When it comes to weight management, we know its importance, the vital role it plays in our life. But still, somehow we seem to ignore it repeatedly. We need to understand that weight management is not a chore that we do today and forget about it tomorrow. It is an ongoing process. An action that everyone needs to instill by persistent instructions so you can turn it into a habit.
We do not need to remind ourselves about the issues that we may face due to obesity. Using GD 2016 Data, The Institute for Health Metric and Evaluation at the University of Washington listed down the main causes of death. The major cause was listed as Heart disease.
For more than two decades, Heart disease has remained the leading cause of death. This is due to all the unhealthy diets which cause high blood pressure, building up of plaque inside the walls of arteries, obesity, lack of exercise or even smoking.
This is the reason why health, diet and weight management have been few of the most trending topics in the past few years.
We will split weight management into two major parts –
- Part 1 – Losing Excess Weight
- Part 2 – Maintaining The Lost Weight
Monitoring both these parts will help build a healthy lifestyle to improve your mental and physical being.
Part 1: Losing Excess Weight
Unlike popular belief, weight gain does not always mean high food consumption. It simply means an unhealthy way of consumption of the required nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Following will help you rethink the choices you made and might even persuade you to want to change for the better –
1.) Never Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It maintains your blood glucose levels and your metabolism.
The body uses a lot of energy stores for growth and repair through the night. Eating a balanced breakfast helps to up our energy, as well as protein and calcium used throughout the night.Sarah Elder, Renowned Dietician
2.) Regular Meals
Regulate your meals during the day. The ideal case would be dividing it into 4s – Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Dinner. Instead, you can divide your meals into sub-categories –
- Breakfast – First meal of the day which should be heavy and filling
- Elevenses – This is late in the morning Meal. It would be between the breakfast and lunch. It should not be something very heavy. Tea and biscuits, fruit, or even juice would suffice
- Lunch – Mid-meal of the day usually consumed around noon
- Snacks – A light early – evening meal which would consist of a sandwich, cake, tea/coffee and biscuits. Etc.
- Dinner – It is the last meal of the day. Kindly note it is not wise to have a heavy dinner. It will take a while to digest. Sleeping before the completion of the digestion process would disturb the process.
Quote to Remember –
Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.Adelle Davis, Renowned Dietician
3.) Avoid Fast Foods
Anything in excess is never good. Fast foods contain a large number of nitrates, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, additives and preservatives. Find a healthy alternative to consuming fast food and you will expedite the process of weight loss to a very high degree.
4.) Staying Hungry Is Never a Solution
The most common technique among people for weight loss is to avoid intake of food and high exercise. What we do not realize is that even so, it is very unlikely that you may experience any weight loss. When our body is working out, it needs to metabolize, which would require more fuel.
Avoiding food intake can cause an opposite reaction. Our metabolism slows down and we are no longer losing weight even after our regular exercises.
5.) Divide your Food-Plate as Per the Nutritional Components
The Eatwell plate is a guide prepared by the Food Standards Agency to understand what foods are to be consumed and at what proportions for a healthy and balanced diet.
According to the Eatwell plate, the following proportions are to be followed while setting up your daily meal –
- Fruits and Vegetables – 39%
- Starchy Carbohydrates – Bread, Cereals, Potato and Alternative Products – 37%
- Fatty and Sugary – Oils, Chocolates, Soft Drinks, Cakes and Alternative Products – 4%
- Dairy – Milk and Dairy Products – 8%
- Proteins – Meat, fish and Alternative Products – 12%
- Hydration – 6-8 glasses daily
6.) Exercise Daily
Regular Exercise helps with the metabolism which assists in effective weight loss. It helps in maintaining strong muscles, builds bone density, increases energy levels, reduces the risk of chronic disease, stimulates blood flow.
It increases brain health and memory and also helps with sleep and relaxation among others.
Part 2: Maintaining The Lost Weight
As mentioned before, weight management needs more than a healthy diet plan. You need to implant a healthy mentality and together they make a healthy lifestyle.
1.) Build the Mindset
To ensure a proper course of action for any decision you make, you have to prepare your mind for it. Know what is it that you want and prepare your mind for the same. Building a routine needs hard-work and self-discipline and your body will only work if your mind is ready to do so.
2.) Create or Modify Habits
Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit, mentioned that Habit consists of 3 components – Cue, Routine and Reward. He says, In our subconscious mind, we tend to latch on to a cue which we associate to a particular routine or the behaviour in anticipation of the reward.
For example, let’s say you have a habit of eating a cake every time you enter your office cafe during snacks time. So here, the routine is the part where you buy the cake and eat it during the snack time. But what is your cue? It could be the smell of cake, feeling of hunger or simple boredom. Your reward here could be the feeling of your stomach being full, sweetness in your mouth or plain and simple – the passage of time.
Knowing your cue and reward are very important to control your habit. If your cue is the feeling of hunger, ensure you order a biscuit along with your tea or coffee. If its boredom then every time you go to the cafe request a friend to tag along so you don’t have to give in to the temptation of having the cake.
Understanding the cue and the reward will not only help you modify a habit but also help you create a new one. Just set a cue for yourself, associate a routine to it and reward yourself accordingly.
3.) Keep Temptations Out
Analyzing your habits will help you know what are your weakness and your temptations. Make a note of all your weakness and temptations and keep them at bay.
4.) Pre-plan Your Meals
Considering the Eatwell plate, pre-plan your meals for the day. If you do not prepare your own meals and instead order in, it would be best if you set the meal for the week. For example – On Monday – Rice & Curry, On Tuesday – Chicken dish, Wednesday – Fish and so on. This will not only save you time but also keep you in the routine and you would have no reason to fall astray.
5.) Don’t Quit
No process can yield the desired results without consistency and there is no other shortcut to achieving it. You need to put in your hard work regularly to have the desired results. So giving up the routine is never an option. As they say, When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.
6.) Monitor Your Actions and Results
You need to keep a track of all the activities that you are undertaking, calories you are burning, your daily exercise, your weight loss/gain on daily basis. You also need to be aware of how long time during the day are you not exactly performing any activity and during which time period. What time during the day do you feel the hungry?
Keep a tracker that can help you organize and monitor all the results on daily basis. This would help you to analyze and revise your diet plan accordingly.
7.) Compliment, Encourage and Foster
This process is a hard one and in order to sustain it, you need to encourage yourself to move forward. Compliment yourself for even the smallest progress. Make sure you foster the routine in you. This will ease up the process and will always persuade you to move forward with the same.
Do not compare your progress with anyone else’s. Each body is built different and so the process to follow and the progress you see may be different for every individual. Comparing your progress may do more harm than good. It may end up discouraging you and overpower the mindset that you had previously built.
Associating an action with a reward can encourage you to follow your set routine. This will nurture it into a very effective habit.
8.) Express Gratitude
Respect the meal set on your table. Take time to observe, smell the food. Be thankful for the meal that you are about to feast on. This keeps all the negative thoughts and rituals out of your mind. It is a very small step but it goes a very long way.