It is generally understood that if you wish to lose weight, you should reduce your food intake. Reducing food intake reduces calories too that results in weight-loss. However, this is a simplistic view and only partially true. Any weight loss program cannot be effective if it works on reducing just the calorie intake without giving due consideration to specific benefits and nutritional composition of various food items. Reducing or curtailing a few food items from your daily diet may wipe off certain nutrients thus leading to nutrient deficiency in the body. Equating all kinds of food items in terms of calories only is not the right way to go ahead with weight loss. Is there an alternate way to reduce weight that lets you enjoy food though with minor adjustments? Yes, there is a way, in fact, there are two. First, by tweaking the meal timings a bit and second, replacing certain unhealthy foods with healthy ones. If you adopt these two ways, not only you will lose weight but there will be no need to starve or make your life tasteless.
Most of us want to maintain a healthy lifestyle that of healthy eating and regular regime of exercise coupled with weight training. The biggest irony is that this remains just a wish as we neither take out time nor make an effort, however small, towards the goal of achieving good health. A simple plan that lets you lose excess weight and maintain good health is by tweaking breakfast and dinner timings. Why are the timings of these two meals important? The breakfast is actually the first meal of the day after waking up while dinner is the last meal of the day followed by sleep. You might be tempted to take breakfast quite early as you might feel hungry after overnight fasting. Some prudent medical advice says that you should not take breakfast before 9 am and dinner after 8.30 pm. It is however only an advisory but not a strict rule. Let us understand why this is so. If you have your breakfast too early in the day, you will feel hungry way before your usual lunch time which might lead to unhealthy snacking. Similarly, if you take dinner later than say 8.30 pm you will again resort to snacking in the evening. Therefore the changed meal times cuts out the need of frequent and unhealthy snacking between meal times. For some of you these changed timings might be convenient but for others it might not be for compulsions of your long-standing habit and professional demands. A research by University of Surrey, UK investigated the impact of change in meal timings on weight loss. In this research, people were divided into two groups. One group was asked to delay their breakfast time by 90 minutes and advance their dinner timing by 90 minutes while the other group continued to observe their usual timing of meals. The study found that members of the first group lost on an average approximately twice the body fat than the members of the second group. It is clearly understood that in this way, you have cut out unhealthy snacking from your daily schedule that is the reason why you undergo weight loss.
However, the second method involves replacing unhealthy foods items with healthy ones. The first and foremost category of food items that should be struck off are aerated drinks, colas, energy drinks, canned juices and replaced with simple water, coconut water, butter milk or fresh lime water. Do you know that a 300 ml cola is packed with approximately 15 grams of sugar and 50,000 calories? Besides, it contains some permitted preservatives and caffeine, both are bad for overall health. Water contains no calories and has therapeutic as well as cathartic effect on the body. It flushes out toxins and regulates body temperature. It also helps prevent certain cancers and kidney stones. You can have lime water, coconut water and butter milk which are healthier than aerated drinks.
Next comes the fried and fatty foods. If you wish to reduce weight, you should replace fried foods with baked or roasted ones. Instead of fried items like French fries, smileys, pakoras, namkeens, samosas, starters etc. it is advisable to consider baked or roasted namkeens, khakhra (tortilla chips) and tandoori starters. Generally speaking, the above-named food items also called as commercial foods are not bad per se but the oil used in their preparation is harmful. The oil used in their preparation is usually partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO) which is high in trans fats. Trans fats are very harmful for the overall health these might lead to heart diseases. Replacing the PVHOs with mustard, ground nut, soya bean, rapeseed and sunflower is a healthy option.
[Also Read: Nuts and seeds that promote good health]
Replace processed and packaged food items with fresh and natural ones. Processed foods contain high amounts of sodium, sugar, spices, artificial additives, taste enhancers and colours. Consuming excess salt may lead to hypertension or high blood pressure while too much sugary stuff might make you diabetic. More often than not, processed foods are fried as well that is why these are a power house of calories. Replacing these with fresh fruits and home-made fresh food is a healthy alternative that leads to lowering your calorie intake and hence weight loss.
Another rich source of unwanted calories is ice cream that should be replaced with yogurt. Do you know that a small cup of vanilla ice cream contains approximately 300 calories while a liberal helping might contain anything upwards of 1000 calories which is highly fattening? Do you still feel the urge to scoop up lovely ice creams that gives you all the pleasure but keeps you far away from losing weight? If this is so you can replace ice cream with frozen yogurt that cuts the calorie intake by as much as 60% while your taste buds do not make any compromise. Yogurt comes in different base flavours and gives you a choice of toppings.
[Also Read: You do not need to consume ‘added’ sugar]
While observing the above mentioned two ways, remember to add nut and seeds to your daily diet. Nut and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, flax, sesame, chia etc are rich sources of minerals, vitamins, fats, protein and fiber that are important for overall health including cardiovascular health.
Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor to venture out on any advice doled out in this article and all the rest on this blog site.