If 2012 is the year you plan to shed those extra kilos, then it’s time to take a look at the 10 golden rules for weight loss – 10 rules that mark the foundation of how you can lose weight the healthy way.
We’re not talking about crash diets or over-exercising, but we are talking about clever planning and understanding your body and mind. Let’s begin!
1: Be proactive about diet selection.
Nothing fades faster than a weight loss crash diet. Day one will see you fantasizing about fatty foods, and day two will have you queuing up at the nearest fried food joint. Being proactive about diet selection involves kowing how much food you need for your height, goal weight and daily needs. Secondly, it involves splitting up the day’s food intake into well timed and portion controlled meals. And finally, it involves selecting good foods based on your food preferences. You must ensure that you never starve and always have a healthy snack available.
2: Be proactive about workout selection.
A workout doesn’t just ‘happen’ to be good, it becomes good and effective when the person working out is actively involved with the trainer’s selection of exercises. Inputs like exercise preferences, specific goals, personal hurdle, etc, make a workout that much more effective. So question your trainer. Don’t let him or her just blindly jot down a workout for you from a roster of standard one-size-fits-all workouts.
Ask questions about how the workout is appropriate for your goals, and be clear about the timeframe you expect these goals in – but always be realistic. For instance, losing 10 kilos in 10 days is not a realistic goal, but losing 4 kilos in a month is.
3: Daily discipline in exercise.
Most successful weight loss warriors attribute their lost kilos to discipline in exercise. Don’t think of exercise as a punishment or a lifestyle break. Think of it as an essential part of your daily life. Ensure that you do whatever it takes to be regular with exercise and you’ll achieve your weight loss goals in healthy time.
4: Daily discipline in diet.
The word ‘diet’ is usually considered synonymous with ‘crash diet’ or ‘starvation.’ Take the negativity out of it and what you have is planned and balanced daily food intake. Attach the principle of living healthy to it and you have planned and balanced daily food intake, carefully selected to help you achieve your healthy weight loss goals.
Therefore, maintaining this carefully selected diet is of utmost importance. For this reason, rigidity is something you might or might not enjoy based on your personality type. A pragmatic and result-oriented person will maintain a rigid and unflinching daily diet, while a ‘foodie’ who gets easily bored will prefer a wide range of choices. It is your job to ensure that this wide range of choices is made up entirely of foods that don’t harm your weight loss goals. Therefore, have several options per meal, but keep them all healthy and within the same nutrient and caloric range that you may consume.
5: Balanced nutrition.
Several fit people disagree with the idea of calorie counting as they prefer high-performance foods that might be high on calories while being nutritious. However, weight loss does not work that way. No matter what individual experiences are, maintaining a balance or deficit/surplus against weight goals is crucial. No matter how nutritious peanut butter or almond butter is, a person trying to drop 10 kilos can never indulge in it the way an athlete or fit person can.
Therefore, while calorie counting might not work for an athlete’s weight management, it can be beneficial for an overweight or obese person. Maintain a split of 15% protein, 25% fat, and 60% carbs in your daily diet. Ensure that these are all the ‘good’ versions (good carbs, good fats, lean protein), and eat them within your body’s requirement limits. Do not forget other essential nutrients like vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium etc. By and large, if you eat 3-4 servings of fruits and 3-4 of vegetables, with suitable levels of lean protein and good fats everyday, then you are receiving all important nutrients.
6: Adequate rest.
Sleep and rest are essential for healthy weight loss. Not only does sleep ensure that your body’s hormonal and digestive systems remain balanced at all times, it also gives you adequate energy for that essential get-up-and-go attitude every morning. With enough rest, you won’t keep relying on sitting and lying down, which instantly translates into more physical activity in daily chores.
Water is crucial for energy, healthy weight management, and for overall health. Hydrating becomes even more important when you exercise and are physically active during the day. A few studies have reported small effects of water consumption on weight loss. But these results must not be followed in isolation. Water’s only known, proven effect on weight loss at the moment is through keeping our bodies well-hydrated for optimal organ and system functioning. Therefore, while drinking more water won’t speed weight loss, drinking less water will hamper overall health. Always keep a bottle of water handy at all times, and sip a little for every few minutes of exercise.
8: Be clever about eating out.
For the anti-socials amongst us, eating out is never a roadblock to healthy weight loss. But the other side of the social spectrum tells a different story. If eating out is a habit for you, then you will need to get clever about what you eat at restaurants. Treat yourself to a restaurant meal once a week, but know what to eat and how much to eat. This goes back to your diet’s variations and options. Avoid unhealthy food preparations, heavy desserts, and high calorie beverages.
Train your palette to enjoy steamed, grilled, curried (without frying) and broth based foods. The sooner you can control your urge to indulge (often) in fatty, deep fried and rich foods, the sooner you’ll achieve your weight loss goals.
9: Drink less alcohol.
When you consume alcohol, you aren’t just consuming calories. It isn’t as simple as counting carbs, and limiting alcohol intake to just 3-4 drinks a day. Alcohol intake affects the way your body metabolises food in that it first processes alcohol and then gets around to the food. This essentially means that the food is not processed immediately and appropriately, and is converted into fat once stored due to this faulty metabolism.
Limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day, or one day in the week is a better method of weight management without having to quit alcohol altogether. Wine, whisky, and brandy are known to have several health benefits when consumed in moderation. Sadly, 3-4 drinks every day will only make healthy weight loss much more difficult in the long run and you will find that your weight eventually refuses to budge no matter how much you exercise or diet.
10: Cook and eat healthy versions of your favourite dishes.
A good diet takes your meal preferences into account. You should never feel cut off from your favourite foods. Therefore, explore the world of healthy cooking to be able to enjoy what you love most without sabotaging your careful weight management plans. Experiment with healthy ingredients, healthy versions, and healthy cooking methods. Learn the fine art of meal and ingredient substitution. For instance, lean meat is a great substitute for red meat.
Know which foods are permitted indulgences once in a while, and which foods are good for daily consumption. When you cook healthy as a family, you support each other’s healthy weight loss goals and stand a better chance at making healthy weight management a part of your lifestyle.