Eight simple tips to reach and maintain your target weight .
Losing weight is challenging enough but knocking off the last of those hard-to-shift rolls around the hips and tummy can be tough. Here are some simple rules that will not just help you finally hit your target weight but maintain your new svelte figure as well.
Practice makes perfect
We eat too much. Serving portions are getting bigger as are the plates we eat from. Combine this with what we learned as kids—“Don’t leave food on your plate”—and you’re bound to be eating far more that you should. Start by eating smaller portions. Remember a serving of meat, chicken, fish or paneer should be no more than the length and breadth of a deck of playing cards. While eating chips, always opt for the single serving size, not the family pack. Eat from smaller plates because the visual cue of a full plate tricks your mind into thinking you’re eating a lot. And finally, make sure that at every meal at least half your plate is full of a rainbow array of colorful veggies.
Ditch low fat labels
Stocking up on low fat foods instinctively makes you eat more than you need. Most of these foods contain only marginally fewer calories. Besides, instead of fats these foods typically contain excessive amounts of white carbs to improve taste. These carbs can cause blood sugars to peak, then crash, setting you up for failure by causing cravings for high sugar foods.
Additionally, studies show that people often view a low-fat label as a green light to eat much more than they normally would, unaware that low-fat versions of foods are usually not much lower in calories than the regular versions.
Boost your metabolism
Metabolism is the process your body uses to convert food into energy. If your best efforts are yielding no results, it’s likely that your metabolism needs a push. Eating more protein and greens is one way of making your metabolism work harder. Eat more fish, eggs or chicken if you’re a non-vegetarian and lentils, sprouts, quinoa and low fat cottage cheese if you’re vegetarian. Combine that with capsaicin-rich spices like bell peppers and red or green chilies. Studies show that capsaicin suppresses appetite centers in the brain and revs up the metabolism. Ginger is another digestion and metabolism-boosting food. Add sliced ginger to stir fries and lentils.
Give artificial sweeteners and sodas a miss
Sugar free alternatives like aspartame and saccharin have been linked to weight gain.
Your body expects calories when you eat or drink something and when you have a sugar substitute instead, you end up eating more to get the same level of satiety. Also, since artificial sweeteners can be up to 7000 times sweeter than natural sugars, they can desensitize taste buds, spurring you to overeat. A square of dark chocolate or two dates are a much safer way of satisfying a sugar craving.
Get a move on
For weight loss to happen, you have to make exercise part of your daily regime. Make sure you walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This is equal to one hour of a brisk walk. If walking sounds boring, incorporate physical activities such as dancing, playing with your children, swimming, cleaning your home and climbing the stairs in your daily routine.
Mixing up your calories
It’s easy for your body to adapt to burning up the same number of calories every day. To keep surprising your metabolism vary your calorie intake. So eat 1200 calories one day, change than to 1400 calories the next day and lower it to 1300 the day after. Keep this pattern going to force your body to exert more energy to make adjustments, which in turn triggers bigger weight loss.
Everyone knows your body needs 8-10 glasses of water daily but did you now that drinking cold water can make your metabolic range jump up—and stay up—for 30 minutes afterwards? Research shows that drinking about eight glasses of water day helps you consume 200 fewer calories (equal to 4 chapattis) per day.
Say yes to whole grain
Say no to white bread, pastas and rice and yes to whole grains like oats, millet, jowar, bajra, ragi and whole wheat. Packed with fiber, they fill you for longer, stabilize blood sugars and are choc-a-bloc with vitamins and minerals. They also reduce your risk of disease and boost your weight loss efforts.