11 secrets of successful weight loss
Most people initiate a weight loss mission at some point of their lives. There are some who soon get the svelte figure that evokes envy. And then there are those who never manage to get back into their old jeans.
What is it that distinguishes these two groups? Is it simply a matter of who stuck better to their diet and exercise plan?
Top dieticians and fitness experts feel that even the most strong-willed people find it difficult to adhere to diet plans in the long run. They say that the real challenge is to make calorie control and fitness easy.
Click on NEXT for the ten best weight loss secrets...
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1. Cut calories, not flavour
We subconsciously tend to believe that low calorie means boring and bland. That's absolutely not true.
Rather than forcing down foods prescribed by your dietician, spend time to figure out low calorie nutritious recipes that you will relish.
Stock up on your favourite fruits and veggies. Spice up your salad imaginatively. Your low calorie recipe book may be your best friend on the road to weight loss. Once you begin to enjoy your diet, sticking to it won't be an issue.
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2. Figure out a fun workout
Being sincere with your fitness plan should not be a test of your will power. You must like whatever activity you choose to do and look forward to it.
An exercise partner can make things more fun for you. Maybe listening to music will make the treadmill more enjoyable.
If going to the gym feels like an ordeal, try playing tennis with a friend. Try different activities till you figure out something that doesn't feel like a burden.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
3. Practice mindful eating
The art of mindful eating is the art of feeling content with far fewer calories! Now isn't that worth doing any day. And trust us it is no complicated asana that we are talking about.
It simply means eating slowly, and only eating while you eat (no watching TV, no newspaper, and no phone calls). Savouring every bite will leave you more satisfied with a smaller portion.
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4. Pack protein in meals
A protein rich diet is great for you in more ways than one.
First of all it's a vital nutrient that keeps your muscles, hair and skin in good order so that you don't look shrivelled as you lose weight.
Secondly, proteins take time to digest so you keep feeling full for longer. Grilled lean meat, beans, pulses, low fat yogurt should be a part of a healthy weight loss diet.
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5. Is it hunger or thirst?
Whenever you have a craving to snack, drink a couple of glasses of water. There is a good chance that your urge to eat will subside.
Even if you do end up snacking, you will feel satisfied with a much smaller portion as your tummy will already be feeling full with all the water. Staying well hydrated in general also helps keep food craving at bay.
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6. Light meals, healthy snacks
Instead of taking your day's calories in three heavy meals, break it up into three light meals and two snacks.
This approach has two important advantages. One, it keeps your metabolism up which effectively means more calories burnt. Secondly, it allows you to snack without exceeding your daily calorie budget.
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7. Have low fat dairy
Low fat milk and yogurt has about half the calories as its full fat version. Instead of avoiding dairy altogether switch to the low fat variety.
Doing this helps you keep up your calcium and protein intake while on a low calorie diet. It also makes your meals more satisfying so that you don't feel the urge to snack during the day.
Moreover, yogurt can be used as a dressing in place of cream and cheese without compromising too much on the taste.
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8. Big breakfast, small dinner
Breakfast is the day's most important meal. A good breakfast kick starts your metabolism and curbs the urge to overeat during the day.
All those who have successfully lost weight swear by the importance of having breakfast. Dinner should ideally be a light affair, comprising mainly of soup and salad as you don't need too many calories while you snooze.
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9. Learn to gauge calories
If you intend to eat healthy throughout your life, you need to learn the skill of quickly assessing calorie content of food.
Paste a calorie chart of common food items where you see it frequently. Once you know these well you will be able to make rough estimates for other food items by comparison.
It is not feasible to absolutely avoid eating foods whose calorie content you are not sure of, but if you have a good idea of the likely calorie content you can make better choices.
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10. Don't give up favourite foods!
Weight loss does not require you to give up all your favourite foods. In fact such an approach is counterproductive because it makes you hate your diet plan.
Instead of forbidding all favourites, allow controlled portions once or twice a week. Keep your total calorie intake in check by cutting on other foods or exercising more.
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11. Click and compare
Break down your weight loss goal into smaller targets. Click pictures of yourself as you meet each target and compare it with your previous image.
Pictures capture the fine changes in physique that our eyes may miss. Few things can be as motivating as seeing yourself shape up and look more attractive!
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera