If you want to lose weight you can lose weight in myriad ways. You can go down the road that models and actors take and starve yourself silly but then I don’t think you want to do that. It’s just not healthy in the long term. Let us look at a few things that Dieticians and Experts agree upon when it comes to Dieting and Losing Weight.
Drink Lots of Water
First things first, you need to drink a lot of work. Most people do not drink enough water or as much as they should on a daily basis. Colas and coffee do not count. Depending on your weight and the amount of physical activity that you undertake, you should be drinking at least 3 – 4 litres of water a day.
Water acts as a natural appetite suppressant. If you drink a full glass of water before starting your meal, your stomach will contain lesser food. And no, you will not gain weight by drinking too much water contrary to what some might tell you. Actually the problem happens when you don’t drink enough water. When you do not drink enough water, your body tends to get dehydrated and when it does get enough water, it tends to hold onto it and stores it for future need. That is when we feel swollen and bloated with water weight. If you drink enough water on a regular basis then your body releases the water naturally. If you drink enough water throughout the day then you have nothing to worry about. Drinking a lot of water will give you the twin benefits of hydration and a feeling of fullness for appetite control.
Eating a balanced meal is important. This is one thing that we learned in our school textbooks that we would do well to carry forward in our adult life. The basic food groups are the basis on which healthy diet and nutrition is built upon. A healthy meal must contain ample proteins and carbohydrates. The main all-important source of energy in our diet is carbohydrates whereas protein burns fat. If nothing else, every meal must contain one protein and one carbohydrate group.
Do Not Skip Meals
Never skip meals. This is by far the most destructive thing you can do to your precious body in the name of losing weight. I have seen countless men and women do it. To lose weight, a person starts to eat just one or two meals a day. Your metabolism needs the regularity and consistency of regular meals. When you have erratic eating schedules, your body tends to think that it is starving and then whatever it takes in is stored as fat to be used as energy later.
Exercise is a Must
You just cannot lose weight when you are sedentary all the time. Those who exercise everyday live longer and overall feel better about their lives than those who don’t. They also lose weight fast. I generally advise my clients to keep it simple. There is no need to join an expensive gym or hire a personal trainer. Start with walking at the local park. Thomas Jefferson said, “The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.” If you are obese and over your 40’s, do remember that it is never too late to get into perfect shape! There are lots of ways you can incorporate exercise and cardiovascular activities into your daily life and help your weight loss efforts.
Formula for Weight Loss
There is a very simple formula for banishing obesity. Eat lesser calories than what you burn everyday. For example if you eat 2000 calories every day and you burn 2500, then you will lose weight.
You might say, “Why don’t I just meet a dietitian and cut down on my calorific intake instead of burning calories?” Well in that case you would end up starving yourself and that is not a good idea at all! Also doing this will have the effect of making you feel weak and hungry with the result that your body will compensate by making you crave for more quantities of the wrong kinds of foods later on. The secret of losing weight without starving yourself is to make correct food choices. You have to choose foods that are low in calories but can satisfy your hunger.
The Weight of Food
There was a very interesting and illuminating study done that shows the relation between our eating patterns and weight gain. It was performed by New Zealand’s University of Auckland in 1999. Male participants in the study were divided into 3 groups. Each group was fed on a diet with varying fat percentages but with no limits on the calories that they could consume. The men were instructed to eat as much as they wanted from the food choices given to them.
As expected, the men who were eating the 20 % fat diets lost weight because they were consuming less calories. Fat contains about 9 calories per gram as compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein. Despite the reduction in total calories consumed, the men in the group were not hungry all the time.
The researchers discovered that the men in the low-fat group compensated unconsciously by choosing foods that had the same weight as the men in the higher-fat groups. Which is why they did not feel hungry.
What this implies is that it is the total weight of the food that you eat that may play a more crucial role in satisfying your hunger. In other words, you do not need to consume high-calorie foods or high fat foods to feel full. Rather your stomach has to feel the weight of a certain amount of food in order to dispel your hunger for a few hours and make you feel satiated and content.
There are a lot of other studies also done that suggests that people eat the same quantities of food on a daily basis regardless of the fat and calories that the meals contain. Its like your stomach has an internal weight machine that has to be reached for you to be fully satisfied after a meal!
This may explain the tried and tested idea of drinking a glass of water and having a bowl of soup before a meal to curb your appetite. This can also explain the mystery as to why people gain weight despite going on a low-fat diet because the large part of their meals were comprised of starchy and highly processed foods that were low in fiber.
You can eat 10 slices of white bread before feeling full while two slices of whole wheat bread can make you feel full. Eating high fiber foods like oatmeal helps you manage your calories without making you feel hungry.
So how do you choose the right foods?
That is a question that will be answered in my next article :-). Read more about my plans at my weight loss center in Andheri West.