Fitness or those dropping extra kilos doesn’t require you to turn into a gym rat or depriving yourself of your favourite foods. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to go in for sustainable change. Dr Rajeswari Shetty, Head, Dietetics, and Dr Altamash Sheikh, Consultant Endocrinologist, Diabetologist and Metabolic Physician, of SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, share some tips.
Keep a realistic goal for your weight
While setting a target for yourself, don’t keep a celebrity’s physique in mind. Instead motivate yourself by keeping a weight goal which can be achieved in 15 days. Go step by step. Understand the realistic expectations of ideal weight from a certified expert, rather than reading an advertisement, getting upset and developing non-realistic body image and weight expectations.
Choose smaller plates and bowls
Portion control is a must when trying to shed the excess kilos. If you load up your plate, you will end up eating more than you need. If one chooses smaller plates and bowls for meals, one will have to go for small portion sizes and thus avoid eating more food.
Stock up on healthy foods
It is difficult to resist tempting foods if they are right in front of you. If you keep sugar-laden goodies on the kitchen counter, you will definitely end up eating them when you are hungry, calorie count be damned. Instead, fill up your pantry with fruits and healthy snacks which are low in calories and have fiber. They take more time to chew, will fill you up faster and save you from consuming unwanted calories.
Modify your diet
Start by avoiding products which contain added sugars – they are high in calories and lead to weight gain. They usually displace healthy nutrients, so are best avoided. Examples include cakes, colas, savoury food, sugary drinks, etc. Do consume plenty of fiber, as it increases satiety and controls weight over long term, besides benefiting bowel movements. Vegetables and fruits are preferable. Understanding the importance of why you want to lose weight, keeps us motivated to all types of changes in eating patterns.
Take a walk
Walking 10,000 steps a day, or simply 45 minutes a day, helps greatly in losing weight. Apart from burning calories, it improves insulin sensitivity. Brisk walking is an excellent way to improve both physical and mental health.
Eat slow, chew slow, and take the next morsel only when you have finished the earlier one. Sleeping well is an equally important factor in weight management, just like eating and exercising. Outcomes are better when smart goals are set. For instance, ‘I will walk briskly for 45 minutes today’, or ‘I will eat three servings of fruits every day, this week’, or ‘I will not eat desserts this month’. Discuss each success, small and big, with your doctor. This will keep you motivated to continue on your fitness journey.
Maintain a journal
Keep a track of your eating (and cheating) patterns, mood variation and exercise/walking count. Maintaining a diary increase awareness of what one eats, helps measure progress, identifies triggers and vulnerabilities, and inculcates a sense of accountability and responsibility.
Often, involving family members proves to be beneficial in your weight loss program. It reminds and re-establishes dos and don’ts for the individual. Patients lose weight faster when there is strong familial, peer and social support. It makes the person more target oriented, committed and positive towards weight loss process.
Sip on green tea
One of the benefits of green tea is that it aids in weight loss. It is loaded with antioxidants called catechins, which are believed to work synergistically with the caffeine present in the tea to enhance fat burning. There are many studies which show that green tea (either as a beverage or a green tea extract supplement) can help one lose weight. The catechins in the green tea might prevent the accumulation of body fat, as well as increase body temperature so you burn more calories. Drinking 3-4 cups of hot green tea throughout the day is believed to aid in weight loss by speeding the body’s metabolism.
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