Slimming down is a lot tougher than it sounds, especially the healthy way. Here are eight flubs you might be making while trying to shed those stubborn pounds.
1 SKIPPING BREAKFAST
When we can't swing a healthy breakfast before an early morning meeting, we gulp down a can of orange juice and storm out of the house. "And that's the biggest mistake we make," point out nutrition experts. Those on a breakfast similar to that of birds, tend to get hungry later and overeat before lunch. A healthy breakfast comprising whole-grain cereal or an egg and whole wheat toast, on the other hand, keeps you full until lunch. Studies have shown that a high protein meal earlier in the day increases dopamine levels, thus reducing cravings through the day.
2 HALF-BAKED IS DANGEROUS
"These days people do their own research, pick what they like and make dietary changes that may not necessarily suit their regimen," says nutritionist Shivani Amrute. "They eliminate carbohydrates completely from their diet, not realizing that their body needs instant energy which cannot be derived from proteins and fats. They skip dinner and stay up till midnight.
This leads to two things: they either binge on ice creams and snacks in the middle of the night or wake up with hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Many others disregard the importance of moderate portions." Just because a food item has a higher nutritional value doesn't mean that you can consume mountains of it.
3 EATING TOO MUCH FRUIT
Before loading your plate with crunchy apples, ripe peaches and berries bursting with flavor, note that fruits are rich in a sugar known as fructose and need to be consumed in moderation. While fruit is a healthier alternative to cheesecake or gulab jamun, ensure you don't indulge in more than two portions a day as it may lead to high blood sugar, weight gain and other complications like fructose malabsorption.
The key is to incorporate low glycemic fruits like apple, pear, orange, sweet lime, guava, papaya and use other sugar rich fruits sparingly. The best time to eat fruits is the first half of the day keeping fat loss in mind," says nutritionist Karishma Chawla.
4 THE HUNGRY HEART
So you wake up on a Monday morning and punish yourself for the junk you ate the night before by surviving the day on a measly glass of organic juice. Missing meals may reduce the calorie intake for that particular hour and help you shed a few pounds instantly, but you could be headed for trouble in the long run. Not eating on time will make you hungrier and you're also more likely to overeat at the next meal. It will disrupt your metabolism and cause blood sugar to dive. Needless to say, this disrupted supply of nutrients is bound to make you feel tired and miserable.
"Fasting leads to starvation and muscle breakdown, slows down body's metabolism and converts calories into fat. The faster you lose pounds, the faster you gain them. Lose them slowly by eating a balanced diet that comprises lean protein, unprocessed carbs and good fats and by working out regularly," advises nutritionist Prachi Sanghvi.
5 JUMPING ON THE SCALE
Once we hit the gym or start following a diet, we obsessively check the scale - only to be disappointed by the consistent number. But tracking the weighing scale on a daily basis doesn't give an accurate picture as a person's weight is affected by many factors including food, body composition and hydration levels. Rather, consult a dietitian and take body measurements to keep a tab on the inches. "You don't need a weighing scale to reflect your body state. Instead of depending on a machine to tell you how you are doing, start depending on yourself and go by how you are feeling. If you feel good, you're on the right track. If not, you need to re-look at what you are doing!" declares celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar.
6 SAYING NO TO GHEE
Ever wondered why the number of young adults with heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension, back and joint problems have increased? One of the reasons is shunning ghee. "A staple in traditional Indian cooking and ayurvedic medicine, ghee has myriad impressive benefits. It burns fat efficiently, reduces inflammation in the joints, balances cholesterol levels, protects the gastrointestinal system, keeps the brain alert, improves eye health and maintains the texture of hair, skin and nails," shares diet specialist Dhvani Shah. So the next time you want to burn stubborn fat, a ghee or clarified butter dip, as the West calls it, is just what the doctor ordered.
7 MAKING CARBS THE ENEMY
Choosing a low-carb diet over a traditional well-balanced one has become a popular trend. Everyone from teens to corporate biggies are ditching white rice or chapatti to dig into a bowl of salad or opt for a simple dal and steamed fish lunch."But that's not the right thing to do," asserts nutritionist Pooja Makhija. "Carbs comprise 60 to 65 percent of our total calorie intake. Eliminating them completely leaves a void in our stomach and makes us feel angry and irritable. When we don't get the right food at the right time, we end up eating the wrong food at the wrong time." Yearning for a flat tummy? Allow that ghee laden roti and bowl of rice to return to your plate right away!
8 THE WESTERN INFLUENCE
Of course, the protein bar that you devoured on your way to work is convenient, but it's processed and won't satisfy your hunger. "We need to value everything (like rice), that is easily available in the local market, instead of chasing after food items that are difficult to avail and expensive to afford, "stresses Diwekar. According to her, the best way to eat healthy is to include more rice, ghee and seasonal fruits in our diet, along with 150 minutes of exercise per week. "Eat like your grandmother. No prescribed diet can replace her age-old recipes," she adds. Go back to your roots and recollect what food you ate at your grandmother's house -it could be the basic curd-rice, dal-chawal or roasted brown chana with some jaggery. Stop looking for Western alternatives like replacing coconut oil with olive oil and Italian herbs for Indian spices. Inherit the Indian culture in all its glory. You'll be surprised with the wealth in your backyard.
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