In this article, you will learn about the connection between overweight, obesity, and eczema.
As an eczema patient, it’s important to display some kind of bodyweight management. When a person develops eczema he is 8% more likely to become overweight or obese. But the opposite is also the case. A person that develops overweight or obesity is more prone to having skin problems like atopic dermatitis.
Effects of obesity on the skin
A 2017 study of American women found that skin barrier and moisturizing functions were significantly impaired by obesity, resulting in considerable dryness and roughness, compared with nonobese women.
Atopic eczema becomes a problem due to chronic inflammation in the whole body due to high caloric intake. That creates systemic inflammation combined with insulin resistance, demonstrated by altered levels of interleukin (IL)-6, leptin, adipokines, and insulin.
In another study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online March 16, 2011, the findings point to the same conclusions:
- Small children who are obese may be more likely to develop severe eczema
- Compared to children who weren’t obese, kids who became obese between the ages of 2 and 5 years old had more than three times the risk of developing the condition. If they were even younger when they became obese – babies or toddlers – their risk of the uncomfortable skin disease seemed to be even higher.
- Children who are obese for a long time are more likely to get eczema. If you’re able to reverse the obesity with weight loss, children may be less likely to develop eczema, or eczema symptoms may improve.
- Overall, the researchers found that obesity was nearly twice as common in children and adolescents with eczema. About nine of every 100 study participants with eczema were obese, compared to only five out of 100 without the skin disease.
The cost of overweight and obesity
The economic side of the matter is quite disturbing and the future outlook is not good. Healthcare costs are expected to rise dramatically in the coming years and place an already hard-pressed global healthcare system under even more pressure. For example, obesity is responsible for 70 percent of all treatment costs for diabetes, 23 percent of treatment costs for cardiovascular diseases, and 9 percent for cancers.
Health care providers use the Body Mass Index(BMI), which is a measure of your weight in relation to your height, to define overweight and obesity. People who have a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered overweight. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. You can calculate your BMI to learn if you are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese may increase the risk of health problems. Your health care provider can assess your individual risk due to your weight.
A good indication of whether one is eating healthy is by looking at BMI and the body’s overall impression. A BMI in the lower part of the normal spectrum may indicate that you are staying clear of too many unhealthy foods and controlling your general intake of sugar. If the body appears “trimmed”, it is a good indicator that you are on the right track with the current diet.
To keep the weight in check you have to exercise and eat healthily. In my free book Eczemahealingguide you can read more about a healthy diet that is optimal for fighting both eczema and weight problems. You will also learn some mental techniques to keep doing the right thing as a part of your future life.
Diet to stay lean and strong
I think that my diet is quite an effective way of keeping the weight stable and at the same time build muscle. The dilemma is always how to get enough of the essential building blocks for muscle growth, but at the same time not have too many calories, so that you also gain weight.
I found out that oscillating between a muscle-building phase and a fat-burning phase during the week is the way to go. Thereby you eat what you need for the phase you are in and your food choices have a higher meaning than just keeping you full and satisfied.
The meal plan for ordinary days (Fat-burning):
- Only coffee (with a little oat milk) and carrots from I wake up until lunch
- At lunchtime, I have three pieces of rye bread with eg. cold cuts, salmon, mackerel, hummus, and pâté.
- At about 15 o’clock porridge made from oatmeal and müsli, no added sugar
- For dinner, dishes with meat, fish, or vegan steaks, falafel, etc. as a protein source. Rice, bulgur, lentils, pasta, couscous, etc. are carbohydrate sources. Rough green vegetables e.g. fried aubergines, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, carrots, etc. as a fiber/vegetable source.
- After dinner, there is no more food meaning that I will be fasting for about 16 hours, before I have my next meal at about 12 o’clock the day after. That is called intermitted fasting and a very healthy way to live. You give your body a chance to digest correctly and pause to have some of the many benefits of fasting. I use the app Zero on my phone and apple watch to keep track of my progress in this matter.
