Develop healthy eating habits like eating local, seasonal, produce, and eat a lot of different ‘colours’. Local food is usually preservative and chemical free, and a food’s natural colours signify the nutrients it contains. For instance orange-yellow fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A), amongst other nutrients. So eating different colours will ensure you get the various nutrients your body needs
Healthy eating is where good health begins…
TO LOSE weight you need to eat less, so skipping meals or eating little or nothing for a day may seem like a good idea. But not eating intensifies your hunger, and regularly eating too little or skipping meals can slow your metabolism.
The key to losing weight is to find the right balance of calories and exercise to keep you and your metabolism going. If you’re struggling to lose weight and tempted to skip meals, think twice as that is not a solution to your problem.
It’s often associated with calorie burning, but metabolism actually refers to all the chemical reactions that occur in your cells to keep you alive and active. For example, metabolism controls brain and heart function, digestion and physical activity.
Calories provide the energy required to run all these reactions. Your body requires a certain amount of energy, or calories, to perform basic body functions , referred to as basal metabolic rate, or BMR. The BMR accounts for most of your daily calorie needs, 40 to 70%. You need the remainder to digest food 10 calories for every 100 calories you eat and for physical activity, whether it’s just getting up out of bed or your 30 minutes exercise.
When you eat less than 1,000 calories a day, your body works to preserve its resources by going into “starvation mode,” which is basically a slowdown in metabolism.
There are a few things that happen to cause this slowdown: Not eating restricts your calorie intake, leading to weight loss. While you do lose fat, you also lose muscle. Muscle burns calories, so less muscle tissue means a slower metabolism.
Additionally, levels of thyroid hormone and catecholamine, which play a key role in the metabolism, decrease when you don’t eat. Also, your body burns fewer calories digesting food, because you’re eating less.
If you’re trying to keep your metabolism running strong, you can’t stop eating. You need to find the right balance of calories to promote weight loss without your body going into starvation mode. This means eating a minimum of 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,800 calories a day for men.
If you’re eating the minimum and losing more than 1 kg a week, you still may not be eating enough.
Fast weight loss causes you to lose more muscle than fat, which may lead to that metabolic slowdown. If you’re losing too quickly, add calories in 50 to 100 calorie increments until you’re losing at a rate of ½ to 1 kg a week.
Exercise may help limit some of the decline. Regular strength training can decrease muscle loss as you lose weight. With strength training it is important to monitor inch loss and not typical weight loss.
Aerobic activity also helps give your metabolism a boost. You need to get up to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as swimming, jogging, cycling etc for at least five days a week.
The physiology of weight loss is complicated, but the best strategies for losing fat and keeping it off don’t have to be.
(Nina Figueiredo is a clinical dietician at Manipal Hospital)
EAT a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, quality carbs from wholegrains, adequate protein and healthy fats.
Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, water, and fiber to help you fill up during meals, stay full between meals and keep you healthy.
The carbs will provide energy, boost leptin (the satiety hormone) and prevent feelings of deprivation.
Protein helps you keep that all important lean body mass (which includes connective tissues, organs, and bone as well as muscle). Protein significantly increases satiety, which means you feel fuller despite eating less.
And the fats also boost the immune system, suppress excess inflammation, and make food taste really good.
ADJUST your intake as you plateau, or to prevent plateaus.
As your weight loss progresses, you will need to slightly lower your calorie intake further to continue to progress, as your smaller body will burn fewer calories, and your body is adapting to your diet. But it is very important to not drastically reduce your calorie intake as it will only lower your metabolic rate further and make weight loss all the more tougher.
DO A mixture of resistance, cardiovascular, and recovery activity.
Resistance training helps you maintain vital muscle mass, burn calories, and improve glucose tolerance.
Cardiovascular exercise improves the health of your cardiovascular system, helps you expend energy, and can improve recovery.
But don’t overdo either one.
Recovery work (e.g. walking, yoga) helps you maintain consistency and intensity with resistance and cardio training, making them more effective. And it helps to decrease stress, which also helps you lose body fat and keep it off.
DEVELOP a solid nightly sleep routine and manage your stress.
Sleep is just as important to your success as nutrition and activity levels. Don’t pretend that you can get by with less. It simply isn’t true.
OFTEN, when people lower their stress, they lose a lot of body water. Then they also notice that they may have lost fat too.
This includes mental and emotional stress.
IT IS important to understand that there are going to be meals or days where you don’t eat as you “should”. It’s OK. It happens to everyone. Recognize it, accept it, forgive yourself, and then get back on track.