Healthy Eating & Weight Management

Healthy eating and weight management go hand in hand in Abu Dhabi & Dubai. What are the best ways to make sure you eat well, stay in shape and stay fit at the same time?
Healthy Food and dieting in Abu Dhabi - PT advice
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Healthy Eating To Help Manage Your Weight In Abu Dhabi & Dubai

Article Contributor: Andrew

So you finally decide to go on a weight loss diet in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

You look online as many of us do and see a new diet called intermittent fasting.

The method of loosing fat described as fasting is basically not eating any food and drinking only water for some period of time to lose weight.

Intermittent fasting can be for a day or two a week or something like the 16/8 plan.

This diet seems pretty simple and you decide to give it a try. Couple of days go by, without eating anything and you can see and feel that you lost a lot of weight.

You’re surprised and feel happy about the results that this new diet has provided.

Then you go to the gym and decide to start working out only to realise that you have no muscle left on you. What has your “new” diet done to you. It helped you lose weight as promised! BUT what kind of weight? Fat weight? Muscle weight? Water weight?

Yes, sure you have lost some size, some fat BUT the sad part is that you also lost hard to gain muscle. And now you are in a situation thinking was your new diet worth it.

Was the fasting method of losing weight worth it?

The above is just one example of why you should use a professional personal trainer in the UAE. Diet and nutrition personal trainers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are experts in ‘safe’ and ‘healthy’ weight loss and you should always seek the advice of a professional before starting any weight loss plan.

Table Of Contents

How does healthy eating help with weight management?

Many men, women and even children in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for ‘quick fix’ weight loss programs but the promises for nearly all these diets are unrealistic. 

The mechanism behind fat loss is a complex and requires a time to reduce the size of the fat cell. “Magic” diet plans that guarantee prompt results are often based on dehydrating your body to the point where the weight scale has significant drop down.

Nevertheless, this achievement won’t last long, your body will regain this weight as fast as you start eating again.

The prime goal of weight management in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is to change your lifestyle with healthy eating and regular exercise and not just looking at the number on the scale. 

Healthy eating is something we all need to think about. While the odd fast food snack won’t do you any harm making these kind of meals a regular occurrence will eventually lead to weight gain and it’s related diseases. 

Why do some people have problems with weight gain?

There are many reasons why some people seem to gain weight more than others. Every ‘body’ is different. 

But, the underlying truth is that the main causes of excessive weight gain are dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors.

Dis-balance between energy consumption and energy expenditure where the calories intake is higher than its required, poor diet quality, low physical activities, environment that promotes weight gain and contributes to overeating and sedentary lifestyle play the main role in global obesity escalation.

Additionally, genome-wide association studies elucidate the role of genetic factors.

A recent study found here concludes that children from overweight parents, in general, show less physical activity and high-fat food preferences as a result of family’s established lifestyle and food choices.

Where children’s weight gain is concerned, the modern lifestyle is the main reason for obesity increase among many children.

According to World Health Organization, children must dedicate at least 60 minutes of their time to vigorous or moderate-intense physical activity every day – many children in the UAE do not meet this criteria when it comes to extra-curricular activity.

Any extra time that children dedicate to playing sports, active games or exercising in general will have positive effects.

Most of the activities for children should be aerobic, however, exercises that improve muscles strength should be performed at least three times a week (for example, as part of physical education class).

Parents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai can help their children in achieving these goals. Additionally, parents need to look into ways of ensuring that children eat healthy, well balanced meals and reduce junk food intake. Personal trainers and fitness coaches specialised in Children’s fitness are ideal because they have the skills and knowledge to create ‘fun’ workout activities.

What are the key things to consider for healthy eating and weight?

Healthy eating and even moderate exercise will eventually lead to weight loss if you are overweight. However, it is always a good idea to learn about types of food that are more beneficial than others and also macro nutrients. You don’t need a science degree either to learn what is good and what is bad. 

Calorie intake:

The first thing you need to sort out about your nutrition plan in the UAE is your calorie intake.

There are plenty of formulas on the internet that can calculate that for you.

It’s very easy really. The simple rule is that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight but this deficit shouldn’t be too much because that can cause muscle loss too. If your goal is to maintain a healthy weight it is a simple case of not increasing your calorie intake too much. As advised, the odd treat here and then really won’t be a problem. The problem arises when you have been on a diet, reached your weight loss goal and then return to eating like you had in the past – that’s just a recipe for weight gain. 

