A quick summary of what we discussed in Part – 1 of the blog. 1. Set Goals 2. Join a good Gym 3. Get a good Trainer 4. Try a variety of activities (Not just running on treadmill) 5. Be Regular – 6 days a week 7. Be patient and finally 8. The Importance of Diet – and how it could contribute as much as 50% in your weight loss program. Given the importance of the last point this section is dedicated to diet and finally a few importantly things that you need to be careful about.
The Stomach is like a balloon. The more you eat the more it bloats up. With festivals like Onam round the corner – take care , your body does not need even a fraction of this sumptuous spread from a nutrition point.
Thanks to our eating habits, lifestyle and maybe our genes the Indian mans belly (and women’s butt) are world beaters. You just have to walk into a water park to see the amazing shapes and sizes – they are all big, bigger, massive chunks of flesh. With so many important organs and miles of intestine inside your abdominal cavity – spare a thought before you dump it with food like in a dustbin.
The body just needs food that is equal to both your palms put together. So the importance when it comes to diet is Quantity & Quality. Less Quantity and the right Quality.
Step 1 : Have light meals at regular intervals. A good breakfast (Body digests faster in the morning) , a mid day snack (An Apple, a few nuts , some sprouts etc ) + Green Tea , a very light lunch (Subway sandwich OR 2 Rotis + Subji + Dal, OR a small serving of Pasta ), Green Tea + a light snack 2 hrs before workout, something high in protein after a busy workout ( 2 – 3 egg whites) and a very light dinner (Soup + Salad + Upma etc) two hours before sleep.
Most of us do the exact opposite – we hardly have time for breakfast as we rush to office and we have a very heavy dinner with dessert late at night when the body metabolic activities are the lowest.
Step 2 : Take help from a dietician for a few months.
You need to customize a diet from the food that you regularly eat every day. Following a crash diet , protein shake diet or only fruit diet is not sustainable. Every indian food can be eaten in moderation at the right time. The word moderation is key – Green Tea is good – but 6 cups a day is not. Nuts are good – but again mix it in variety in limited quantities. The body needs a large variety of carbohydrates , proteins , minerals etc – which can only come from a wide variety of food. Sadly the way food is grown , transported, cooked and stored today – it loses most of its nutrition and you have no choice but to take some nutritional supplements (Especially when you are a vegetarian, its true that horses & elephants are vegetarians – but they eat in enormous quantity fresh food from the jungles packed with nutrients). Its good to be a vegetarian (humans were meant to be ) but in todays world you need help with supplements – thats the reason you need the services of a dietician who can customise a schedule for you.
I would suggest the following – 1 Becosule , 1 Neurobin , 1 Cal Mag D daily and a sachet of granules to supplement Vitamin D every Sunday. (but again check with a doctor or your dietician, also be careful that the supplements do not come from any Baba’s ashram – they may be laced with steroids). You need 80 grams of protein every day – our normal diet does not have that, if you are doing regular exercises, all that I talked about in Part – 1 , you need to have have 4 – 6 egg whites every day. (1 Egg White has 4 grams of protein) . The muscles need the protein.
Cut your Carbs. I have cut my rice intake by 80 %. When I eat rice its red rice. And the vegetables are boiled with less oil.
Step 3 : Fill yourself with fresh food
Salads & fruits. Most people think that salads are just cucumber, carrots & tomatoes. But there is a lot more than that ( Your next birthday or Anniversary gift to your wife could be a great Salad Book) .
Try some partially cooked salads – they taste great and help create a variety. Some salad ideas – Sprout Salad, Banana Flower Salad , Betroot salad, Pumpkin Salad (White & Golden)
And eat a lot of fruits. Here again be careful of the fleshy fruits which help you gain weight. Mangoes, Chickoos, Bananas are Ok immediately before or after a workout but a lot of Apple, Pomegranate , Papaya , Guava, All the colored fruits (Berries, Plums ) , Pineapple etc. at breakfast and for short snacks are highly recommended.
