Have you ever thought about the perils of crash-dieting or embarking on your own lifestyle plan? Aparna Karthikeyan hopes her experience will make you wiser
Losing weight is a piece of cake. Not, really. Basically you avoid gooey cakes, greasy potatoes, gulab jamoons, rice, wheat, milk, yoghurt, and every other food substance known to man that contains more than 3 calories per 100 grams. A couple of weeks of this, and you will weigh considerably lighter, and if you perchance have the energy to drag yourself to the mirror, you will notice that your eyes are sitting deep in their dark sockets, your hair has fallen out in alarmingly large clumps and your skin resembles, closely, the epidermis of a particularly scaly reptile.
Crash dieting, as you might have gathered, is not for the faint-hearted. You need to be borderline-loony to want to deprive your body of every single nutrient it needs to function. But borderline-loony was what I was, a while ago, desperate to fit into clothes that ceased to meet about the middle; and believing I was taking the easy option, I crash-dieted back into size. A few weeks later, when the last remaining strands of hair threatened to fall out, I woke up with a start — as most extreme dieters do — to the perils of improper eating, and embarked on my own “healthy lifestyle plan” with a vengeance.
Nuts about nuts
The diet which had earlier consisted of fresh air and a few sips of watered down buttermilk, was now all walnuts and rolled-oats, almonds and apples, topped with generous servings of carrot and cucumber raita. I incorporated a few gentle exercises into the daily routine, and prayed hard that the wobbly bits that had gone all sad and saggy would now become smooth and sleek, the hair would shine and the skin would glow so much that I would never again need a torch to find my way about in the dark. Months later, I must confess I’m simply more confused than ever; the pounds that fell away rapidly threatens to pile back in unwanted places if I relax the regimen for even a few moments; and my dreams about a luxurious mane and radiant skin remain just that — a dream.
What, I wanted to know, were all those almonds and walnuts doing? They were supposed to be nutritional power-houses, bursting with vitamins and minerals that was supposed to put the shine back; yet, everything remains depressingly, stubbornly, sad and scaly.
This whole health food thingy, I’m afraid, is rather tricky; while the advocated snacks are indisputably loaded with super-nutrients, they do not miraculously, instantaneously improve your appearance, and, besides, are only meant to be consumed in moderation. Binge on dried fruits and roasted nuts — even, say, a satisfyingly large handful — and you run the risk of easily adding hundreds of calories to your recommended daily allowance!
I realise that weight-loss — and more importantly, keeping the lost weight off — is far more complicated than it seemed in the beginning. What is most perplexing is there is no clear-cut ‘one method’. (Try consulting any popular ‘how to’ manual, and they only muddle you further — most exercise books tell you that weight loss is impossible unless you consciously watch your calories, while dieting books warn you that unless you exercise on the side, you’re never going to attain nirvana!) I suppose the one thing I have been putting off — a face-to-face consultation with a professional, who can then draw a personalised plan for me — might be the key to ‘proper, good’ weight-loss. Perhaps then, and then alone, I might manage to find that elusive combo — smooth skin and a slender waist. Until then, sigh, it shall have to be drawstring pyjamas and a paper bag over my face.Dont;s
Don’t deprive your body of every single nutrient it needs to function
Don’t binge on dried fruits and roasted nuts
Don’t follow your own diet plan or exercise regimen; consult a professional