Ever hear of the words “exercise”, “diet”, “lose weight”? I am sure all of you keep hearing these words over and over again and chances are that most of you have had a struggle with each of these. Losing weight has been a struggle for a lot of people. I used to be stick thin before my marriage. The first year post wedding is one of the periods when people are at their happiest. You have found a new hubby; you are beginning a new life etc. You enjoy life and food becomes a major part of enjoying life, right? We used to eat out a lot and thanks to my stick thin figure; I never bothered about what I was eating. 6 Months into our marriage, people started telling me that I had put on weight! I ran to check the scales (something that I have never done before). I weighed 64 Kgs. Man, How did that happen?! I have never gone over 50 kgs! So, there began my quest to weightloss!
So, I tried working out in the gym, doing exercises at home, doing some basic diets (nothing big, though) etc. Nothing seemed to work .I still looked and thought I was fat. My favorite jeans wouldn’t fit. Man, I had never imagined that I would have to ever worry about weight loss or dieting! So, while got into weight loss, exercise and diet mode, I started to read lot magazines, articles over the internet on dieting. But what I realized by reading those diets was that, it was not something I could sustain throughout my life. Priyanka has written an article on 4 weeks weight loss and also suggested some diet charts. Although those are great and should help anybody kickstart their weight loss program, its quite tough for anybody to continue eating that way throughout our life. At least for me it is not possible to stick to such strict regimen.
I am a human after all, I tend indulge in desserts, fried foods etc. But what really matters is that you know what you are feeding to your body and how it is going to affect you either in a good way or a bad way. So, I gave up on trying to “lose” weight and instead started concentrating on becoming healthy. I wanted it to be a part of my life rather than a program that I should stick to. Nobody likes rules, right? I started eating healthy last summer and people have ever since started telling me that I have look nice and keep asking me if I am dieting ! Although I haven’t lost a ton of weight, I know I look a lot better, I am able to workout a lot longer and I feel better and look fresh! So I am gonna point out some of the healthy factors that I introduced into my lifestyle. Most of these are well known ones, but we all need somebody to reinforce facts once in a while. If you notice, out of the 10 points, 8 are based on eating right and healthy. So here they are:
1) Eat a healthy breakfast:
Sounds boring and clichéd, right? Whatever it may be, it is the GOLDEN rule. I was never a breakfast person in my life. I continued the same thing after marriage too and used to starve myself till lunch at 12.00 or 1 PM. (Note that you do not have your mum around you after marriage to feed you on time…what a bummer!) By then I would be SO hungry that would literally stuff myself with whatever I could lay my hands on. That led to overeating and eventually weight gain. So, having a filling breakfast made a huge difference in my eating habits throughout the day.
So, pretty please have a healthy breakfast. Your body needs it after the night. It’s not called break fast for nothing, ya know? (Break the fast, get it?)
My favorite breakfast ideas:
Oats with milk and some raisins thrown in. I don’t add sugar, but the raisins add the sweetness and they are good for you in limited quantities.
Multigrain or whole wheat bread toasted with 1 tbslp of peanut butter. Natural peanut butter has got protein and is good for you.
2) Reduce the amount of sugar in your daily diet.
“I hardly have sugar. It’s just a teaspoon or two in my coffee or tea”. How many of you think that way? Well, let me tell you sugar creeps into our diet in a lot of ways. Sugary sodas, syrupy juices, energy drinks etc are some of the common ways that sugar gets into your body. Try to limit your juice intake. Instead have the whole fruit instead. It’s better for you. I will touch upon this later. And don’t even think about having sodas. They NEED to go. Break up with them! It’s a bucket load of sugar, unwanted chemicals and fizz. Your body will thank you later. If possible try to use raw unprocessed sugar as much as possible. Anything that is pure white in color has been through a lot chemical processing and bleaching. We are trying to keep it natural, remember?
3) Switch to whole grains and cut out the refined flour.
You may ask how this may affect your weight loss. The point is refined flour aka Maida is nothing but whole wheat flour stripped of all its natural goodness and fiber through bleaching and chemical processing. So, what good can it do? The Refined flour products are digested very quickly by our body. This releases a lot of glucose into our bloodstream. This exactly why diabetic people are told to avoid white rice and instead have broken wheat or brown rice in limited quantities. This sudden surge in sugar levels eventually makes us crash, and in turn we feel hungry very soon. But unrefined products like whole wheat, oats etc are full of fiber and keep us full and satisfied for a longer time.
What is up with fiber?
Dietary fiber is nothing but all parts of plant foods that our body cannot digest or absorb. Unlike fats, proteins or carbohydrates, which the body can breakdown and absorb; fiber isn’t digested by your body. Hence it passes relatively intact out of our body. The many benefits of fiber are that it normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain bowel integrity and health, lowers blood cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels and last but not the least – Aids in weight loss. How? Fiber rich foods usually require more chewing. This give your body more time to register and signal you when you are full. So you are less likely to overeat. Fiber rich foods also make you feel satisfied and full soon, and also make you feel that way for a long time after the meal. Another point is that high fiber food has fewer calories for the same volume of food.
4) Incorporate more vegetables and fruits
Need I say more? When I noticed my eating pattern, I found that I was consuming more of white rice and less of vegetables. This is a big no-no. Keep your simple carbs (White, rice, white bread, pasta, rotis) to a minimum and consume a lot of vegetables as your side. Vegetables deliver a lot of fiber and truckloads of nutrients. Once you start stuffing yourself with vegetables you will notice that you have a lot more energy and feeling of satiety. The same thing with fruits. Fruits not only give you a lot of nutrients but they also help satisfy your sweet tooth. To up your fiber intake, consume organic fruits like apples with the peel. Forgo the juice. They do not have the fiber.
Tip: Try eating some mixed berries or cup of other fruits drizzled with some yogurt and honey. It’s a no fuzz dessert and is also good for your waistline.
5) Avoid processed food
Processed food is EVIL. Get that straight. I know we all lead busy lifestyles and don’t have time. Ever so often we all resort to ready made cup’o noodles or packaged Mac and cheese and what not. What we don’t realize is that these foods are laden with sodium (sugar too)! High sodium diets not only increases your blood pressure, it also increases your chances for a heart disease. Not only that, sodium tends to retain water and causes bloating. Now who on earth would want that? I am sure none of you pretty girls do. 🙂 Avoiding processed food leads to another important point that I will discuss in part 2.
I hope you enjoyed reading this part 1 of my quest to healthy living and eating. I will discuss more in part 2!!