food should be enjoyed with abandon and pleasure
each morsel should be savoured
each bite treasured
and aroma remembered
So why talk about dieting and weight loss?!
According to LiveStrong, “”Dieting is a national pastime. While the number of Americans who diet varies, depending on the source, the Boston Medical Center indicates that approximately 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products in their pursuit of a trimmer, fitter body.”
Although these statistics are specific to the USA, the scenario is the same the world over. From the very real to the totally superficial, we all have our own reasons for wanting to go on a diet and lose weight.
There is so much information out there – a lot of it conflicting – that it can create more confusion instead of providing the much needed inspiration.
Having lost 32 kgs (70 lbs) in the past two years, I thought I would share my weight loss experience with you. I have no profound, new, yet-to-be-discovered, magical formula for weight loss. But if anybody out there is looking to shift some additional pounds, I hope that this post will be of some help.
The first rule of weight loss is that there are no rules. The beauty of human body being such, each one of us is unique. What works for one person may not work for somebody else. So we need to figure out what works for us and for our body instead of blindly follow some diet plan.
Diet and dieting are two words I avoid using because I think they have very negative and restrictive connotations. The way I eat food and my approach to food is a diet which I follow. But it does not mean that I am on a diet. I am not starving myself nor am I denying myself any foods. I eat what I like as part of a lifestyle I choose to lead.
The tenets of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body are very simple and if you examine closely, most “diets” boil down to the same few principles.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cut down on white sugar.
- Have lean meat and protein.
- Eat whole grains and cereals.
- Consume healthy fats.
- Moderate your intake of carbohydrates.
- Enjoy alcohol within limit.
Losing weight is not rocket science. Consume less calories than you expend, exercise and make sure you eat “healthy” calories. If you follow this mantra, unless there is some underlying medical condition, you will lose weight.
The following is a list of what works for me and some of my experiences. I am not saying that you do the same. In fact, if you seriously decide to embark on a weight loss journey, you will automatically find your own rhythm and methods.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, I do what works for me.
I don’t have breakfast simply because my body doesn’t need fuel first thing in the morning. I start my day with honey and lemon in hot water, followed by a huge mug of tea with milk and damerara sugar. That is the only time I have tea or sugar during the course of the day.
Mid-morning, I snack on some nuts.
My lunch is usually some raw salad and prunes.
Dinner is my main meal. I cook daily from scratch and try to prepare healthy, balanced meals.
I love my red wine and have it several times in a week so make sure that calories from alcohol are offset elsewhere.
Portion control is something that has happened automatically as my body began shrinking. I reduced the amount on my plate because I realised that my body didn’t need the extra stuff. The advantage is that I can afford to eat a variety of foods without feeling guilty simply because my consumption or portion size is significantly less.
I am like a camel, I can go for a long period of time without water. I only have water when my body tells me.
My daily menu doesn’t have much room for white rice or wheat flour. Instead, it revolves around brown rice, grains, pulses, lentils and other flours. In other words, I try to eat healthy carbs.
I make up for any indulgence or binge session by reducing calorie intake for the subsequent couple of days.
I weight myself religiously twice in a day as I find that it helps me not only monitor my weight but keep it in control. However, this is not something that I would advocate. A more sensible approach would be to weigh yourself once a week.
It is important to choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and which you can look forward to without boredom or fatigue setting in. Exercise has become an extremely important part of my daily routine; that time is sacrosanct and non-negotiable. I swim 5 to 6 days in a week with three long sessions and two to three shorter ones. If for some reason I cannot go swimming, I reduce my calorie intake for that day.
Combination of weight loss and portion control has resulted in a noticeably reduced appetite. I can no longer overeat; my body feels very uncomfortable with any excess food. So I eat till my brain tells me to stop and as soon as it does, I switch off food.
It is better to lose weight slowly and gradually over a period of time; it will help you maintain your new level.
If at all you are overweight does not mean that you are unhealthy. There is no scientific evidence which says that slim people are healthier than overweight ones. What is more important is how you feel, how your body behaves and your key parameters such a blood pressure, sugar level, thyroid and heart rate.
Each calorie matters and a human body doesn’t really need a lot of food to survive. So substitute the bad guys with the good ones.
Don’t feel guilty about the occasional indulgence.
Your weight loss journey will only start when something in you suddenly goes CLICK. I don’t know how to define that moment but unless and until that inner voice inside you tells you it is time to start shifting those pounds, it will not happen. In my case, this happened without me even realising.
Most importantly, lose weight for yourself and not anybody else.
love yourself not matter what your weight and life will seem so much more worthwhile
Caveat: I am not a doctor or from the medical profession. The above should not be construed as medical advice.