is tough for many overweight individuals. Shedding weight leads to increased blood flow and sensitivity, resulting in better climax.

LESSER INTIMACY ISSUES: The key to a healthy relationship is relaxed and consensual intimacy. Being overweight can tamper this process simply due to low confidence about one’s own body. Once you lose weight, this comfort level with your partner goes up. This also diminishes the possible stress of not being able to connect with your partner.

IMPROVED STAMINA: If after going for round one, you are hyperventilating to enter another, it’s time you lose weight. With increased weight comes the added disadvantage of lesser stamina and energy. Weight loss can help overcome this problem by a huge margin.

YOU CAN SPICE UP YOUR SEX LIFE: Unable to try different sex positions? Your weight is to blame. Different sex positions can enhance your sex life and also help you burn off extra calories in the process! Missionary can bore you to death and to excite yourself as a couple, weight loss should not sound like a big deal!

Indian cuisine offers a variety of spices that tingle not only your taste buds, but also impact health positively. Black pepper, which can turn dull dishes into lip-smacking, can help you shed weight. Black pepper is loaded with Vitamins A, C, and K, minerals, healthy fatty acids and works as a natural metabolic booster which makes it a storehouse of uncountable health benefits, including weight loss. It also contains piperine. Adding up a little of it in your meal burns calories after eating for hours, prevents the creation of new fat cells and suppresses fat accumulation. Clinical dietician and Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal and FITPASS’ Dietician and Nutritionist Mehar Rajput, have suggested a few ways to use the spice:

* Gulp or chew directly: Those who can tolerate the burning hot flavour of black pepper can consume 1-2 peppercorns directly every morning. This will rev up your metabolism.

* Black pepper tea: Add a dash of freshly ground black pepper in tea.

* Sprinkle it over fruit and vegetable salad: Use black pepper as a seasoning and simply sprinkle it over your favourite salad. This not only adds an extra flavour to your plate but also aids in weight loss.

* Add it your everyday beverage: A pinch of black pepper powder over a buttermilk recipe or summer refreshing masala-mint-lemonade goes a long way in not only shredding extra pounds, but also for a healthy gut and immunity.

* Black pepper oil: Add a drop of 100 per cent pure black pepper oil in a glass of plain water and consume it before breakfast or else using it as a salad dressing is another option.

* Pepper prevents new fat cells from forming: Pepper helps in reducing fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids and Cholesterol level in the plasma and lipid profile. It also helps in elevating the good cholesterol and reducing the formation of new fat cells in the body.

With weight reduction and the growing consciousness about looks and physique turning out to be the biggest resolution for every youngster, a right combination of exercises and nutritious food can be a game changer.

Lack of enough proteins, iron and other dietary supplements in the human body can cause hair loss. Inadequacy of such nutrients makes our hair thirsty and deprived from their desired nourishment which eventually makes them fall.

Arvind Poswal, hair expert at Dr. A’s Clinic and Mandeep Singh, fitness expert at Step-On Fitness Center have rolled out some significant tips to reduce weight without causing any damage to your hair:

* Intake of ample proteins like red meat, fish and beans are a good practice. Proteins help in structuring hair follicles and supplement a healthy diet. Thus, intake of proteins is advisable.

* Eggs, spinach, citrus fruits, nuts, carrots, avocado and whole grains must be incorporated in your diet for a healthy contribution to your body.

* Always ensure consumption of plentiful calories, which are vital for proper functioning of the human body system. It is essential to confine calories for weight loss but excessive restriction results in hair loss as lack of nutrition does not supplement hair growth.

* Hair loss after weight loss is usually associated with a condition called Telogen Effluvium. Fluctuation in the Body Mass Index causes physical stress, which signals the hair follicles to move into an inactive stage. Hence, the weight loss must be gradual.

* Some other vital supplements for hair growth are vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron and zinc. These vitamins have been seen as significant contributors to weight loss and hair growth.

* Brisk walking, yoga and light workout aids effective weight loss as there are no shortcuts to effective results.

Hair loss from sudden decline in the body weight is not permanent. There are several ways to resume healthy hair growth.

* People who lose weight often restrict their calorie consumption. For proper functioning of human body, it is important that our body receives the necessary nutrients for ideal operations. Lack of optimum calorie intake, leads to deficiencies in the body system. Just like our body needs food, similarly our hair also require intake of nutrients for their healthy growth.

* Hair loss is not a hassle anymore. It does get difficult for our body to cope with sudden changes and takes time to adapt to them. Proper diet and a healthy lifestyle are always effective.

Makhanas, or fox nuts, are back in vogue and how! Ever since it became popular as a 'health snack,' the market value of makhanahas increased manifold. The puffed-up lotus seeds are being sold by healthy packaged food brands at high prices, due to the increased demand of the desi snack, the world over. A number of brands have started selling flavoured packaged makhana, in order to attract the health-conscious populace. This is also partly due to a return-to-the-roots wave that has been sweeping the subcontinent lately. But, how effective are makhanas for weight loss?If eaten in the right quantity and the right manner, makhanas may indeed help you along in your weight loss journey. Obviously, eating home-roasted makhanas is a healthier option than eating artificially-flavoured or packaged makhanas, which are high in salt and trans-fat.

Calories In Makhana
Makhanas are quite low in calories, which is why they have become so popular as evening weight loss snacks, which you can munch on happily. A 50gms serving of dry-roasted makhanas has 180 calories and no saturated fat or sodium at all. Dry-roasted means that no grease or oil has been used in roasting the makhanas.

Nutritional Value Of Makhana
Makhanas are rich in good carbohydrates and proteins. They are also gluten-free and contain a flavonoid called kaempferol, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. They are also high in magnesium, which is important for heart health and also the regulation of levels of calcium, potassium and sodium in the blood. Although, fox nuts are rich in carbohydrates, their glycaemic index is significantly lower than foods like rice, bread, etc. Makhanas are also rich in iron, which is important for haemoglobin formation in the blood and for optimum transportation of oxygen (through blood).

Here are several popular ways to consume makhana for weight loss:

1. Dry Roasted Makhana: Place your makhanas on a non-stick pan or griddle and roast them on a low flame until they appear slightly brown. Be careful to moderate the flame, so as to not burn the fox nuts. Once they are roasted transfer the fox nuts in an air-tight jar or container and place the container in a dry place.

2. Makhanas Roasted With Ghee/Coconut Oil: If you're not averse to a bit of healthy fat, then you may add a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil to your pan, before placing the fox nuts in it. You may add a bit of salt or chaat masala but avoid adding to many artificial or salty flavourings and seasonings.

3. Healthy Flavoured Makhana: If you just can't eat plain makhanas, you may make flavoured makhanas at home in a healthy way. All you need to do is roast the fox nuts in ghee and flavour them with naturally spices and condiments like mint leaves, curry leaves, coriander powder, garlic powder, turmeric powder, green chillies, etc. You may also add peanuts or cashews and almonds to the mix to add a bit more crunch and nutrition to the snack.

Dr. Nitesh
Dr. Nitesh
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mahesh Gupta
Dr. Mahesh Gupta
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Family Physician, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Chandrakumar Deshmukh
Dr. Chandrakumar Deshmukh
BAMS, Ayurveda Panchakarma, Pune
Dr. Ashwinikumar Kale
Dr. Ashwinikumar Kale
MD - Homeopathy, Homeopath Gynaecologist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Prashant Wankhede
Dr. Prashant Wankhede
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Pune