Weight watchers go to great lengths to avoid great widths! This article offers 48 suggestions (in two parts), which will help take you from here to there.
Do not be a victim of fad dieting
This is the most common error of all! Whether it’s the Atkin’s, the Glycemic Index, Herbal Life, the General Motor’s Diet, you will receive inadequate nutrients in imbalanced proportions, and aside from playing with your health, your diet will never work long-term. You’ll end up with more weight and inches on you than you started out with. The only thing that gets fat and inches off, and keeps them off, is a sensible, low-fat, low-sugar food plan, which limits caloric intake, combined with the correct type and amount of exercise.
Foods aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’
All foods are good, IF they are consumed in moderation. Don’t banish certain foods altogether from your diet — that’ll make you crave them all the more. That leads to binging. Control the size of the portion instead.
Consume fruits in the morning
Fruits are best consumed in the morning, one at a time, with an hour’s gap between one and the next. Amongst their many virtues, they greatly aid in toxin removal and this gets the body to shed weight and fat fast.
Use the Rate of Perceived Hunger Scale
This is a very effective mental tool. Think of ‘0’ as an indication of extreme hunger, and of ‘10’ as indicating feeling stuffed. Now make it a point to stay between 3- 8 at all times. If you’re starving, chances are that you will overeat at meals, because it takes your brain about 20 minutes to realise that you are full. Begin to eat when you’re at about 3 on the scales. Stop when you’re at 7- 8 where you are full, but not stuffed.
The problem with square meals is that they make you round! Consume small meals through the day. This way the body uses up the calories from your meal rather than storing the excess in the form of fat.
A handy little trick to control portion size when you’re starved and bound therefore to overeat, is to start the meal with a tall glass of water. Being very filling, you won’t have much space left for a large meal!
Follow a food plan
Eat on a regular basis rather than in a random, unplanned manner. Many people binge senselessly when they’re upset or angry. Keep a record of what, when, how much and why you are eating. This will help you pinpoint and rectify trouble areas.
Avoid the whites
That includes sugar, bread and rice. Go with brown sugar, whole-meal or wholegrain bread and unpolished rice instead.
The protein myth
Did you know that even Indian vegetarians get two-three times more protein than their bodies require? Aside from overloading the kidneys and the liver by doing this, excess protein is stored by the body in the form of fat!
Dieting can affect personal relationships
Recent studies have found that a woman’s obsession with her weight, crash dieting and low body esteem can lead to marital problems, even divorce. A husband, close relatives and friends can lose patience and tolerance with a dieter’s constant cribbing or sad, negative self-image. Keep your problems to yourself. Don’t be a talker; be a doer!
Water, water everywhere
Now we all know how important it is to drink 8-9 glasses of water each day, but how tough is that! Not a water baby? Try consuming more soups and other healthy drinks to make up for it.
In Jacob M. Braude’s words, “Too many people confine their exercise to jumping to conclusions, running up bills, and bending over backwards.”
Stay as active as possible; for instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk small distances instead of driving there, dance at a dance party. And do it like your life depends on it, which, in a way, it does.
Do you know that even while sitting at your desk, you can still get in a few exercises to help you quickly get in shape? E.g. butt clenches and seated leg raises.
Practise perfect posture
Besides the obvious health angle, perfect posture will make your body look its best. Stand straight. Avoid slouching.
Train your abdominals
Aside from greatly enhancing visual appeal, a strong mid-section adds to back strength and can boost your performance in just about any sport.
Get weights in
Weight and resistance training helps you get rid of unwanted fat. This is because muscles require more energy to sustain them than fat. Simply put, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. You can raise your metabolism by as much as 15- 18%!
Studies have found that those who join an exercise class/gym and a diet centre lose twice as much in terms of fat and inches than those who try doing it on their own. Meeting up with others on a regular basis, who have the same goals and problems, inspire people to work harder towards their weight-loss goals.
Mix and match
Rotate your physical activities; cross train! You’ll see continuous results, feel much better, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
If you can’t make it to your aerobic class one day, maybe you can walk back home, or head out for a jog instead.
Find a good exercise partner
Get fit with a friend or relative with a nice, admirable figure that you can use as a role model. Don’t choose a leggy supermodel to workout with. You’ll end up with the same figure, low self-esteem and depression.
Get a good overall support system
Steer clear of those who undermine your weight-loss programme. Whatever their motivation, you don’t want people forcing you to have another piece of chocolate cake or some more mithai.
Instead of making excuses, find yourself an indoor activity. Riding a stationary cycle, rope jumping or stair climbing are just some of the many activities you can engage in.
To be continued next week
(The writer has trained, taught and certified in America as a Fitness Professional by American Council on Exercise and International Dance Exercise Association. She founded Body Art, the Fitness Centre in 1992. For more information, log onto www.bodyart.in)