Macro nutritents: 

Macro nutrients are not as scary as they sound and definately not confusing. 

The second step you or your trainer in the UAE need to look at are your macro nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates).

Protein should be around 30% of your diet, carbohydrates 40%, fats 30%.

There is a common misconception that people have that states: “if you want to lose fat you should lower your fat intake dramatically”.

This is simply not true. Healthy fats are a necessary part of your diet.

When you ingest healthy fats your body doesn’t need to store the extra fat and it’s released and burned.
Let’s take a look at these 3 macro nutrients in more detail.

  • Protein

Proteins are an important element of the body. All of the muscle cells are made from protein.

Proteins are the building blocks of your body that’s why it is necessary to eat plenty of protein (either meat or vegetable based) to retain as much muscle as possible while you are in a calorie deficit.

A good rule of thumb is that you need 2-2.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight in the UAE if you are working out OR 1-1.5g of protein if you are just dieting.

Good protein sources are: fish, chicken, turkey, ground fed beef & buffalo, seafood, soy.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the energy source for your body. You should spread them wisely throughout the day to help with fat loss.

You should consume most of your carbohydrates in the morning or at the time you are most active in the day OR if you are working out – before and after your workout.

They are necessary to keep you feeling energetic and happy.

Good carbohydrate sources are: basmati rice, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread/pasta, vegetables, fruits.

You should avoid artificial sugars as much as possible because they are classified as simple carbohydrates and they release fast into your body and if you aren’t active your body doesn’t know what to do with them so it stores them as extra fat.

  • Fats

Don’t be scared of fats. Fats are essential part of any diet. No matter if you are building muscle or losing weight, fats are important. They are equally as important as carbohydrates.

There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated fats. Your diet should consist of both of them although you should keep your saturated fat intake low.

It’s a major fuel source for your body (meaning it provides a lot of calories) and also the main way you store energy.

You need healthy fat to help you absorb certain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and antioxidants. Fat is important in giving your cells structure.

Omega-3 fats, a type of unsaturated fat, are important for optimum nerve, brain and heart function.

One type of fat you don’t need is Trans fats, an artificial kind of fat found in partially hydrogenated oils.

nothing tastes as good as healthy feels - uae personal trainers

Do quick fix healthy eating diets work?

Relapse weight gain has been linked to fat storage shifts and an increase in android fat distribution, hyperplasia, and active adipose tissue growth.

Therefore, initial weight gain and relapse weight gain has different outcomes on health.

Weight regain appears to be more harmful, leading to an increase in CVD risk factors, hypertension and metabolic syndrome developing, fluctuations in circulating levels of lipids and insulin.

The ultimate goal is maintaining a healthy weight and making sure that through regular exercise and eating well it becomes part of you – part of your lifestyle.

Does healthy eating alone ensure weight management?

Making sure you eat a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet as part of a healthy lifestyle will definitely help to keep your weight in check. However, while nutrition is a very important part you should also consider doing some form of exercise or training too. 

Even taking moderate exercise a few times a week can be very beneficial to your overall health, keep you in great shape and help you keep your weight down. 

There are studies that show losing fat weight can help reduce your fitness of heart disease, diabetes and more.

Good exercise types for all ages are:

Swimming for fitness. Swimming provides you with an all over body workout. It’s great for cardio fitness, can help with weight loss and improves your flexibility. What’s more, swimming is ideal for all ages and even prenatal and postnatal women in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. For the elderly swimming is ideal because it is a low impact form of exercise. 

Cardio HIIT. All forms of cardio exercise are good for you. HIIT based exercises (High Intensity Interval Training) are not as difficult to do as they may sound. You start off at a level suited to you and your current fitness level.

Yoga & Pilates. Both Yoga and Pilates can help keep your weight in check and they also provide other benefits too like relaxation, stress relief (ideal if you are comfort eater) and posture correction.

In summary....

Dieting can be difficult. But, once your have lost the excess weight and got yourself back in shape you need to think about healthy eating and weight management as part of a lifestyle change. 

It’s easy to do with the help of the professional weight loss coach in the UAE.

Find A Local Weight Management Coach In The UAE