Indians prefer food over slim figures

A survey suggests we have no diet discipline
Last Updated 30 January 2019, 20:25 IST

According to a new survey conducted by Ipsos, a global market research company, if Indians were asked to choose between dieting and enjoying their food, they would pick the latter. The study shows that 77 per cent of Indians would choose food if given a choice between eating good food and being thin.

It also stated that 74 per cent people are happy with their current weight and 59 per cent believe that most diet plans ultimately fail. So their motivation to follow an exercise regimen is that they don’t have to watch what they eat since they are working out.

Metrolife spoke to experts to understand if this study is actually true. Dr Shalini Arvind, chief dietician at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, says that food has always been a priority to Indians.

She explains, “Let’s put it this way — there are certain phases in life you go through which make you follow a specific eating habit. In the case of elderly people, they have to worry about their liver or heart and diseases like diabetes. Unfortunately, they start to follow a diet only when they realise it’s too late.”

“In the case of youngsters,” she continues, “there are those who are extremely diet conscious and then there are those who don’t care at all. There are also those who want to look fit for a certain period of time — marriage, for example. So they will look for a quick fix for a short time.”

She says that this attitude is one of the main reasons why Indians probably cannot have a disciplined dietary plan. “It’s not that difficult to follow a diet plan, especially with the food we eat on a daily basis. As long as you have it in moderation and exercise at the same time, you will be just fine,” says Dr Shalini.

Food stylist and photographer Ambica Selvam is someone who feels that the survey is probably true. She herself admits that she exercises so that she can eat what she wants.

“It wouldn’t be fair if I say that I am not health conscious. I do watch what I eat; I make mental notes so that I can eat what I want without overdoing it. However, I also exercise and stay fit to continue eating my favourite food,” she explains.

Then why does a foodie city like ours take to fad diets so often? Do they really help?

Doctors point out that these fads won’t last if you don’t continue for a long time. Diets based on juices and salads will help you reduce weight initially but you will regain those kilos when you go back to consuming normal food.

Are healthy options always expensive?
While you may not find a salad at a Shanti Sagar or Darshini, you don’t have to always go to a fancy cafe to enjoy a good salad. A cheaper option is to make it at home and enjoy.

It’s a two-way street
You cannot expect to stay fit if you just exercise. You have to balance your meals and work out at the same time to maintain good health. Have smaller meals and don’t skip breakfast. If you cannot make it to the gym every day, do some stretches and squats at home.

(Published 30 January 2019, 13:06 IST)

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