Have you resolved to lose weight? Do you think thin = healthy = not eating? Get real! Eating right can help you knock off those extra pounds.

So have you taken care of your annual donation to the gym knowing that you're never going to step into it? Paying that gym membership makes you think “I'll make it some day”. But let's face it; most of us can barely make the time to draw a deep breath, let alone find a couple of hours, that includes fighting traffic and finding parking space, to work out. Also many have a mental block about the gym and your body will never respond to anything you force it into. So what do you do? You learn to compensate. By eating; only this time correctly.

Go 'figure'

First, study your body; structure, metabolism, hunger pangs, thirst, eating patterns. It's very important to know when you feel hungry, how much and when not; note down the time and contents of your meal for a week so that you realise what you're chomping and what you're missing in terms of essential nutrients. Create a basket that includes all food groups; carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and even fat. Keeping track of all that you eat is also a foolproof system to put an end to bingeing; once you actually see how much you're putting into your body it'll automatically put your meals into perspective.

One simple rule:your body burns most calories as soon as you wake and then goes into slow mode thereafter. So eat your chocolates, fried food, mithai, cakes when you wake up and make the later mouthfuls healthier as the sun goes down.

Frequency

Do you wake up sluggish to a large cup of coffee/adrakwali chai/green tea? Do you have a couple of bites for breakfast and then wake up ravenous late in the afternoon to bite into whatever you see? That's because you probably eat your big meal — batata wada, dal—roti-chawal — at sunset. Now it's impossible to change habits overnight so start slow. An easy trick is to break your three main meals into eight — or may be six initially. Wake up to the heaviest platter and get through the day in descending order.

The golden cycle

A well guarded secret let out by Rujuta Diwekar is— if you ever want to lose weight; eat! The ‘3 Ws' are the deal breakers— What, When and Where you eat. For e.g. eating dal chawal in a restaurant at midnight can do more damage than a big piece of homemade ladoo/bhaji in the morning. Simply because one, your ability to burn fat at midnight is almost zilch and two even dal (proteins) may have unhealthy ingredients (dalda instead of pure ghee) when made outside whereas the bhaji you fry in good oil at home is absorbed into your system pronto because you're burning most fat in the morning.

Eat with your mind

It's essential to finish with supper at sundown because your fat burning ability vanishes with the sunlight. And since you've had your dinner early, you're guaranteed to wake up with an appetite. If you can't stomach the idea of poha/eggs/thepla that early, start with fruit. High carbs like banana or apple (read roughage) are ideal to kickstart that metabolism and also acts as a buffer to that cup you'll sip on. Never, I mean NEVER, begin your day with caffeine as your body will automatically go into slump mode. Water constitutes 70 per cent of the human body so when gulp some down as much as possible through the day to eliminate toxins.

Quick tip

Every time hunger pangs strike, replace every one out of three meals with water and watch that fat melt away.