Although the best way to lose weight is through a combination of diet and exercise, don’t fret if you can’t find the time for both. As it is possible to lose weight with a healthy diet. After all, weight loss is 70% about diet and 30% exercise, so it’s better to choose the former if you must choose one. However, bear in mind that merely changing your diet isn’t necessarily the best way to lose weight—it needs to be paired up with exercise for best results.
The importance of diet in a weight loss programme cannot be overemphasized. Proper diet does not mean starving yourself or severely limiting your food choices but eating healthy, balanced meals that meet all your body’s nutritional requirements while keeping your calorie count under control.
Want to know how to lose weight just by eating right? You need to:
Stay away from junk food
The first rule of healthy eating is to avoid all junk food including chips, cold drinks, namkeens and even biscuits. Junk foods contain salt, sugar and trans fat which are not only bad for health but also lead to weight gain. In fact, my advice is to stay away from restaurants as well, since there’s no alternative for healthy, home-cooked meals. For working professionals who lack the time to prepare their own meals, there are plenty of healthy quick fix recipes which can be made in minutes. A common misconception is that biscuits are healthy snacks, but that isn’t necessarily true since they contain sugar. In fact, I would recommend no more than two biscuits a day irrespective of the kind of biscuits they are – digestive or others.
Start your day with a small snack
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Eating a fruit or a small portion of nuts within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning kick-starts your metabolism allowing you to burn more calories. If you plan to exercise in the morning, this can also serve as a good pre-workout meal supplying you with the energy to last the session. Any fruit is okay if you intend to work out but avoid sugar-laden fruits like mangoes, bananas, litchis and chikoos if you don’t plan to exercise subsequently.
Eat small, frequent meals
Eat small, frequent meals every two to three hours as you go about your day. This helps in two ways—one, it keeps your metabolism active throughout the day, and two, you are never starving at any point of time which allows you to eat less and make intelligent food choices.
Choose a balanced meal
A weight loss diet doesn’t necessarily mean starving yourself, which could end up damaging your health by compromising your immunity. Instead, a weight loss diet is a nutritious, balanced diet which tries to control your calorie intake. Each meal should contain no more than 200-300 calories which together should complete your requisite daily intake of 1,200-1,400 calories.
All meals must have a proper balance of nutrients including complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Pay special attention to dinner if you’re trying to lose weight. Try and settle in for an early dinner (before 7 pm) if you plan to eat a full meal so that your body has adequate time to burn off the calories you’ve just consumed. In case of late dinner consider skipping cereals altogether—it isn’t unhealthy to shun cereals completely if you are eating dinner late.
Drink more water
Water is an important component of a weight loss diet because it can help you fill your stomach and control hunger pangs. The recommended water intake for adults is at least 8-10 glasses per day. Interestingly, sometimes people tend to mistake thirst for hunger. If you feel hungry shortly after a meal, try drinking water—it’s quite possible what you were feeling wasn’t hunger but thirst!
Don’t overdo it with fruits
It is a common misconception that loading up on fruits assists weight loss when the fact is that the opposite is true. Fruits contain sugar which is converted to calories in the body which is why it’s best to limit their intake to no more than two a day. Also, if you are eating a fruit, don’t mix it with other meals since the sugar from the fruit blends with carbohydrates from the meal and complicates the metabolism process.
Diet can only help you lose weight up to a point, following which you will need exercise to nudge your weight down further. Even if you can’t find the time to exercise, try pairing healthy eating with increased physical activity to accelerate the weight loss process. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator to office, leave your workstation and move around a bit. If your office is on a highrise and it’s practically impossible to take the stairs all the way, climb one or two flights of stairs before hopping on to the elevator. Take time out for a 15-minute walk after each meal—it’s a great way to keep your calories burning.
Weight loss through diet does not have to entail great sacrifice—it’s okay to eat almost anything as long as you practice portion control. Remember that weight loss through diet is not so much about forgoing your favourite foods as it is about watchful eating.
Eating a balanced diet is the first step towards losing weight. Our experts can help with customised meal plans