If we look at the older meaning of the word ‘diet’, it means ‘way of life’. But in today’s world, ‘dieting’ means over-restricting, and even starving ourselves for days and weeks to lose a few kilos.
It is unsustainable, unhealthy and cannot be our lifestyle. It’s the reason why upto 80-90% of the people who lose weight, end up regaining it in the coming weeks and months. You don’t need to starve yourselves or remove your favourite foods from your nutrition plan to lose weight.
We got health and fitness educator Yash Vardhan Swami to elaborate on how to make the whole dieting process sustainable and enjoyable by inculcating your favourite and staple foods in your diets.
Decoding fat loss and understanding calorie deficit
To lose fat, one needs to eat fewer calories than what they are burning over time to create a calorie/energy deficit. This leads to the body tapping into body fat to use it as energy. Every diet works by putting you in a calorie deficit. But that doesn’t mean you need to remove your favourite food sources or starve yourself.
A lot of times we miss a very important point — What happens after the ‘diet’ ends? Would we be able to make it a lifestyle and get back to the old routine?
From wheat, bread and rice to chapati and dairy, all of these can be a part of your nutrition plan (while losing fat) as long as you are not particularly sensitive to any of these food sources. You can include anything in your diet, as long as you do not overeat calories to lose fat.
Along with a calorie deficit, you need to support our health and fat loss too. Ensure that your nutrition plan has enough macronutrients and micronutrients, protein, carbohydrates, fats and enough vitamins, minerals (coming from fruits, vegetables and a variety of food sources) and water to support health and optimise all metabolic processes. So, that your health improves while you are losing fat and you are creating a calorie deficit, not a nutrient deficit.
1. Move more and exercise regularly
If you are exercising regularly (3-5 times in a week), you burn more calories, which deepens the calorie deficit. Along with that, exercising is amazing for your cardiovascular, lymphatic and even mental health. Also, let’s not undermine the role of walking more. Walking 8,000-12,000 steps every day can help with not only amplifying calorie burning, but also improving overall health.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
Along with this, if you sleep for 7.5+ hours every night, that would optimise fat burning and even help you control hunger and increase our satiety as optimal sleep can lower ghrelin (hunger hormone) and increase leptin (satiety hormone), along with numerous health benefits sleep has on our brain health, organ health, recovery and even emotional health.
3. Avoid processed foods
Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai suggests avoiding consumption of ready to eat processed foods.
“Convenience and time constraints due to work or family responsibilities often forces you to rely more on easily available or easy to prepare processed foods. These foods mostly are low on nutrients and fibre as compared to our traditional foods. Try to avoid outside food. Today ordering food is at our fingertips due to easy availability. Challenge yourself to not order outside food for a week at a stretch. Avoid sugar as much as possible,” she suggests.
4. Chew your food properly and eat slowly
Doing so will reduce your food intake, as eating slowly helps to prevent overeating by achieving the feeling of fullness faster.
“This in turn automatically restricts portion sizes. Various studies have confirmed that eating faster without chewing the food properly can lead to weight gain. Not only this, but it can also lead to digestive issues like bloating, acidity, etc. Cultivating mindfulness at meal times can go a long way in weight maintenance,” added Dr Bhasker.
Lead Image Credit: Shilpa Shetty and Ananya Panday, Instagram