Sometimes you pay Rs 2,000 a month thinking that the money paid will motivate you to get to the gym. And at times, after paying the money, a month goes by and you realise you’ve just visited the gym twice. Maybe you find the gym routine boring or maybe you just aren’t getting enough time to go there.
However, it is possible to lose those extra kilos at home with some simple exercises and by following a good diet. All that you need is some discipline and dedication.
Diet for weight loss
Obesity is the most prevalent form of malnutrition across the globe. In India, the prevalence of obesity is 12.6% in women and 9.3% in men. This means that more than a 100 million people are obese in India.
“A low-calorie, high-nutrition diet that helps lose weight without compromising the person’s health is thus recommended,” says Bangalore-based nutritionist, Priyannka Aashu Singh, who is with Portea Medical, which is a home healthcare provider.
“There has been a lot of hue and cry about low carb diets. One must understand that although a low carbohydrate and a high-fat diet (Atkins diet) has been shown to cause weight loss of about 3.3 kg in six months, there has been no significant difference in the weight loss after 12 months when compared to low fat diets,” Singh said.
Water should be the main beverage and drinks with high sugar content, such as soft drinks and fruit juices, should be limited or avoided.
Singh said such a diet may lead to constipation due to low fibre intake and kidney stones. Carbohydrates are not bad; however, it must be borne in mind that a high intake of simple carbohydrates from sodas, candy, and pastries will cause weight gain. On the contrary, complex carbs from oats, brown rice, and dal provide energy and are important for overall health.
Indians have this myth, that 5–6 small meals is a lot of eating in a day, but that is not true. On the contrary, the amount of calories you consume in three major meals is a lot for the body to take as compared to five-six small meals.
Now these meals don’t mean a full plate has to be consumed. It simply means to munch a handful of snacks or one fruit in between your main meals just to obtain a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
Singh laid out a daily diet chart for us, which is low on calories and high on nutrition:
Breakfast: A protein rich breakfast is a must.
An experiment by the University of Missouri involving 20 overweight females between the ages of 18 and 20 proved that a high protein breakfast led to reduced cravings and they also snacked less on unhealthy foods.
Moong dal parantha, sprouted moong with poha or upma, muesli or flakes with fruits and seeds or oats idlis, eggs in different forms, peanut butter sandwich with a glass of milk or fresh fruit juice.
Mid-morning snack: Fruits with buttermilk or green tea. “Green tea increases fat burning and improves physical performance. It can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes, risk of cardiovascular disease and help you lose weight and lessen your risk of obesity,” explains Singh.
Lunch: Homemade dal or legumes, roti, veggies with soup and green salad and raita or curd.
Early-evening snack: Protein shake, nuts and seeds, veg sandwich or milk and apple. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University conducted a study which proved that nuts such as almonds have anti-cholesterol benefits and hence should be included in your diet.
Dinner: Dal, veggies, with brown rice or roti and vegetable soup. And you should keep in mind that a light dinner is important, since the digestive system should get rest at night.
There is no point depriving yourself of food. The mantra is to ‘Eat in moderation’.
Use less oil or ghee in vegetables, dal, etc. Indian homemade food is the best dietary plan — roti, vegetables, poha, idli, buttermilk, coconut water are all excellent choices. Moderate amounts of rice, controlled portion of ghee daily and once a while homemade fried food such as puri, bhajiya and vada can be tried. These foods give you the energy your body needs.
Avoid all junk foods, be it Indian or western. Samosas, kachori, pizza, donuts are all equally bad. Foods with added sugars, and processed foods that contain high amount of trans-fats should be avoided.
Home based exercises
Along with this diet plan, a few exercises done regularly at home can aid in weight loss and make you more toned too.
Here are a few exercises you can try. Remember that it is important to warm up as the body and joints need to be ready for these exercises. Warm up and stretching helps increase the body temperature and the muscles to contract more forcefully and relax smoothly.
Exercise 1: Burpees
The burpee is a full body strength training exercise and the ultimate example of functional fitness.
How to do it:
Stand with your feet at shoulder width and push your hips back. With bended knees, lower the body into a squat position. Put your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Jump lightly to land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Jump back. Put your arms over your head and jump. Get into the squat position once again for the next repetition.
Benefits: This exercise helps in working out the arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abs. Burpees can be done anywhere.
Exercise 2: Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a great total body exercise. You utilise your core because you are starting from a plank position. They help in increasing your heart rate and also fire up every muscle group in the body.
How to do it:
Get into the plank position and bring the right knee forward below your chest. The toes should be just over the ground. Return to the basic position. Do the same with the left knee forward. Keep changing legs and repeat.
Benefits: Mountain climbers are a whole-body workout. They tone every muscle in the body including deltoids, biceps, triceps, chest, obliques, abdominals, quads, hamstrings, and hip abductors.
Exercise 3: Push Ups
Push ups are beneficial for strengthening the chest and arm muscles.
How to do it:
Getting down on the ground, and set your hands at a distance wider than the shoulder. Look straight ahead and start the push ups. Repeat as many times as you can without straining yourself.
Benefits: Push-ups strengthen muscles in the chest and arms.