The porridge is made like this:
- 35 grammes of oatmeat + 35 grammes of müsli with no addad sugars
- Add about 2 dl. cold water
- Microwave for about 2.5 minutes at max wattage
- Add 1 dl. of oat milk and 1 teaspoon of raw cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of Sukrin (zero calorie sugar alternative)
- Stir and let it sit for about two minutes
By keeping with this routine you do not have to think too much about what to eat and convincing yourself to eat healthy at every meal.
Of course, this diet is a little boring, but it is healthy and cheap. In fact, I find it to be the best fat-loss diet since it is so straightforward. It keeps you full and you always know what and when the next meal is there. By dividing the day into small manageable timeslots it is much easier to “stick-it-out” to the next meal.
The routine for days with intensive strength training
If you want a stronger body, but at the same time do not want to gain fat, then this meal plan is perfect. I’ve been doing it for many years and it works. It’s pretty impressive what an increased amount of high quality protein can do when you combine it with strength training a few times a week.
The meal plan on (one day before and one day after) training day:
- Peeled carrots (about 200 g) for the drive to work
- At lunchtime : rice dish consisting of 250 grams of minced chicken, 100 grams of peas, curry, salt, one can of pineapple in pieces and a shot of coconut milk. Made in Rice cooker from Sistema.
- Fruit or the rest of the rice dish from dinner relieves hunger until dinner.
- Dinner, dishes with meat, fish or vegan steaks, falafel, etc. as a source of protein. rice, bulgur, lentils, pasta, couscous el. lign. as a carbohydrate source. Rough green e.g. fried aubergines, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, carrots, etc. as a fiber/vegetable source.
The rice dish with chicken, pineapple and coconut milk is made as follows:
The rice cooker is filled with the following:
- One cup of rice + 2 cups of water
- 450 grams of minced chicken
- 100 grams of frozen peas
Heat the minced chicken meat, rice, salt, and water in the microwave for approx. 12 minutes at max. Wattage.
Add 1 dl. coconut milk, 1 teaspoon curry, a can of sliced pineapple in juice, and the frozen peas.
Stir and wait for approx. two minutes. Then there is a healthy hot dinner dish with high protein content.
During the day, I have no sugary soft drinks. Only juice, coffee, non-alcoholic beer, diet-coke or clean water with or without bubbles. As a snack, there is fruit, nuts and more carrots.
By following this routine, one does not have to think so much about what the next meal should consist of. Thus, it is easy to eat healthy at every meal. The bonus of this meal plan is that you can feel a marked improvement in the gym, while not gaining fat.
Of course, these meal plans are a bit tedious, but they are healthy and inexpensive. They keep you full and you always know what and when the next meal is. By dividing the day into small manageable time slots, it is much easier to “persevere” until the next meal.
Protein is not just protein
Many people probably think that proteins are simple building blocks that you just have to have enough of to stay healthy. But few are aware that proteins are a key term for a collection of amino acids. They are the real building blocks that our body needs to do everything relating to repairing cell damage, maintain and build muscle, secrete hormones, etc.
Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. The composition of amino acids can be very different, depending on the type of protein in question. Here the difference between vegetable and animal is noticeable, as the animal proteins to a greater extent contain the combination of amino acids that the human body needs. It is actually quite logical that meat products contain the building blocks that is needed to build muscle, etc., while the composition of our body is less reminiscent of a plant.
There are 20 different amino acids from which the body can make protein. A distinction is made between the essential and the non-essential amino acids. There are 8 essential amino acids. They are characterized by the fact that the body can not make these from other substances. There are also 12 of the non-essential amino acids and these the body can produce from other substances.
A major part of a healthy diet is to get rid of added sugar in your foods. This study shows that high sugar levels can damage your brain and cause or worsen dementia.
