Stay fit

Wholesome meal: Include daal and rice with veggies. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

Wholesome meal: Include daal and rice with veggies. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

I am sure there are many out there who want to lose weight so that you can fit into that beautiful dress / jeans which is actually two sizes smaller, for the New Year party. So what is it that you do? The most common mistake that many do is crash dieting. With all the new diets that are floating around on the internet, the easiest is to find one which claims to be successful and produce results in a short period or to follow a diet which your friend or neighbour recommends, the diet that has worked for him or her.

Short lived

Crash dieting may help you lose weight, in the short term, but, ultimately it can hinder weight loss in the long term, as most of the weight that you have lost with crash dieting will bounce back, meaning you will gain all the weight that you have lost and more. Crash dieting not only removes fat but also lean muscle and tissue. Contrary to the belief of many who start this diet, this form of dieting is neither healthy nor successful in achieving long term weight loss as it induces the slowing down of the body's basal metabolic rate — the body seeks to conserve every calorie and so weight loss becomes increasingly difficult. Basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body needs on a daily basis, to maintain its regular activities. This means your body will need fewer calories than it did previously, making weight gain more likely once you stop dieting.

Most crash diets involve eating low-calorie foods for several weeks or eating the same food or food groups for several weeks. Even if you're only trying the diet for a week or two, eating such a strict diet of the same foods can cause nutritional deficiencies. Eliminating one or more food groups will not provide you with adequate, long-term nutrition. Nutritional deficiencies such as this can have multiple immediate side effects such as haggard look, dark under eyes, dull skin, sloppy posture and less stamina.

This is also why exercise is recommended in any weight-loss plan to build muscle and maintain your metabolic rate. Again common mistakes that are observed with exercise are joining the gym only till the New Year, so that you can lose weight and once the party is over, the party for not exercising continues. On the other hand, we have some who make New Year resolutions and with the gym memberships which are so tempting during the New Year, take up annual memberships, which is not bad. What is bad is to break the resolution. It's good to take up an exercise programme during the new year and to make a resolution about exercise, provided you do not break your resolution and continue exercising year long. What is important is consistency.

It's strongly recommended not to go on a Crash Diet, even if you are motivated to lose weight to fit into clothes a couple of sizes smaller. What is good is to make a conscious effort to lead a healthy life style. This in the long run will help you achieve normal weight and help you be energetic and cheerful. Safe weight loss is considered to be no more than half a kilogram to one kilogram per week. No single food can be considered good or bad. A single meal does not make or break a healthy diet, as all foods can fit into a good diet when consumed in moderation.

Your new year resolution can be to make these life style changes for a life time. The objective of a healthy diet and life style changes are obviously to have a healthy life — live a well meaningful existence and to avoid major health failures such as diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterols, high blood pressures and cancers.

The American Heart Association emphasises that long-term weight loss is a product of changing our behaviour, good nutrition and physical activity.

Try these:

Do not worry about that dress / jeans. Concentrate on making permanent life – style changes.

Exercise 3 – 5 days in a week, for 30 – 60 minutes.

Consume small and frequent meals and snacks and avoid bulky meals.

Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables – at least five portions

Consume more wholegrains and cereals. Avoid maida and refined foods

Include sprouts and whole grams and legumes (dal) in your diet.

Cut down on fat in your diet. Reduce oil in your cooking and avoid fried foods.

Cut down on sugars and sweets

Cut down the consumption of carbonated beverages

Quit smoking

Moderate and responsible alcohol consumption.

Manage stress

Sleep well for at least 6 – 8 hours

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 4:34:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/stay-fit/article2735008.ece