The ongoing pandemic has reinforced the importance of health. To stay safe, more and more people are focusing on getting rid of their sedentary lifestyle. One of the deadliest consequences of a sedentary lifestyle is the extra pounds. Putting on excessive weight over the years can lead to chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and hypertension. Therefore, losing the excess fat and getting back into shape is necessary.
Weight loss is a scientific process. The journey of getting into your healthy self is enlightening. You get to know and understand your body and its requirements, on a much deeper level. However, many people fall into the trap of useless fads and unrealistic goals. These procedures help to keep off the weight only for a certain period. To adapt your body to a healthier lifestyle, you need to make consistent efforts in both your diet and exercise plan. In this article, we will set up an efficient diet and exercise plan for you to feel healthier and happier at the end of the journey.
Do not miss your breakfast
Cutting down on calories doesn’t imply starvation. The first meal of the day, i.e., breakfast is the most crucial. It replenishes the body’s glucose storage after a continuous fasting period of 12 hours. This way, it regulates the fluctuations in glucose levels and helps to control the appetite. Apart from that, the food items that we consume for breakfast, like oats, fruits, bread, or milk, are rich in essential nutrients like folate, calcium, iron, vitamins and fibre. They help a person to meet his regular dietary requirements. A healthy breakfast reduces the risk of illnesses, like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In case, you do not feel like eating early in the morning, we suggest you reduce your portion for the evening meals. As a result, you will feel hungry at the breakfast table.
Choose your liquid calories wisely
Most of us are in the habit of grabbing a cup of coffee from a nearby coffee shop. Some of us also quench our thirst with sweetened and carbonated drinks. A night out with colleagues or friends ensures a good level of alcohol consumption. These are the habits that we need to get rid of. Sweetened drinks add to the total calorie intake but don’t substitute for solid food during hunger pangs. They cause blood sugar levels to rise and also increase the LDL cholesterol levels, which in turn increases the risks of heart diseases.
Choose water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% pure fruit juice. Start your day with a glass of lukewarm water, lemon and honey. In-between meals if you get hungry, drink a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice. Avoid adding sugar or other sugar substitutes to these drinks. Limit your alcohol consumption, especially when you have company.
Manage your environment
Weight loss is a continuous process. You will only notice a difference on the weighing scale once you start making small conscious efforts. Your environment can have a huge influence on your eating habits. A few steps that you can follow to rein in your unhealthy cravings are:
- Do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. An empty stomach can lead you to purchase more high-calorie and junk food. While the reasons for such purchase patterns are still not clear, some researchers have suggested that when hungry, the human brain cannot perceive beyond the immediate sensation of fulfilment. Therefore, it convinces the mind to make bad buying decisions. After returning from the store, you might feel that the ₹100 ice-cream tub could be replaced with a kilogram of apples.
- Start planning your finances. Allocate a budget for your monthly groceries and keep aside a certain amount for fine dining and night outs. It will help you to not only increase your savings but also plan your meals better.
- Stock your refrigerator with fresh produce. Buy a pack of coffee powder or beans and start brewing your coffee. Carry your reusable water bottle to work. Mix a little lemon juice to spruce up the taste. Replace sugar with other natural sweeteners like honey and jaggery.
- Use smaller plates for eating your meals. It helps you to reduce the quantity of your food intake. You will also feel guilty while trying to get multiple refills. Therefore, your brain naturally tricks you to lower your portion size.
- If you tend to eat while you are stressed or are feeling emotional, practice mindful eating. If you are feeling emotional and get a sugar craving, take a deep breath and sip on a glass of cold water. During stressful moments, take a step back and go for a walk. Pacing under the open sky can help you to calm your mind and clear your head. Listen to your body.
Do not fall into the trap of losing multiple kilograms in a few weeks. Instead, try and change your lifestyle.
- Start small, like don’t fill yourself up completely during meals. Choose healthier options and stick to an optimal portion. Replace white rice with a bowl of brown rice. Mix honey in your green tea. Munch on a juicy red apple and throw away that packet of salty chips. Make a banana smoothie to quench your mid-morning craving.
- Get a partner to share this journey with. Ask your parent, sibling, friend, colleague or spouse. Cooking dinner with your loved ones instead of eating out not only cuts down on your expenses but also gives you more time to bond. It helps you to track your progress and stay right on track.
- Get moving. Movement is an integral part of losing weight. A daily dose of exercise helps you to increase your energy store, get rid of all the nervous energy and feel content. Again, don’t aim for cross-country if you are not in the habit of walking to the local store. Start by covering the distance to your workplace on foot. Bicycle if the distance is more. Take up your favourite sport and spend at least three days a week playing it.
- If you’re somebody who just can’t resist eating unhealthy snacks at night or in between the day, start brushing more frequently. It is a bit bizarre but works for a lot of people. Whenever you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy snack, gargle your mouth with mouthwash. It signals your brain to stop eating.
Don’t obsess over calories
In their weight loss journey, people get obsessed over counting their calories before eating anything. You don’t need to be nit-picky about it. Do have a general idea about your daily consumption of calories but don’t be so shrewd about it. You need to remember that weight loss is a slow process and mindless fretting will only stress you more.
If you are new to exercise routines, we suggest the following plan:
1. Start with a quick warm-up. It helps your body to get prepared for the oncoming stretch of exercise.
- Low jumps ( 30 times)
- Side stretch (30 times)
- Light leg stretch (30 times)
- Neck rotation – Left-Right, Up-Down, Clockwise-Anticlockwise (5 times each)
2. You can do the following 2 sets of exercises on alternate days.
- Jumping Jacks (25 x 3 times)
- Leg Raises (15 x 3 times)
- Leg tucks (15 x 3 times)
- Cobra arch (15 x3 times)
- Planks ( 2 for a minimum of 30 seconds each)
- Slow climbers (20 x 3 times)
- Leg raises (15 x 3 times)
- High Knees (30 x 3 times)
- Bridge Hold (15 x 3 times)
- Side leg (15 + 15 x 3 times)
3. You can also take up other cardio exercises like jumping a rope for 20 minutes daily.
The process of losing weight can be overwhelming. Have faith in yourself and the journey. Give your body the time it needs to adapt to the changes. Get plenty of sleep and try to stay away from negative energy, including people who constantly make you doubt yourself. Also, in case some changes cause you discomfort, don’t hesitate to approach a medical health practitioner. Stay consistent and eventually, you will transform into a more confident version of yourself.