I lost 7 kgs in the last five months, and this is when I wasn’t even actively trying to lose weight (for the most part, at least). What finally led me to pay attention to my health was a spell of illnesses and injuries.
Weight loss was not an objective, the objective was to stop falling sick, get stronger and feel better about myself physically. It simply became an added bonus.
In terms of BMI, if you’re below 18.5 or over 24.9 you’re under or over-weight respectively. My BMI was a neat 23 which meant that technically I wasn’t over-weight. However, I was quite unhealthy and unfit, as pointed out by my regular bouts of illness.
Here’s how you can calculate your BMI:
1. First Step - Cut Down Junk
Junk food primarily meant saturated fats, artificial sugar and carbonated drinks for me. It was only when I decided to eliminate it completely from my diet that I realised how much of it I was eating.
If you’re at a stage when you’re piling on kilos without realising where it’s coming from, it could be a good idea to pay close attention to what you’re eating on a daily basis.
I also said no to food from outside which implied a significant lifestyle change. The complete dependence on home-cooked food for a millennial like me who lives away from home is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when trying to eat clean. Fried chole-bhature were replaced by home-made chicken salads. Evening snacks were replaced by salted peanuts. And never skipping breakfast became a cardinal rule.
Once a week, I would allow myself a cheat day when I would eat everything I denied myself during the week.
2. Brace Yourself For Mood Swings
The first week of any diet is the hardest, and I could not have agreed with it more. My mood swings were out of the roof, I snapped on every little thing. I missed all the masala and fried food I’d gotten used to. Clean eating just didn’t seem worth it. Also, since I had not started exercising yet, even at the end of month, there were hardly any visible changes in my body.
Internally, however, I felt much better. Day-time fatigue was gradually disappearing from my life, energy levels were shooting up. Another thing that happened, and I don’t think I can ever come back from this, is being hyper-aware of everything I consume. So, chips (once a most loved delicacy) and processed foods began disappearing even from cheat days.
The first step is to start the day right. Kavita Devgan, nutritionist, recommends protein and carbohydrates as the ideal breakfast combination. It’s also important to include fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and good fat, poultry and fish, or vegetarian alternatives, along with lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.
For snacking between meal-times, here are some options:
Black chickpeas or kaala chana is a rich source of protein, especially for vegetarians, who may not be consuming many protein-rich food items. Additionally, the soup is great way of keeping yourself hydrated in the hot summer months, suggests Kavita.
Makhaana or fox nuts are a very good source of Vitamin A and are great for the eyes. Simply frying them in ghee along with salt and pepper is a great way of keeping the body full and avoiding binging on oily and fried snacks.
All forms of nuts are great for health, advises Kavita. Simply mixing them together, along with some cranberries, makes for a great snack you can carry with you.
3. Exercise - the Elixir of Youth (Well, Almost)
Regular, proper exercise is perhaps one of the best things you can do to your body. Even though I had practised Yoga infrequently for the better part of my life, I finally attempted to become more regular with it.
I didn’t entirely succeed, but it was sufficient to address various bodily problems that the bad posture of a sedentary lifestyle had caused.
Yoga helps me stay calm as well. Since my concern wasn’t primarily weight loss, I did not experiment too much with other forms of exercise.
In case you want to drop weight quickly, along with building stamina and strength, a good idea is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. This kind of workout employs high-intense cardio and strength over a short period of time to burn more calories.
Being fit, at the end of the day, is simply about eating clean and keeping your body moving. There really isn’t anything more to it. It is also a lifestyle choice which is worth every bit of it. So, bring out those trainers and ditch that glass of sugar-filled aerated drink for a bowl of fruits. Happy being fit!
Have any fitness stories to share with us? Leave them in the comments section below.
Camera: Abhay Sharma, Athar Rather, Abhishek Ranjan
Editing and Graphics: Kunal Mehra
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