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Diet for Obese Women

Obesity is characterized by excessive body fat and it is a serious health issue for women of all ages. The number of obese people is on the increase, putting immense pressure on an already overburdened healthcare system. A person is considered obese if his or her body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more. The BMI is a popular tool used to estimate a person’s ideal weight by comparing their weight in relation to their height. Statistics indicate thatapproximately 34% of women in the U.S.

fall into the obese category.

Diet plays a big role in the treatment of obesity in women by reducing or eliminating fat intake. If there are no underlying medical causes, your doctor can prescribe dietary therapy, exercise therapy, or drug therapy or a combination of these three therapies to bring your BMI to sub 30 levels.

  • Dietary therapy aims to lower a person’s calorie intake, lessen fat intake and bring down the body mass index.
  • Exercise therapy aims to burn off extra calories from fat while building up muscle mass, thereby reducing body mass index. Vigorous intensity exercises include brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming, individual sports like tennis and aerobics.
  • Drug therapy involves the use of certain drugs that may either suppress a person’s appetite or keep fat from being absorbed by the body. The two drugs in these categories that have been approved by the FDA are Sibutramine and Orlistat. These drugs have many side effects. Your doctor will be able to advise you about the benefits and side effects of these medicines.

Dietary therapy involves eliminating foods that are not good for obesity in women. Some of the important aspects of such a diet include:

  • Not starving – Not eating will cause your body to burn both fat and muscle for energy, an undesirable outcome. In fact, muscle mass needs to be built up while reducing fat levels.
  • Cutting your calorie intake – Reducing your calorie intake by about 500 calories a day means that you have cut 3500 calories in a week. This is the equivalent of 1 pound of fat.
  • Eliminating sugar, salt and fat – Eliminating these types of foods will help you to keep that calorie count low and not add to the fat levels.
  • Eating smaller portions – This eases the strain on your digestive system. If you feel hungry between meals, try snacking on a fruit to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

Foods to include

  • Complex carbohydrates – Foods such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal and brown rice. These will provide your body with the energy it requires to function. Limit your intake of these foods and keep within your set calorie target for the day.
  • Healthy proteins – Foods such as poultry, fish, egg white, soybeans, skim milk, cottage cheese, low fat yogurt and lentils. These foods will help your body build muscle tissue and lower your BMI.
  • Fiber – Foods such as fruits and vegetables can help facilitate digestion. They are also rich sources of vitamins and minerals that your body requires to stay healthy. They will also help to keep you full for a longer period. Vary your fruit and vegetables so that you receive the complete range of vitamins and minerals that your body requires.

Foods to avoid

The list of foods to avoid includes:

  • Junk foods such as potato chips, fries, soda pop, pizza and hamburgers
  • Sugary foods such as cakes, doughnuts, pastries and soda pop
  • Processed meat such as bacon, salami, sausages and canned meats
  • Red meat such as pork and beef
  • Fried foods
  • Dairy products such as cheese, cream and milk

Additional info for obesity in women

Symptoms of obesity in Women

Some of the symptoms of obesity include:

  • Appearance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Snoring
  • Back pain
  • Pain in the knees, hips and joints
  • Trouble sleeping


Obesity occurs when a person’s calorie intake far exceeds the number of calories burned during the day. The extra calories are saved by the body in the form of fat. Simply put, the main causes of obesity include:

  • Lifestyle – Overeating, eating the wrong kinds of foods and irregular eating habits are some of the causes of obesity. Sedentary lifestyles in which the body barely receives any exercise are another contributing factor.
  • Pregnancy – Many women are unable to shed the excess weight put on during a pregnancy.
  • Genetics – Some women have a history of obesity in their families.


Treatment for obesity usually involves a combination of dietary and exercise therapy and in some instances medical therapy. Surgery is used as a last resort and is generally recommended only if your BMI is greater than 35 and other weight loss methods have proved unsuccessful. There are different surgical procedures that are used including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic surgery and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Your doctor will advise you about the different aspects of these surgeries.


A diagnosis of obesity is usually made after calculating your body mass index or BMI. A BMI of 30 or more means you are obese.

Side Effects

Obesity has been linked to over 30 conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancers of the breast, colon, rectum and kidney. Obesity also increases the risk of:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Gout
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver disease
  • Low back pain and stroke.


Submitted on January 16, 2014