By Changing Nothing, Nothing Changes
True life is lived when tiny changes occur
– Leo Tolstoy
Have you been trying to loose weight for a long time? You workout regularly, but somehow have not been able to achieve it? Does that question haunt you? Hmmm… let us try to see why this happens.
The magic formula is 75% diet and 25% workout. We workout regularly, but are not very disciplined about our diet. Most of us follow strict diet plans in the beginning that leave us hungry or unsatisfied. Thus, while we begin the plan well, we tend to finally give up by the time we are really achieving our results. However not all diets are like this. Planning it well, really makes it effective. A diet plan basically needs to answer 3 important questions How, What and When. In this post we will answer the question “How“.
Train Your Brain
The brain is the most important part of the body. It is so powerful that it controls all our actions whether it is a conscious or sub-conscious event. But, it hates change. The first thing that interferes in your change process, is the brain. It will continuously try to instruct you or your body to give up. So, the first step in making any change is to train your brain. Do not give up easily.
The average life expectancy among the Japanese in Okinawa Island is higher than rest of the world. There are quite a few Japanese people there who live over 100 years. A survey of these people credit their long life to a saying “Hara Hachi Bu”. The saying suggests that you should eat until you are 80% full.
We normally eat till we are full or overeat in most cases. When your stomach is not entirely full, it has some extra space. This allows a quicker digestion process. The best way to practice this, is opt for quarter plates in each meal rather than the lunch and diner plate that we use. Eat larger meals during the day and as the day progresses, reduce the quantity. This is because as the day progresses, our digestive system tends to relax. Especially post sunset, our body tires automatically and so does the digestive system. Eating slowly and reducing portions, really helps avoid quite a few digestive problems.
But this does not mean that you eat lesser than what is required for your body. The body requires anything between 1400-1800 calories per day. It also depends on your workout, how many calories your should consume. We will look at this in detail in Part II (What) of this series.
Increase Fluid Intake
Normally, we wait till we are thirsty or dehydrate ourselves. But it is important to drink water even before our body reminds us. Drink at least 3-4 bottles of water in the course of the day. It is advisable to sip the water every half hour if possible. Personally, I have realized that drinking water regularly gives you a fuller feeling and makes you less hungry. Stick to plain room temperature water irrespective of the season, to quench your thirst.
Balance Your Diet Well
A diet needs to be balanced. We need to include all the nutrients in our diet. Based on your diet plan you will need to decide what components you need to have. We will see this in detail in Part II of the series.
Seasonal fruits have very good nutrional value. When you have it after a meal or along with a meal, your body does not get these nutrients and it just adds to your calories. Instead, if you have a fruit as a separate meal then it works wonders. Many professionals also suggest that you shouldnt have fruits in the second half of the day. This is something that I personally followed as well and it worked well for me.
Defeat the Craving for Unhealthy Food
During your initial weight loss journey, it is always advisable to eat home-cooked food. The reason being we know what and how it is cooked. But, this is not possible for everyone, considering our work profiles and many other things. Thus, if you are ordering food from outside or going to a restaurant for lunch or diner, choose your food wisely. Avoid any fried foods or refined carbs like breads. Keep a day of the week for cheat meals and eat whatever was not possible during the week. But again, it is necessary to eat a cheat meal also in moderation. Avoid alcohol in the beginning, as we normally tend to eat all the forbidden stuff with it. Once you have established a good control over your diet, you can slowly try your hand at alcohol.
Exercising is definitely the key. Even though it is the 25%, it plays a very good role in either controlling or managing your hunger. Working out at least 4-5 days a week is necessary to loose or gain weight. your journey.
It took me a a couple of years to change my food habits. I gradually reduced the unhealthy habits and it helped me with my target. The journey took me almost 4 years to bring down my weight from 100 to 71 kgs, but I am glad that now I am able to sustain my diet plan. Once in a while I get that craving and I tend to break the rules, but it does not really affect me as it used to earlier.
So, give it time and listen to your body and your stomach. Slowly train your mind which will in turn train your stomach to ask for less. It is all a mind game. It is time to make these small changes in life for achieving longevity. So begin today!
In Part II of the series we will answer the second question “What” and cover the various types of food required for a balanced diet and suggestions for the same. So stay tuned.
Stay Fit! Stay Healthy!