If you thought the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym, you are wrong. Making simple diet and lifestyle changes can also help you lose weight, without having to pound the treadmill or passing out from lifting weights.
“Eating right always helps to reduce weight. But to maintain the weight loss, it is essential to exercise and it also protects you from regaining weight. Physical fitness helps kickstart your metabolism and increase your metabolic rate. A bare minimum of 30 minutes exercise is essential for weight maintenance,” says nutritionist Hitha Bhankharia.
It helps to remember that weight gain is often a result of bad diet than a lack of exercise. “What makes a person overweight or obese is consuming too much energy, beyond what you spend. To strike a balance, the input calories from the diet should equate the calories spent,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atmantan Wellness Centre.
Here are 10 lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight:
Eat fibre-rich food
Fibre, found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, adds to the bulkiness of the meal and contributes to the secretion of appetite controlling hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, says Dr Kutteri. “Eating a high-fibre diet not only satiates you, but also increases elimination of toxins from the body. Fibre binds with lipids and flushes them out of our system,” he explains.
Choose smaller plates and portions
“The diameter of the plates should be the length of your palm. The fact that the plate is full gives you the psychological feeling that you have eaten fully. The same amount of food on smaller plates adds to the satiety factor,” says Dr Kutteri. Similarly, opt for smaller meals that are primarily rich in protein and vegetables for sustained release of energy throughout the day. “This will reduce build-up of fatty tissues due to intake of excess calories in one large meal,” says Dr Kutteri.
Ditch the alcohol
Alcohol is laden with calories and best avoided if you are trying to lose weight. However, if you can’t give it up, eat a healthy balanced meal and then have one drink. “Do not combine aerated drinks or energy drinks with alcohol as it increases calorific intake. Eating dinner before drinking helps prevent binge eating and binge drinking,” says Bhankharia.
Dr Kutteri adds that cutting off alcohol helps you achieve your weight loss goal at a much faster pace as well. “Smoking causes impaired digestion which is another contributing factor for weight gain,” he says.
Keep drinking water/fluid through the day
Hydration is essential for weight loss, so ensure you increase your fluid intake. “Water is possibly the most valuable tool for weight loss. The body’s most basic functions require water. Your body needs water to produce saliva, help with perspiration, and remove waste,” says Dr Kutteri.
Bhankharia suggests a daily intake of 1 litre of water, 2–3 glasses of buttermilk, 1 glass of coconut water (if you are not a diabetic), and 1 glass of lemon water (no added sugar). Other good options (instead of aerated drinks) are kokam water, amla juice, aloe vera with coconut water, sabja water, jeera water and mint water. You can also consume herbal teas, tisane, thin soups and simple fresh vegetable/fruit juices.
Never skip breakfast
It’s not for nothing that breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. “It fills your stomach after a long period of fasting (6-8 hours of sleep). Skipping breakfast is likely to cause you to snack throughout the day in response to hunger, resulting in weight gain rather than weight loss,” says Dr Kutteri. Bhankharia says that eating breakfast also helps kickstart your metabolism and energises the body.
Be active throughout the day
Even though you don’t want to hit the gym, doing some physical activity will help. “Take a stroll every 45 minutes. Walk around while talking on the phone. Climb steps at least 2–3 times a day and divide your 30 minute walk to 10–15 minute walks through the day,” suggests Bhankharia.
Get your fill of sleep
“Sleep is linked to weight gain and the average sleeping time is inversely proportionate to BMI. This is due to the change of homeostasis in the leptin-ghrelin secretions and also that people who don’t sleep well get more time to munch on food,” says Dr Kutteri.
Eat slowly and mindfully
“Your brain needs some time to process the food and to give you a feeling of fullness. Slow eating with proper chewing helps to decrease the food intake and keeps weight in check,” says Dr Kutteri.
Don’t stock junk food
A good way to not end up eating junk food is to avoid stocking it at home. “Stop the habit of bulk-buying junk food. This gives easy access to munch on them and these unplanned snacks can add to weight gain,” says Dr Kutteri.
Stress can promote binge-eating. The high levels of cortisol during stress can contribute to weight gain as well, says Dr Kutteri.