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Sunday, September 5, 1999
Those who are underweight should diet and exercise to get a more curvaceous and filled out figure. Often people who face a sudden growth spurt and gain height rapidly between the ages of 12-16 could be a little underweight, writes Anup Deb Nath
MOST books and fitness or health related articles tend to focus on the overweight. You can find countless articles on how to reduce your hips, tone up your arms, trim your abdomen etc. Seldom is any thought given to those who are on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Underweight people suffer almost as much from a negative self-image as do those who are overweight. There are of course many different reasons for being underweight such as improper diet, hormonal imbalance in the body, genetic reasons, different body compositions like ectomorphs, and the more severe problems related to ill-health and eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa is a relatively new disorder in India, but the West has had cases of anorexia for years now. A classical case of anorexia nervosa, has been defined "as extreme body emaciation caused by emotional or psychological aversion to foods and eating. The condition occurs mostly in young women."
In affluent communities many teenage girls and young women diet to become slim, anorexics, on the other hand, diet more than they need to, they have appetite for food that they keep suppressed. Anorexics also have a phobia about being fat and often see themselves as far fatter than they really are. In some extreme cases women not only abstain from food but they even induce vomiting, bouts of which are sometimes interspersed with eating binges. When habitual this habit is called bulimia nervosa.
Those who are underweight due to anorexia need the expert guidance of a doctor as well as a psychologist and the support of family and to overcome this problem. If you have a hormonal imbalance in the body that is causing your weight to drop then you need to consult an endocrinologist as well as a nutritionist to deal with your problem.
Those who are underweight but do not suffer from either of the above problems should diet and exercise to get a more curvaceons and filled out figure. Often people who face a sudden growth spurt and gain height rapidly between the ages of 12-16 could be a little underweight. This problem is caused as the bodys entire growth is focused on gaining height rather than weight. Eating a balanced diet with the required amount of protein and carbohydrates as well as doing a moderate amount of exercise can help one add a little weight. Protein helps the growth of muscle in the body while carbohydrates give energy.
Those adults who are underweight but suffer from no apparent health problems can benefit from diet and exercise. Weight training exercises are a must and these should be done at least three times a week for a period of about half an hour to 45 minutes per session to begin with. Start with lifting lighter weights and then slowly progress to more repetitions or increase the weight you are lifting. Combine this with some aerobic activity like cycling, jogging, swimming and dance aerobics to help strengthen your cardiovascular system. To add on weight you must try to eat more frequent meals in the day even if they are not very heavy meals. These should be nutritious and well-balanced meals rather than the high-fat-low-food-value junk food that many opt for. Those who trying to add weight can eat extra of all food categories, including polyunsaturated fat that is largely avoided when one is trying to lose weight.
It is important though to remember that you should not eat fat or protein just before you exercise as these take longer to digest. Try to eat more of complex carbohydrates like fruit, green leafy vegetables, rice, wheat etc.
It is also important to remember that fat and sugar tend to ruin your appetite for nourishing food and inadequate nutrition can actually depress your appetite and lessen hunger pangs. Tobacco and alcohol are also said to give the same signals to the body and therefore it is best to abstain from these.
Try to tempt your body
with newer recipes of food that is healthy, nutritious
and exciting to see and eat. This might tempt you into
eating more happily and that would help you gain the
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