I am pretty sure you have heard a lot of weight loss tips over and over again, but to what extent have we actually implemented these tips? That will ultimately make all the difference!
Obesity is an important global health problem, that is responsible for the rise in diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) etc. not just in adults but is affecting children and young adults as well.
Most of us want to get fit but are still struggling in spite of so many years of nutritional advice, health-related articles in media, health centers, fitness centers, doctor reminders etc. What is it that we are not doing?
Take a look at your lifestyle and evaluate what is causing you to gain weight or not helping you lose weight. Excess weight stems from a combination of factors, but to list a few common causes that can be easily altered include:
1. OUR DIET – characterized by imbalanced meals, skipping meals, unhealthy snacks, junk/ frequent fast-food and restaurant meals etc.
2. OUR LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – summarized by long hours of sitting, little to no engagement in moderate intensity activities, <5000 steps a day etc.
3. STRESS – job related stress, relationship related stress or financial stress etc.
The most important factor that will drive us to achieve positive results is our determination. Do we admit to ourselves that our health needs to improve and are we ready to commit ourselves to putting in our best efforts for the time it requires? Once, we have made that decision and commitment, then we can make sustained progress towards our health goals. Even if we take small steps we will be able to see the results, while we enjoy the journey towards getting fit.
You do not have to be strict with yourself or miserable eating healthy food. It is our perception of healthy food that can be a deterrent in itself. Healthy diet is not defined by bland, low fat, sugar-free or flavorless foods. It is the food choices we make and how we use our culinary skills to make food delicious. I have shared lots of tips in my upcoming book on meal planning & balancing meals without compromising on taste or time. Also, do check out healthy recipes on my blog.
In this article I wish to focus on healthy eating behaviors that will guide you to improve the quality of your overall diet.
Make a list of your unhealthy behaviors and try to replace them with good eating behaviors.
- Reduce your frequency of eating junk food/ fast-food, restaurant meals and have a simple yet balanced home cooked meal.
- Whenever you do eat out, eat lesser quantity or smaller portions, and share with friends and family. Order a salad or vegetable dish to balance out the heavy, creamy, non-veg or pasta dishes. Ask for whole wheat rotis instead of maida rotis or brown rice instead of white rice.
- Have a fruit instead of ordering a high calorie dessert after a meal. Eat less of the main
course to accommodate your dessert craving. Be sure to bump up your usual activity later in the day by going for a long walk, or hitting the gym.
- Replace unhealthy snacks / desserts (chips, farsaan, cookies, mithai etc.) with fruits, nuts, dry fruit & nut combinations etc.
- Replace high calorie beverages (bottled soda, flavored drinks, juices, tall glass or large mugs of coffee or chocolate beverages served in cafes, homemade sugary drinks etc. ) with plain water, water flavored with cucumber, fruits, or herbs, lightly sweetened with honey (if needed), milk, buttermilk (chaas), lightly sweetened lassi, green tea, coconut water, etc.
- Not drinking excessive amount of black tea or coffee or limit the sugar added to those hot beverages. This does not mean you should start using no-calorie sweeteners, because you are not really making a beverage or dessert healthier by just reducing the calories. The other ingredients would still contribute to your calorie intake and if your overall diet is not healthy, then it wouldn’t really make any difference.
- Instead of skipping any meal or breakfast, distribute your intake over 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks times, so that you do not binge or overeat in any particular meal.
- Make legumes (whole beans, dals) and vegetables a priority when you plan, cook or eat your meals, instead of eating more chapatti, rice, bread or pasta. They will add enough protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals to your meal to help you lose weight, improve your blood glucose level, blood pressure, modulate hormone levels etc.
- Instead of deep frying foods at home, pan-fry foods instead or use an appe pan or steam them.
- Share/ offer more fruits, dry fruits and nuts with friends and family on festive occasions, instead of making or purchasing sweets / mithais for festivals.
- Eat balanced meals even on fasting days – milk, yogurt, fruits, nuts rather than loading up on sabudana and potato.
Remember, there will always be temptation for us to eat unhealthy foods – easy access to and home-delivery from restaurants and fast-food joints, and our cravings for delicious desserts and fried foods. But, how much we can limit ourselves and choose more healthful options will help us move faster towards our goal.
Practice these behaviors, until my book is released or till I share my ideas on easy fitness routines on OoWomaniya.
Be Healthy, Be Happy! Take care, Sonali! 🙂