A recent report (based on an online survey of 10,000 men and women of our city), stated that 60% of women showed interest towards weight loss as apposed to only 30% of the male respondents who were inspired to trim down.
Weight loss is now an obsession with urbanites and while this has its advantages, it also comes with its own share of hype and inflated costs. More often than once, all the commercialisation drains your wallet and you are right back at where you started!
Pune now boasts off health clubs with weight loss and maintenance programmes, dieticians and a variety of diets, alternate therapies, bariatric surgery and cup suction specialists, yoga classes and of course the trekkers who use the hills well.
I must confess that I’ve been through several programmes for weight loss and maintenance over the past two decades and believe me, all that it takes to be fit as a fiddle is the right proportion of food ( 80%) and moderate exercise for the rest of the 20%. This ratio never fails!
Whoever said ‘You are what you eat’ is bang on and it really isn’t rocket science to understand the basics of when, how and what one should eat…
Most of us have been habituated to the set patters of regular breakfasts, lunch and dinner right from our early days and this has set our hunger clock too. Hunger pangs during these hours have always led us to eat at regular intervals.
Most of us (the millennial generation perhaps excluded) were lean and thin as school children and even as teenagers. It is only from the late twenties that we start putting on weight. In women it was most often after motherhood.
And this is actually simple to explain, We binge!
Just think about this. How many times have you resisted a samosa, a nice chaat, just popping some snack in your mouth at odd hours (meaning apart from the three meals)?
You will be surprised to know that just restricting yourself to give in to this temptation is a great step towards controlling your weight. Yes, you can have coconut water, green tea or water in between these three meals or at the most an apple or a few nuts if you get a hunger pang, but certainly no lavish snacking!
This one dictum really made a difference in my case and you can try it too!
Of course, what you eat for those three meals is the key to the rest of the effort in controlling your weight. Avoid carbohydrates until noon. If you are having an omelette, load it with vegetables so you do not miss the bread, which is the most unhealthy accompaniment to go with it. Opt for protein based breakfast like dosas out of any of the dals, a big portion of healthy salad that can include sprouts.
Once in a while you could have a large glass of smoothie to replace a solid form of breakfast. For lunch, definitely include small portion of salad, two kinds of vegetables cooked without gravy and this should form 50% of your meal. Add dal and preferably have millet based rotis like jowar, bajri, ragi etc instead of wheat rotis.
If you are opting for rice (try not to have both together) then go for brown rice or quinoa (cooked like you do with rice). Have dinner preferably by 7.30pm or latest by 8 pm.
If you are at a post evening party, opt for a salted lemon drink with water or soda. Fill your stomach with snacks, opting for tandoori or chaat varieties.. Follow it up by soup or/and just spoonfuls of vegetables or salads you like. Rotis and rice should be completely avoided post 7.30 pm. If at all you yearn for a sweet dish, you may just have a spoonful, though it is best to avoid it.
If you are on a weight loss diet, you are often advised to eat at home before you go for a party. That sure sounds too regimental so you could go for the party food, but intelligently and wisely.
The next important thing is to chew your food properly and to eat food that your stomach can digest easily. You may have white or red meat which is protein but are you sure your stomach has the ability to digest it at any hour of the day and night when you consume it?
So, chicken for lunch and fish for dinner is preferable as the latter is easier to digest. You may indulge in a generous amount of nuts like almonds, pistas, groundnuts or any other but they are hard on your digestion. So just a handful once or twice a day is good enough. For this, you must spend at least 20 minutes for your meal. If you are in a hurry, then go for light foods so that even if you do not chew properly and the stomach is not burdened.
Once you have mentally decided on low carbs and high protein and no sugar, you will be surprised to know that you can actually find your kind of food at every place you visit.
The last bit is to just stop buying processed food. When I go to a super market for my grocery shopping, I find that two-thirds of the grocery section is filled with processed foods of all kinds. I simply skip those lanes and stick to what I’m supposed to eat.
Even if you have little children or youngsters at home, why give them the readymade foods! Certainly not worth your hard earned money. You can easily opt for healthy snacks that are available by the dozen at these stores. Just look out for them.
Minimalistic is the key to keeping yourself slim and trim. Your body does not need heavy food – lots of food in a light form – cooked without gravy or too much oil (moderate amount of oil is good) during the three meals is the best option.
You don’t have to eat less food. You need to eat enough of the right kind of food (not till your tummy bursts of course) so that your body gets nutrition and energy to keep you physically and mentally active.
As Osho once said, `There are people who are obsessed with fasting, and there are people who are obsessed with stuffing themselves. Both are wrong because in both the ways the body loses balance.
A real lover of the body eats only to the point where body feels perfectly calm, balanced, and tranquil. It is an art to understand the language of the body, to understand the language of your stomach, to understand what is needed, to give only that which is needed, and to give that in an artistic way, in an aesthetic way.’’
Top this, with a 30 minute walk or any other form of quick 10 minute exercise.
You will be surprised how well you can sleep and be alert and energetic the whole day, age no bar! And look slim and trim too. Why do you need to spend on experts to tell you these basics? Instead of being spoonfed with this advice, you will succeed in keeping your weight, the way it should be, by self-motivation, the results of which lasts longer!
# And yes, I’m neither a medical expert or a professional dietician, but can vouch for the fact that I’ve ingrained change in my food lifestyle and developed my own informal formula of weight control, and it has certainly helped me.
Keep trim and stay happy!
Wish you all a very Happy Diwali too!
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,