Staying fit, losing flab and keeping your body toned is one of the most difficult challenges faced by us humans. While for many, an exercise routine is nothing new and they follow their routines rigorously, there are others who realise just how far they’ve let their body bloat only after their clothes refuse to fit them anymore or once people start commenting on their body weight. While being comfortable in your skin – be it thin or thick is the aim, being over-weight leads to a whole lot of health issues and disorders. So though there’s no need to constantly be on a diet, being conscious about your weight and keeping it in check can definitely help you in the long run.
But even when you’re trying to lose weight, you need to set realistic goals. You need to know how far to push your body. If you’re way overweight – say at around 150kgs or so, then it makes sense for you to aim for losing 18kgs in 3 months. However, going on crash diets, exercising like crazy, living on just one bite a day – or such crazy ideas might make you slim but will give rise to a host of health issues. If you’re planning to lose weight, you need to go about doing it in the right manner, taking care that you do not lose out on essential nutrients and face deficiencies in the process.
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The most ideal thing would be for you to visit a nutritionist. But if you think you know best, or are lazy or plain don’t want to spend, here’s some tips to bear in mind if you plan to lose weight, all by yourself. Now, if you’re a vegetarian, it is a misconception that dieting is easy. Vegetarians tend to pile on the flab by binge eating on fried food, not getting enough nutrients or eating limited vegetables. We spoke to Nutrition Expert Sonia Narang from Oriflame India and according to her, here’s how vegetarians too can loose weight by maintaining a proper diet and exercise:
1. Eat small portions throughout the day
There are many people who eat their meals in one or two sittings. While that has been the traditional method, it would be better and more advisable for you to eat smaller portions throughout the day. Do not keep your stomach empty for more than 2 hours. Keep each portion small but enough to make you feel satisfied – not completely full. Start with an early breakfast, then have a light mid-morning snack, lunch, a light snack again at tea-time, an early dinner and some milk before bedtime. This will make sure your body is getting its nutrients and yet, there’s not too much load on your digestive tract.
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2. Follow a set pattern of meals
It is better if during dieting, you stick to your timelines and follow a set pattern of meals. While deviating by a few minutes is no big deal, it is not advisable to not eat for hours on end or change routines regularly. If you’re in a job that makes it difficult to grab meals at set timings, either keep some nuts or some light but healthy snacks like fruits with you so you can easily substitute and eat on the go – without staying hungry.
3. Here’s what you can eat for meals
For vegetarians, here’s what they can eat while on their diet:
– Start the day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice and honey. Warm water acts as a cleanser for your kidneys and helps easily flush all the toxins out.
– For breakfast, they can have sprouts, poha, upma, boiled black chana chaat, quinoa, oats (not the ready-to-eat variety), etc. Make sure to include a diet that is rich in proteins in the morning.
– Have some nuts and a glass of lassi (replace sugar with honey) or chaas mid-morning.
– For lunch, you can have a salad with a bowl of dal. Avoid piling your salad with ready-made sauces. Instead, squeeze a lemon over your salad, add mint leaves, flax seeds, etc to add more flavour.
– For your mid-afternoon snack, have some fruits, a glass of green tea or some warm tea (with little milk)
– For dinner, have lightly roasted or grilled vegetables with some multi-grain or whole wheat bread (always read the ingredients to ensure it is 100% whole wheat).
– If you have midnight cravings, satisfy them with some warm milk. However, avoid eating anything late in the night.
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4. Have a diet that is low in carbs and high in protein
You need to make sure that while you do not completely cut carbs from your diet, you have a diet that is high in proteins. Have a lot of paneer, tofu, dairy, chickpeas, hummus, soy atta, dark green and leafy vegetables, etc. Eat foods that keep you fuller for longer – like broccoli and soy. Make sure your calcium needs are also met and you do not miss on any essential nutrients. Do not completely ban anything from your diet – except perhaps junk food. if you crave carbs, have a small boiled potato with some lemon juice and salt sprinkled on it. Or have a sweet potato grilled or boiled. Find healthier substitutes for your food.
5. Have an early dinner
With technology invading every aspect of life, the concept of personal life has disappeared. We tend to not only eat on the go but also have late dinners. Instead of breakfast and lunch being the most important meals, dinner has turned most important. People come home from work exhausted and then tend to over-eat late in the night and directly head to bed. It is terrible for your body as the food eaten at night does not get completely digested as your body processes slow down in the night. There’s a whole lot of weight piled on. Always avoid heavy meals at night. Keep your meals light and have an early dinner – ideally before 8PM or atleast 2 hours before bedtime. If you think you’ll feel hungry at night, have some warm milk.
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6. Exercise daily
Many people feel they will lose all the weight just by dieting – but they need to understand that exercising is equally important. Your body needs exercise to stay fit and healthy. Exercising will also speed up that digestion process and make your diet more beneficial. If you haven’t exercised before, then you can start off with light stretches and warm ups. Once your body feels a little loose, go on to the more rigorous exercises. If you cannot find the time to exercise, atleast take walks or jog. Alternatively, instead of taking your bike/car/public transport, walk around to places. Get up and stretch, walk around at your workplace, go for a walk post lunch, etc.
Always remember to eat healthy and eat in limits. A smart diet will slowly but definitely help you shed the kilos!