Food for thought!
It is mostly common sense, right? But this is where knowingly or unknowingly, we all fail to think straight!
To maintain/lose fat or weight, there are two components,
1. Nutrition &
Let’s see Nutrition is simple terms and how we can try to make best of it.
Food is Fuel to the Body….we all know this. It can’t get any simpler than that! But it needs to be Premium quality! Premium Food for Body is like Premium Fuel for the car…makes your body super efficient and makes it run longer and this leads to less wear and tear. Whereas the opposite, Low-grade food makes your body take on stress, more wear and tear and hence it functions less efficiently.
Premium Foods mean quality proteins (low-fat dairy products, eggs, legumes, lentils, beans, lean white meats, soy and soy products), quality complex carbohydrates (whole grain whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta, whole grain whole wheat bread, fruits, root vegetables) and quality fats (unsaturated fats like canola oil, olive oil and whole fats like different kind of raw nuts, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese in limited portions). Of course, consuming variety of different colored vegetables and leaves (bhaaji) and fruits supply plenty of nutrition in terms of vitamins and minerals. Your diet should ideally be a good balance of protein, good carbs and fats. Don’t leave anything out. Of the total calories allotted for the day, Complex Carbs should be a major portion (50-60%), followed by Proteins (20-25%), followed by fats (20- 25%).
Each Individual has a different calorie requirement and basically it depends on daily lifestyle, exercise-habits, gender, age and current weight. For example an athlete has much higher requirement of daily calories than an average office-going man. An active child needs plenty of calories than a child who spends majority of free time watching TV or playing video games. Similarly a young college-going woman needs a different calorie-count than middle-aged woman who lives a sedentary lifestyle. But somehow in a joint family system, everyone ends up ingesting nearly same amount of calories, not counting the dreaded obligation to finish every thing on plate (even if one is stuffed)!
Low-grade food should slowly and gradually stop being part of your daily diet. Yes, occasionally it may be unavoidable but in a daily routine, kick them off your food list. It consists of anything that’s fried/deep-fried and/or contains concentrated amounts of sugar and salt. This could be fried snacks, sweets, oily pickles, condiments and any dish that’s made simply out of refined white flour and excessive salt and sugar. You can have your favorite foods once in a while, on certain occasions but the secret is to maintain the portion-control on those days. If you count that as part of your decided total calorie intake for the day, then these foods won’t make you fat or sabotage your being healthy. I also like idea of 75%-25%. And that is 75% to 85% of the time, stick to Premium food, whereas keep a little space of about 15%-20% for comfort foods. Again, this is more for maintaining your diet, if you are trying to lose weight, it should be more like 90%-10%.
Let’s take an example:-
2-3 mid-size pieces of Indian sweet can easily contain anywhere between 200 to 400 calories. Whereas a big bowl of chunky vegetable soup with along with 2 slices of whole wheat bread with a pat of butter can equal to 350-400 calories. What would you rather have as a meal? What do you think is more nutritious or going to give you sustained energy for a longer period of time? Think about this, most people knowingly eat all of the above in one-go, a total of about 700-800 calories and don’t even feel that “full”.
So overtime, if you are not careful, all those small things can contribute to major weight gains. And the blaming game starts “Its genetics…yes, that what makes me fat”…it could be…but genetics affects most likely as to where you store the fats or how you gain the fats…but your main two parts of body that LEAD to weight gain – Hands and Mouth are not genetically-controlled. “It’s my metabolism…..yes, its too slow”…it could be…but you can easily overcome that by being more active, eating right and working out regularly….”I am a mom….yes, all this weight-gain is due to pregnancy”…So? If your kids are more than 2 yrs old, then this should not be your blame…..pregnancy is a wonderful part of a woman’s life, it shouldn’t be picked upon to blame for years and years!
Anyway back to nutrition, here is one major tip that does really work. Make a plan beforehand. Sticking to that plan always helps. It takes roughly 5-10 minutes of your day to plan what you want to eat that day…..accordingly you can cook or plan your meals in that structure. Or you can sit for 10-15 minutes one day of a week and decide entire Menu for next week and do groceries accordingly! Think of this, most people have high success rate of weight loss, when they follow a particular plan set up by a dietician, so why not do it yourself? Diving into a new habit is hard, takes few weeks to adjust, and then it will be a routine. Also as days turn into months, you will know exactly which food is okay for you and which food is going to put a rainfall on your efforts in terms of caloric value.
Here are some websites that help with calorie counting.
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