Eat Wise, Drop A Size: 10 Healthy Food Habits To Lose Weight
If losing weight was an easy job, nobody would be overweight! Have you ever heard of a weight loss story that goes – “I ate all things healthy for a month and once I achieved my target, I could eat anything I wanted?” No, right? The problem with most fad diets is that they are not sustainable in the long run.
To make lasting changes to your body, fitness and healthy eating habits need to become an intrinsic part of your life. Keeping that in mind Shreya Katyal, Nutritionist, Dietician and founder of Diets & More has listed out some do’s and dont’s to help you eat your way to a healthier life.
1. Say Goodbye To Packaged Food
Get rid of all the packaged and processed food within your reach, such as biscuits, cookies, chips, namkeen, etc. Most processed food we get are laden with excess salt, artificial sweeteners and flavors along with chemicals and bad fats. They are often stripped of nutrients that are actually good for you such as soluble fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fats. In the long term, processed food can lead to a lot of health problems too. Replace these with healthy snacks such as roasted/flavored makhanas, roasted soya nuts or chana, mixed seeds and berries etc.
2. Set A Target
Set a monthly/weekly target for yourself. Self-target is important because this is your fight with yourself, unless you have a specific time frame in your mind to attain the goal, it’s will forever be like a dream! A goal will determine your actions today and will help you plan your meals. The most important part of goal setting is that it needs to be realistic – For instance, setting a goal to lose 20 kgs every month may leave you disappointed. However, setting a goal to lose up to 2 kgs a week or in ten days will allow you to achieve constant milestones.
Word of caution: Every week will not be same. One cannot lose 2 kgs every 7 days or 10 days. Be ready for changes.
3. Rewarding Is Important
No one can live on just boiled veggies forever. There will be one day when you will crave for junk food badly. Therefore rewarding yourself with little treats every once in a while play an important role, in sustaining a healthy diiet.
Many studies show that when you deprive yourself, you only sabotage your weight loss process. Restrictions from junk food can result in cravings, binging, and overeating.
Thumb rule: You should constantly give yourself some rewards. For instance, if you are craving for some sweets, give yourself a break and have a piece of chocolate. The key is to practice moderation and bring in a lifestyle change slowly.
4. Maintain A Food Diary
Start maintaining a food log from today and see the difference for yourself. The moment you start writing it all down you will restrict yourself from overeating. When you are jotting down everything you eat in a day then you know when you are going overboard. Also, keep a check on your weight and note it down. When you will see weight fluctuations, you will get to know what leads to weight gain and weight loss. You will be your own trainer.
5. Change Your Cooking Techniques
Who said healthy eating has to be boring or bland? If you like pizza, eat it. Instead of ordering in, cook it yourself. Add as many fresh veggies as you can and go low on the cheese. Change your cooking techniques to include more baked, grilled and roasted dishes instead of deep fried food. This way, with a slight modification, you can continue to enjoy all the food that you like.
Expert Point: When you are out in a restaurant, choose wisely. For example, choose a paneer tikka instead of French Fries.
6. Eating The Right Quantity At The Right Time Is Important
As much as you may disagree, timings and quantities do play a very important role in managing your weight. There are many studies done which demonstrates the fact that late lunch eaters (after 3:00 p.m.) lose less weight than early-eaters. Restricting your food intake post 7 pm also helps in increasing fat loss from your body.
Word of caution: Completely removing salt from your daily diet is not recommended. It is advisable to go salt-free at night just twice or thrice a week. Keep in mind, eating a heavy meal before you sleep is also not good as your body will not be able to digest what you have eaten.
Small Is Good!
A study done in Cornell University where 85 nutrition experts were asked to serve themselves ice creams and were also given different crockery and cutlery options revealed that those given larger bowls served themselves 31% more without even realizing it, while those who used the larger scoop unknowingly served themselves 14.5% more. The moral of the story is simple – when you eat from a small plate you eat less. So choose your crockery wisely!
7. Weight Loss And Alcohol Do Not Go Together
Did you know alcohol contains 7 calories per gram? This is almost double the 4 calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates and just 2 calories short of the 9 you get from fat. Moreover, alcohol doesn’t provide any feeling of satiety, so you are likely to gorge on many additional empty calories, including those that come from mixers like soda and sugary syrups.
A 4-ounce glass of red wine contains around 95 calories and a margarita packs a whopping 550 calories. This is almost half your calorie requirement for the day. So if you are on a weight loss programme saying goodbye to alcohol is a good idea.
8. Learn The Importance Of Reading Food Labels
The primary purpose of food labels printed at the back of any food item is to ensure that the consumer is making an informed choice. But do we actually read these labels? The answer is no. Understanding what is inside the food we eat could help us make healthier choices. So next time you step out to buy something, don’t forget to read the labels.
Beware of these silent killers. You will be surprised at how many common everyday packaged food items contain these.
- Corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
Also, stay away from products that include unhealthy fats like Trans Fats, saturated fat, partially hydrogenated oil or cholesterol. Choose a product judiciously and go for products which contain good fats like MUFA, PUFA, and are rich in Omega 3.
9. Believe In The Pattern Of Eating 5-6 Meals
Eating many small meals throughout the day can help you win the battle of the bulge. Snacking often keeps hunger at bay and ensures that your metabolism remains active. The end result – You do not binge-eat!
Alternately, when you follow the traditional three meal pattern and consume a huge amount of calories in one meal alone, then your blood sugar may begin to dip after a while leading to hunger pangs. Result – You will eat more.
10. Eat Breakfast Like A King
According to the American Dietetic Association, those who eat breakfast have an easier time focusing and are generally more productive through the day. Several studies also have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. Aim to include all the nutrients in your breakfast as this will help in curbing hunger throughout the day.
About The Expert: Shreya Katyal, Nutritionist, Dietician and Founder of Diets & More
Dietician Shreya Katyal aims at lifestyle modification to motivate everyone towards a healthier version of ‘themselves.’ With a diploma in Dietetics, Nutrition and Health she has been practicing for many years now.