Dietitian Hema Deenadayalan is currently working as a consultant dietitian in Nithra Institute of Sleep Sciences, A unit of Utopian Healthcare Pvt Ltd. Annanagar, Chennai. She started her career 15 years ago and has worked for women’s health, weight management, diabetes management, heart health, gastrointestinal disorders, and other special needs by providing individual counseling. She can communicate precise information about dietary matters in an understandable form to the clients and encourages them to make practical choices about their food. She also ensures that the client’s nutritional requirements are met safely and effectively.
She has done her Master’s in Applied Nutrition, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Food Service Management and Dietetics, Madras University, Chennai. She has also pursued Post Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education, recognized Education Programme of International Diabetes Federation, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Steno Education Center, Denmark in collaboration with Novo Nordisk Education Foundation, India. She is a life member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) Chennai Chapter and Research Society for the study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI)New Delhi. She actively takes part in community programs to promote wellness, prevent and manage the disease through optimal nutritional health.
In an exclusive conversation with Zotezo, Dt. Hema has spoken about weight loss. Below are the edited excerpts of the interview.
Team Zotezo: Why is it a big challenge for people to lose weight?
Dt. Hema: The challenge starts from changes in eating habits and to do exercise on a regular basis. To put it simple, determination and consistency plays a vital role when it comes to weight loss. Thus it becomes a big challenge for people to follow a healthy eating plan and to have a regular exercise throughout their lifetime.
Team Zotezo: How can one figure out that’s how many calories he or she should be eating?
Dt. Hema: That depends on the person’s weight, age, gender, height. Based on all these parameters the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) will be calculated. After calculating BMR, the physical activity factor will be included. BMR will be multiplied by 1.2 for light workers, 1.3 for moderate ones and for the heavy workers it will be 1.5. Accordingly diet will be calculated and prescribed to the person.
Team Zotezo: How does one conquer a food craving?
Dt. Hema: Definitely, one should have a protein and fiber-rich diet to control a food craving. Handling stress and having a quality sleep is very important for conquering a food craving. Healthy living is like a pyramid, quality sleep being the base where you can build on healthy eating and exercise patterns.
Team Zotezo: Should people cut carbs to lose weight?
Dt. Hema: Definitely yes, but people should not completely cut down on carbs. They can try and restrict the amount of carbs they consume. Restricting is important but not totally cutting down the carbs. A dietitian should be consulted for a planned wholesome diet and exercise to lose weight.
Team Zotezo: Is it true that eating after 8 p.m. can make you put on weight?
Dt. Hema: It is a myth that eating post 8pm can make you put on weight. Only thing that you need to keep in mind is whatever you consume, both the quality & quantity of food is very important. Post dinner we are not involved in much of an activity, so we have to be careful as to what and how much we eat.
Team Zotezo: Are sugar substitutes safe and how much can we consume each day?
Dt. Hema: Artificial sweeteners are synthetic products. People who want to lose weight, keep diabetes at bay will definitely opt for these sweeteners. But they are generally not safe to use when consumed in larger quantities. The sweeteners are 200-20000 times sweeter than regular sugar. You don’t need much and hence advised to use it in moderation.
Team Zotezo: What kind of supplements are recommended to help speed up weight loss?
Dt. Hema: Dietitians believe in lifestyle modifications for weight loss. Changes in your eating pattern, exercise routine, the quantity of water consumed, managing stress, and having quality sleep are important. All these factors are important to help speed up the weight loss process. Supplements alone will not do the magic. If people skip meals then a meal replacement is suggested, it is only whey protein. Whey protein can help induce the feeling of fullness in a person.