Step 4 : Drink lots of water
You can start and your day with a glass of lukewarm warm water with 1/2 a lemon . Keep drinking through the day , at least 8 – 10 glasses . (Avoid fruit juices as they have only sugar and are less on fibre & nutrients and definitely stay away from carbonated drinks). Even when you are gymming keep drinking water preferable with some lemon squeezed in it. Initially when you cut your food quantity you will feel hungry – fill your stomach with water after a light meal. There are myths associated with drinking water when eating food – but they continue to be myths.
Step 5 : Nuts & Seeds are healthy
Again take in moderation because many of them can be very fatty. Avoid roasted nuts with salt.
Step 6 : Sweets & Oily food.
Lets face it we are not Yogis & cannot stay without eating Puri, Aloo Parathas, Sweets …. Don’t ban them from your diet. Restrict their frequency to once a month or once a fortnight. Always try and eat such food items in the morning rather than at night. Eat them at home rather than outside – the oil at home is healthier. Talking of oil stick to Olive Oil.
Step 7 : Some More Important Points
1. Substitute white bread with whole wheat Bread and Maida with Whole Wheat flour.
2. Switch to skimmed milk.
3. Minimal Oil, Butter, Cheese usage.
4. Reduce Sugar consumption to 2-3 teaspoon a day.
5. Have maximum of 2-3 cups of Coffee or Tea a day ( Never start your day with Coffee or Tea on an empty stomach)
6. Restrict vegetables like Aloo(Potato) , Carrots and Matar (Peas).
7. For non-vegetarians-opt for chicken breast, fish and egg whites.Red meat, Organ meats ( liver, brain, kidney) should be restricted. Go for grilled, baked, barbecued, boiled, roasted and tandoori options always.
8. Restrict animal foods, foods high in proteins like paneer,pulses and daals for dinner.
Nice To Do
1. Make it a point to have one glass of warm water with ½ lemon after every meal and one in the morning.
2. Add melons- Musk melons, Cucumber, Watermelon to your diet
3. Have 100% pure fruits and vegetable juices or coconut water as beverage substitutes.
4. Have at least one cup of Green Tea everyday
5. Wash vegetables before cutting them, not after cutting.
1. Avoid Fasting or Feasting. Don’t starve. Don’t overeat.
2. Avoid Late dinners and skipping breakfasts.
3. Avoid Fried Foods and bakery products- Samosa, Burger, Pakoras etc.
4. Avoid Sweets and Confectionery.
5. Avoid Fruit juices (like mazaa and fruity), Ice creams and Milk Shakes.
6. Avoid eating sour things like Sambhar/Kadhi in the night. Avoid too much of salt in the night. They both cause water retention.
7. Avoid being empty stomach for long durations.
8. Avoid Liquor
Step 7 : Read the book ” Dont’ lose your mind – Lose your weight” by Rujuta Diwekar. This is a simple practical book that tells you what is the best way to lose your weight (The author is the lady who helped Kareena Kapoor get to size Zero)
And finally a few points of precaution
1. Take it easy step by step – don’t overdo anything. Whether its exercise or diet – the body will slowly respond. (Thats why crash diets and military regimens at the gym fail). The idea is to enjoy what you are doing – see the results and sustain it as a way of life.
2. Before & after exercise stretch – your knees and joins and muscles need the stretching to avoid injuries.
3. Be careful of excessive cardio. Running when you are overweight can hurt your knees. DO NOT run on concrete surface. Cardio exercise have minimal effect beyond 15 min ( + 5 min cool down)
4. Which is why a good mix of Yoga helps. Best done in the morning , Yoga is a great way to de-stress and strengthen your muscles. As you enter the world of trainers and classes you will hear the word ” Core” a lot. Basically a lot of what you do is controlled by your muscles around the stomach & abdomen. Yoga helps you strengthen your Core. Also using your body weight is the best way of exercising Vs external weights. Yoga is a good companion to regular gymming.
5. Pre workout – If you are working out after having breakfast and lunch then take a gap of atleast 1 hour till you start with the workout. Post a strenuous workout eat something rich in proteins ( Boiled egg whites-2/buttermilk-200 ml/low fat curd/yogurt-1 med bowl/skimmed milk-150 ml/roasted chana-50-75 gms)
6. Take a days rest every week. This is a must. And join a good Spa. There will be a lot of aches & pains as you start on this journey and a fortnightly massage will feel like bliss.