We all want to achieve that optimum weight. But getting there is an uphill task as our best efforts often fail. We either give up on our diet, or find the exercise routine boring. The end result is that you are stuck with those last few kilos that refuse to budge and a tyre around the waist that stays put.
In addition is the fact that as you grow older, your metabolic rate decreases. Th is slows down your body’s ability to burn fat, so you put on weight. Namita Jain, fitness and health expert says, “Once you hit your 30s, the body’s metabolic rate slows down by about 5 per cent each decade, which means that at 35 you burn fewer calories per day than you did when you were 25. In fact, body fat increases at an average of 1-2kg per decade and muscle tissue decreases. Both these factors result in weight gain as you grow older, which is tough to lose.”
Even your genes play a role in weight gain. Genetics decides our body type and even our predisposition to fat distribution. You know genes are to blame when despite your best efforts, your arms may not look as toned as your friend’s. Research shows that if you are genetically predisposed to gaining weight, there is around 70 per cent chance that you will be heavier than normal. Th is is because your ‘being fat’ genes make it hard to control your hunger and cravings.
Genes can impact the hunger suppressing hormone leptin. Be it genes or age, one thing that dieticians and doctors are noticing about weight loss is that once you lose your fat, you need to continue to eat less and exercise.
Don't give up. There are things you can do to ensure you lose weight and keep it at healthy levels.
Here are 10 rules to follow:
1. Do not miss breakfast: We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So ensure that your first meal of the day is healthy with a focus on proteins, cereals and some fat. “Add some oats or quinoa to your diet that have high fibre and protein content. It keeps you fuller for long,” suggests Dolly Kumar, director, Gaia Foods. If you miss breakfast, then you end up eating a heavy lunch and dinner. You also experience cravings.
2. Avoid large meals: “Instead of having a large lunch or dinner, it is better to have several small meals in a day. When you eat five to six small, healthy meals, your body uses more calories to break down the food, which raises your metabolism,” explains Namita. This also helps you lose weight better.
3. Do not eat after 9pm: If you eat late then it becomes hard for your body to digest the food. It also raises your body temperature, blood-sugar levels and insulin. All these make it harder to lose weight. In fact, eating late regularly can lead to belly fat, shows research. Eat at least three hours before you go to bed, and fi nish dinner by 8pm.
4. Do not cut out fat: Fat is important for keeping our joints well lubricated, and skin and muscles healthy. Switch to lighter, healthier oils which are easy for the body to absorb and break down, advises Dolly.
5. Do not eliminate, eat in moderation: It is all right to enjoy every food group you like. Only, do not over-indulge. Eat enough to satisfy your need. Eat slowly to allow your body the time to absorb everything; that way you will feel full with less.
6. Create a calorie deficit: Eat a little less than you need. Eat till you feel just about full. Do not stuff yourself. Fill yourself with some water or juice or soup before you begin your meal. That way you will eat less yet feel full faster, without really harming your body.
7. Get enough rest at night: Less than six hours of sleep can lead to belly fat and stress. Ensure you sleep at around 11 pm. This way, your body gets the best, restful sleep and you get up early feeling fresh. It also regulates your body metabolism.
8. Snack healthy and have green tea: According to Dolly, a fistful of muesli or a mix of nuts is a good snacking option that keeps you full for long. “Switch to green tea as it has proven to improve metabolism and helps in maintaining body weight. It keeps you alert during lazy afternoons when sugar levels tend to drop,” she says.
9. Exercise daily: Namita says that even 20 minutes of medium intensity workouts daily improves your metabolism and helps keep your body toned. “Regular exercise makes you leaner and fitter, and you feel more energetic,” she says.
10. Stretch your body whenever possible: It is like tuning up your body. Spend fi ve minutes every once in a while to do stretching as it lengthens your muscles and improves overall flexibility. It makes you more agile and improves body posture that is often spoilt by our constant slouching or sitting. Yoga stretch postures work the best.
From the expert
Thanks to information overload, most of us have views about our food and diet, which may be detrimental to our weight-loss plans. In fact, many of us tend to eat more of one type of food and deny our body some other type in the hope of losing weight fast.
But as celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar puts it in her book Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, “Diet is not starvation. A diet has to achieve much more than weight loss. Weight loss or rather fat loss is just one of the wonderful side eff ects of changing your lifestyle. Dieting that has only weight loss as its primary goal is a failure even before you go on it.” She says, instead of constantly monitoring your weight, concentrate on eating right and exercising to look toned and be fit.
RUJUTA’S FIVE RULES TO EATING RIGHT
1. All food are good when eaten in moderation
2. The best time to eat fruits is morning, the fi rst thing in the morning, in fact.
3. Don’t ever go on extreme diets, and do not compromise on exercise.
4. Be aware of your over-eating threshold. Eat slowly and mindfully, and your body will mark your threshold for you.
5. Drink water as you start your meal, eat with your hands and chew slowly.
(In arrangement with SMARTlife)