BY: Anjali Hooda
Whoever you meet these days is always talking about weight loss, there’s not a single person one meets who doesn’t want to lose weight. Rarely do we see people who want to gain health. We have become obsessed with the so-called diets and size zero, which, by the way, is the unhealthiest thing you can do. There is no word called dieting in my dictionary. It’s a healthy lifestyle.
I believe we are so fixated on that number on the weighing scale, and never think about health.
Becoming healthy from inside will automatically lead to weight loss. So let’s talk about what are the initial things one can do to jumpstart weight loss. A very important step in starting any weight-loss program is to clean up your diet and your social life.
Drinking alcohol is the biggest rate-limiting step in weight loss efforts. Drinking once in a while and drinking more than twice a week will add up pounds and toxicity to the body. Alcohol is empty calories, and the body tries to burn alcohol first as it is the easiest fuel available. So the stored fat and glycogen stores remain as they are, and you start wondering what’s happening.
Eating outside food frequently is another cause that leads to inflammation and weight gain due to hidden sugars and salts and trans-fats. It is not really difficult to cook your meals. Choose from easy recipes, you don’t have to cook elaborate meals if you are very busy. Even a quick sandwich made at home is far healthier than something you buy outside. Pack your meals, don’t order out frequently. You can enjoy one or two meals in a week at restaurants. But it’s the frequent eating out that really leads to an unhealthy body.
So cut back on your social life and start eating home-cooked food. There is absolutely no need to go on fad diets and starvation diets or anything that will shock your body.
Start some form of physical activity. You should ideally start with a walk, it’s the easiest thing to do, takes less effort, and can be done anywhere. Even a 20-to-30-minute walk daily can be beneficial. Then, slowly increase the duration or intensity, depending upon how much time you get in your daily routine. There should be no excuse for not doing any physical activity. Always stick to a routine that you can follow lifelong. Don’t waste your money on expensive gyms and memberships if you are only going to do it temporarily. The more you weigh, the less effort you have to put in, to get the benefits of physical activity.
Don’t undermine the power of water: water is the cheapest and best tool for any weight management program. Drinking enough water, especially when you are hungry at odd times, can be very handy. So often when we are dehydrated, we think we are hungry and end up eating unnecessarily. Drink enough water so you don’t have concentrated urine. Let the color of your urine guide you.
Watch out for the in-between snacks that you consume on a regular basis, even one cookie daily can add up the pounds. Replace snacks with nuts, they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating in between meals must be done smartly; snacks rich in proteins and fiber are most satiating. Make this a lifelong habit. Don’t fall for packaged snacks, they are rich in preservatives and contain excessive salt and sugar. Make it a once-in-a-while thing if you do crave savories.
Eating on the go: Don’t rush your food intake. Sit down peacefully, thank God for the food that’s on your plate, and chew slowly, enjoying each bite. Digestion of food starts from your mouth. Eating slowly will satisfy you more than just gobbling your food.
Don’t weigh yourself daily. Metabolic processes are slow and it is only water shifts that you see on the scale daily. So weigh yourself weekly to monitor progress. Using quick weight-loss methods are not sustainable. You will gain all that back in no time if you don’t change your lifestyle.
Don’t overdo or under-do any food, too much protein or too much fruit or too low fat. These methods will never work. Meals must be balanced for full nutritional benefit. Trying to get vitamins and minerals from supplements is far inferior than eating a well-balanced meal.
So, on the whole, the day you decide to change your lifestyle is the day you start your journey towards fitness and health.