The exclusion of sugar is no big problem and your body adapts quite rapidly. It is just like turning the volume of your stereo down and your ears will adjust. The craving for sugary foods hangs on for the first couple of days. At the beginning of the process, you are most motivated and eager to do the right thing. That helps to get through the first “tough” days and after that, it becomes much easier. Things like raisins, fruits, and daddles are small explosions of sugary taste and you will be surprised how easy it is to relinquish added sugar.
The video below is one of the best if you really want to learn about the mechanics behind the obesity epidemic. They are need-to-know knowledge if you are serious about your health. You that you will be surprised by the facts that are presented.
To start the day with coffee and carrots are my prime choice. It is a power-boost of caffeine, fibers, vitamins, and antioxidants. Did you know that coffee has higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries?
Sometimes you will feel a little hungry at about 9 o’clock, but in a few hours, you will start your daily eating window. The foods I have use as part of my diet contain a high amount of protein, medium fats, and low natural sugars. On top, they have lots of fibers and healthy whole-grain carbohydrates to give energy and provide a feeling of satiety.
If you buy it – You eat it !
Another important part of the healthy diet is to clean out your house of any food that is not in sync with your goals and diet. This is again an important part of what I think is the best fat-loss diet.
To keep on the right path you must make a grocery list and stick to it. I have a saying: “If you buy it, You eat it”. Healthy foods need to be the only ones leaving the supermarket with you.
For the tempting times in the evening where the cravings come rushing in it is important to have a backup-plan in place. The plan is to have some healthy snacks ready in the cupboard. A bag of raisins, nuts, daddle or salty breadsticks can be the “emergency foods”. And when you crave a coke, then have some fruit juice. They may have the same calories, but now you got all the good vitamins instead of empty calories.
In the video below you will get even more knowledge about why we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic. This knowledge is good if you want to take back control of your lifestyle choices.
Weigh yourself often to stay on track
It is crucial to jump on the scale every single day to maintain progressive fat loss. It has been confirmed by science that people who lost weight and kept it off have daily weigh-ins. If you get two “high” measurements you might feel your progress has stalled. That is normally not the case. You can just not see the trends if you only step onto the scale some days. Below you see the fluctuations of my daily measurements. They are canceled out when you zoom out to Year-view.
When I follow my dietplan the result is a slow, but steady lowering of my body weight and body-fat percentage. The rate of weight loss is just above one kilogram a month, which is a healthy rate to reduce your weight.
Exercise – Keep muscle and lose fat
You have to find some kind of exercise that appeals to you. I lift weights for one hour two times a week and aim at getting 10.000 steps every day. My apple watch keeps track of all the exercise data and the daily weigh-in is also going into Apple-health.
By exercising you maintain your muscle mass and by performing weight- or resistance training you build bigger muscle. When your muscle mass is greater your body burns more calories even when you are not training. It is just like a car with a big engine. It will have a higher fuel consumption when idle than a car with a small engine.
Going slowly in the weight loss process minimizes the risk of losing muscle mass. And doing progressive resistance training while in a caloric deficit, you tell your body to hold on to the muscle. Because of the high nutritional content on the diet, I experience muscle growth while slowly becoming leaner. That is really what you want!
Walking – Fat loss acceleration
Walking is the easiest way of spending more calories and keeping muscle mass. The activity can be done everywhere and is free. The risk of injury is also extremely low compared to eg. running, playing football, or any other high-intensity sport. Combined with the fat-loss diet that I find to be the best, you can expect to see a gradual weight loss. But remember to be patient. Sometimes it takes just as long to fix it as it took to break it :-).
If I should recommend two videos about weight loss and walking it would be these two. They are my “go-to”-videos if I need some motivation myself or if people are asking about weight loss advice.
Committing to a healthy diet and getting the exercise done can be hard. But if you do not eat healthily and burn more calories by training you will keep gaining weight. Some application of daily discipline is needed to stay on the right track. After the initial motivation has faded you have to rely on rules, routines, and self-discipline. It might be helpful to read my article about how I use and apply discipline to stay clear of my eczema condition and keep fit. Every day!