"It is hard arguing with the stomach, which doesn't have ears."
--Catone the Censor
Do you use excuses to indulge in eating all that you like? Does your belly rule your mind? You have to eat fit with all your body, mind and spirit! The road to healthy eating is paved with temptations, excuses and indulgences. Here are ways to sidestep and overcome these excuses.
Excuse 1: “I don't have time in the mornings to pack my lunch, I eat out mostly everyday.”
Most office-goers are rushed, but that is no excuse to eat unhealthy. If you are ordering food from your workplace or at a restaurant, make better choices such as -- a soup, a salad, yogurt, a brown bread sandwich. Avoid greasy, heavy meals and sweetened calorific beverages to wash them down.
Excuse 2: “If I starve, how will I be able to perform well? My work will suffer.”
Eating healthy does not mean starving.Make a conscious decision to cut fried foods and too many sweets, and plan a structured nutritious diet. This can be divided into five or six small meals and you will never feel starved. After a few days, you will feel lighter and more energetic. Also, when good eating habits are supplemented by regular exercise, you will be brimming with good health.
Excuse 3: “I have a slow metabolism"
Metabolism varies from person to person and there are people with a slow metabolism. If you lead a sluggish life and eat rich food, you will further slow down your metabolism. But remember, you can boost your metabolic rate with regular exercise and correct food habits.
Excuse 4:”My job entails a lot of travel and a lot of entertaining. I have to eat out a lot.”
Choose low fat food nutritious foods and make smart food choices. You can replace butter naans with tandoori rotis, medu vada with steamed idlis, mayonnaise with honey ad lemon dressing. Those who travel can be as fit and healthy as those who do not travel and eat out so much. Use your will power.
Excuse 5: “Had I the time, I would be slim too. I would go on a diet too!” “I keep meaning to, but it doesn't seem to happen. I am so busy.”
Dieting is not time consuming. It is just planning to eat sensibly. Busy as you are, there are always meal times and they can be made interesting with a little planning. Most slim people are in the habit of making low-fat choices and watching their weight. You can too, it is all about making correct choices.
Excuse 6: “Everyone in my family is fat - it runs in the family.”
True, perhaps you do have a genetic tendency to be overweight. The good news is that even though you cannot change your height, you can change your weight. Watch your weight, review your platter and learn new eating habits—healthy, low fat, sustaining portions. Also, exercise regularly. You will be thinner, fitter and healthier.
Excuse 7: “I love food, it gives me great pleasure and I really look forward to eating. Low fat cooking makes miserable meals.”
Enjoy your food. But too many indulgences can result in ill-health. Think of the health consequences, think of your energy and performance levels when you are overweight with its attendant ills such as high cholesterol or heart ailments.
Low fat cooking can be interesting and innovative too. Bake, roast, steam, stir fry instead of deep frying. Enjoy experimenting with different flavours, vegetables, spices, herbs, fruits, seeds and nuts. Make sauces with herbs such as basil, mint, oregano and add spices, instead of making cream or oil based sauces. Trim the fat from the meat. Set your food attractively and eat heart-healthy food.
Excuse 8: “It's my hormones.”
While a hormonal disorder can cause weight problems, the solution is not to continue binge eating, but to see a doctor, check your hormonal levels, consult a dietician and arrive at a sensible food and exercise regimen.
Excuse 9: “Food is a stress buster. It comforts me. It helps deal with stress.”
Food is often consumed to help deal with stress. Don't add calories to beat your blues. Replace stress eating with other stress busters—music, a sport, exercise, a hobby, a film, and see the difference it makes to your health.
Excuse 10: “Practising control over portions is hard.”
Start with small portions. Discipline the mind to enjoy eating small and eating enough!
You know you can always have a second helping. You need not “clean the dish” either. Leftovers can always be refrigerated.
Eat only when you are hungry and when your body needs it. Fill your day with activity and you will find fewer excuses to overeat. Fight those excuses and get fighting fit!
The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestle and Weight Management Specialist