Losing weight can seem overwhelming—you have to figure out how to eat healthily and fuel your body properly, plan an exercise regimen that works for you, get plenty of sleep, and ultimately make hundreds of choices each day that will either bring you closer to your goal or throw you completely off track.
There are plenty of fad diets that work to shed pounds rapidly however, chances are you will gain it all back shortly after the diet is over. To keep pounds off permanently, it is best to lose weight slowly. And many experts say you can do that without going on a so-called diet. Instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
- Meal prep: Individuals lead a much healthier lifestyle if they plan when they are going to eat and what they are going to eat. It is recommended to check your schedule for the next day and plan out an eating schedule. If you let the day begin without planning, you tend to make unhealthy food choices.
- Choose Liquid Calories Wisely: Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but do not reduce hunger as solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. It is also recommended to avoid fizzy/ aerated drinks and alcohol.
- Eat More Produce: Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowd out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the centre of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Alternatively, you can also try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup. Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings. This will not only keep your diet enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, but also if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you will not be reaching for junk food.
- Go for the Grain: By substituting whole grains for refined grains like white bread, cakes, cookies, and pretzels, you add much-needed fiber. This will help fill up your stomach faster, so you are more likely to eat a reasonable portion. Choose whole-wheat bread, brown rice, bran flakes, etc.
- Control Your Environments: Another simple strategy to help cut calories is to control your environment -- everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants. That means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat restaurants.
- Add More Steps: It is recommended to be on the move & gradually add more steps until you reach 10,000 per day. Throughout the day, do whatever you can to be more active- pace while you talk on the phone, take the dog out for an extra walk, and march in place during television commercials. To keep a track of your steps & to keep you motivated, you can also get yourself a pedometer.
- Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack: Adding a source of low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer, so you are less likely to overeat. Try eggs, beans, lean meats, low-fat yogurt, or a small portion of nuts or peanut butter. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
- Sleep & De-stress: If you want to increase your chances of losing weight, reduce your stress level and get adequate sleep. Studies have found that people trying to lose weight were more likely to reach that goal if they had lower stress levels and slept more than six hours but not more than eight hours a night.
With a sustainable customized eating plan, you can eat healthy food & not only keep lose a significant amount of fat but also keep your health in check!
Dr Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy, Bengaluru