We know it isn’t easy to always focus on your diet and exercise. Many of you have big companies to run, or are moms and your life circles around your child – drive them to school, hobby class, parent-teacher meetings etc., and many of you are students trying to balance everything from submissions and exams to a having a social life and peer pressure. “I am no celeb. I have a real life”, you often end up saying. But all of us want a healthy and fit body to be able to do all the other important things in life effortlessly.
To make this easy for you, we have listed here 10 simple lifestyle modifications for your fast-paced lives. Pick ANY 3 out of these 10 tips to lose upto 5 kgs in less than 6 months. Ditch the crash diets that decrease your energy levels and make you feel tired all the time. Worst of all they are boring and keep you thinking about food all the time.
Choose 3 from here:
- Don’t Blow off Breakfast
‘Never skip your breakfast’ – your mom told you that and so did your nutritionist, but did you listen? If not, listen now and start eating a healthy wholesome breakfast every day. The word breakfast itself says that you are breaking a fast (breaking an overnight fast). A healthy and hearty breakfast (preferably a homemade one) provides you with the energy you need in the morning and kick-starts your metabolism for the day. Research shows that people who eat a healthy nutritious breakfast every day tend to not overeat at other meals and are more attentive, productive and physically active throughout the day.
2. Skip the Whites
All processed foods that are white in colour and high on starch are the whites we are referring to here. White foods include sugar, salt, refined flour, pasta, rice, and bread. The sugar from processed whites is absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly, much of which is converted to and stored as fat. You don’t need to completely avoid these foods. Limit their intake and you will start to feel the difference and see a visible change on the weighing scale in just a few weeks.
Natural and unprocessed white coloured foods like white beans and cauliflowers and other carbohydrate and fibre-rich foods such as brown rice, whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread do not fall under this category.
Also, whenever eating refined flour, pasta, rice etc try to pair them with salads, vegetables, beans, legumes (anything with high fibre, protein and good fats) etc, to reduce the damage it can cause. Learn more about food pairing and glycemic index
3. Ditch all fast food
Fast food is food that is available fast. Most processed and ready to eat foods are fast foods and we have welcomed them into our lives because they are convenient and cheap and can be eaten on the go. Most processed foods have undesirably high amounts of fat, sugar and/or salt to make them tasty and addictive and hence are best avoided. You can still have your pizzas and burgers as long as you cook them at home or eat at a good gourmet restaurant. Read more about Fast foods: All your questions answered here.
4. Learn to cook
Eat what you want but cook it at home! When you let a food corporation cook for you, they are there to succeed and make money and not to watch out for your health. If you cook at home, it will be fresher and healthier because you will use good quality (maybe even organic) produce and watch the amount of fat, sugar and salt that goes into it. Cooking has the benefit of wholesome nutritious meals for you and your family and is also a great way to express your creativity.
5. Eat small frequent meals
Every diet article you read and every nutritionist you meet tells you to eat every 2 – 2.5 hours. No, you don’t have to eat a full-fledged meal every 2 hours, eat 3 regular meals and 3 light in-between snacks. When you don’t eat anything for over 3 hours, your body slips into a starvation mode. When this happens repeatedly, the body starts converting and storing fat. Moreover, when you haven’t eaten in hours, you may be famished and overeat at the next meal further leading to more fat storage. Eating small frequent meals also boosts metabolism if you need an added benefit to follow the 5-6 meals a day meal pattern.
Simple and easy in-between snacks could be a fruit, handful of walnuts or almonds or a cup of yoghurt. These are also easy to carry and eat on the go.
6. Drink plenty of water
Proper hydration is the key to weight loss and recovery from many other diseases. The human body consists of 70% water. Not only is water necessary for the body’s survival, it is also necessary to prevent muscle aches and cramps, joint problems, constipation, dull skin and hair as well as maintaining blood pressure and proper kidney functioning.
Don’t wait till you feel thirsty to drink water, make it a habit to keep sipping throughout the day. Green tea, fresh lime water, buttermilk and coconut water may also be consumed in appropriate amounts by healthy individuals to keep the body hydrated.
7. Say no to late night snacking
When you sleep the body repairs its wear and tear and the digestive system rests. If you give your body more food post-dinner, the body’s recovery process takes a setback and the digestive system does not get enough rest. Aim to eat dinner early and give your digestive tract 2-3 hours to do its job before hitting the sack. Here is a nice little trick that can help you avoid late night snacking
8. Pump up the protein
Protein is required for maintaining and building muscle mass and it is important to get an adequate amount of protein in your diet. The body needs approximately one gram of protein per kg body weight; if you weigh 50 kgs, you need 50 grams of protein per day. Protein is found in meat, fish, nuts, lentils and legumes, soy, milk and milk products. Eating optimum amount of protein fires up your metabolism and keeps you full for a longer time
9. Not more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day
Cut back on overall sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (25g) a day as per WHO recommendations. This not only includes limiting sugar in tea and coffee or eating fewer desserts but also restricting consumption of processed foods with high amounts of added sugar. Learn to read food labels to identify which foods have excessive quantities of added sugars and avoid those Bid adieu to sodas – each can of soda has 40g of sugar. Diet sodas are not a healthy option either.
10. Walk while you talk
Regular exercise is a must but you can supplement your regular jogs or gym workouts by additional physical activity throughout the day. Simple things like taking the stairs over the elevator every time, walking while talking over the phone, jumping jacks, brisk walking or cycling to work or the grocery store instead of driving are termed as NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and can all add up to the total calories burned. Alleviating stress levels through meditation and yoga can further help you in your weight loss journey.
Weight loss is a journey guided by your unique needs, so look into what works for you — and do it!
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