Well… Not really! That was just a bit of clickbait 🙂 No one really loses serious weight without paying attention to their diet and exercise. But there are also a whole bunch of other nifty tips that no one seems to speak about. So here is a compilation, especially for those who are already eating right and exercising but still can’t see good results.
- Truly enjoy your food, and give it your complete attention
Yep, you heard me right! It’s the exact opposite of “avoid food”. Treat your food with respect and give it your full attention while eating. Food is a sensual experience between you and your mouth. But far too many of us have gotten used to shoveling food into our mouths mindlessly, while watching TV, surfing the net, talking or reading a book. Try treating the experience of eating as a sacred act. Eat slowly, chewing and savoring every bite in your mouth. Not only will you experience the joy of undiscovered tastes, you will eat smaller portions and digest the food better. Just ensure you are doing nothing else while eating, and give it your full attention.
- Eat only when you feel hungry
Many of our eating habits are acquired from historic human lifestyles. Carb rich food, eaten 3 to 4 times a day was required when people did a lot of manual work. Now it works perfectly fine if you eat small portions as and when you feel hungry, as often as you like. It’s good to let your body tell you when it needs nourishment. But the operative word is small, and eating when you feel hungry. Not when you feel bored! By letting your body actually feel hunger, you promote balanced production of Leptin (not hungry) and ghrelin (hungry) hormones.
- Time your last meal for the day
This is a common one. Eat your last meal for the day 2 to 3 hours before you go to sleep. Ignore the slight hunger pang before bedtime (it’s just a habit). If you must, allow yourself a soup or drink of some kind. You’ll find yourself sleeping better and waking up lighter!
- Cut out the white poison
If you can do only one thing, please do this. Cut out refined sugar (and artificial sweeteners) completely. This stuff plays havoc with your endocrine system and is just pure bad. If you simply cannot do without some sweetening in one morning cuppa (like me), then a spoon of powdered jaggery or honey is your best bet. But don’t go overboard with it pls 🙂
- Meditation & breathing (for adrenal body types)
Ever experienced that frustrating feeling when you’re exercising and eating right, only to find it does not make a whit of difference to the weighing scale? It could be because you’re an “adrenal body type”. That is, someone who is generally anxious about life or leading a stressful lifestyle. This causes your adrenal glands to become hyperactive, leading to high levels of cortisol in your system. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone that puts you on alert for danger. Sustained high levels of Cortisol in the system causes your body to start accumulating fat for the coming danger. It typically stores it around your midriff and makes it stay there, no matter how much you exercise. It also does a lot of other nasty stuff to your body in the long run, and can’t be medicated away. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, pranayama and meditation are the only long term cures. Tulsi extract (available from Himalaya) is also considered beneficial. Here is a video on adrenal body types, for those who want more information
- Switch your diet style (dare I say ketogenic?)
While not advocating hard core ketogenic diets that have got a bad rap courtesy the Atkins diet, it is a fact that most Indian diets are heavily weighted in favor of carbohydrates. Now that was fine when we were working in the fields. But it really does not need fast burn energy from carbs to punch the keyboard. Adjusting our diet so that carbs form only 10-20% of our diet, vegetables 50-60% and the rest protein and fat works much better for some, rather than eating tons of rice or wheat. Try interchanging your proportions of vegetables to rice/roti, to begin with. Put simply, have a small katori of rice with lot of veggies and dal. Lower carbs start encouraging your body to burn energy from fat and not just sugar. But stay away from any extreme versions (*disclaimer). One example is that if it screams “zero carbs” I would be skeptical.
- Get more fiber
Modern diets are often deficient in soluble fiber which is essential for our digestive system. Isabgol is a natural wonder waiting for the western world to discover it, repackage it and sell it back to us at insane prices! Another option for south Indian cuisine is to start adding Quaker oats to your idly & dosa batter. Works wonderfully.
- Learning to breathe before learning to exercise
Many of us have trained ourselves to breathe wrong over time. The most common mistake being breathing primarily from the upper chest area. You are likely to see better results from brisk walking while breathing deeply from your lower abdomen, than from jogging with shallow breathing. Often it is difficult to concentrate on breathing and running at the same time. So you may want to just walk and get the breathing cadence right first.
So that’s about it… happy slimming! Of course, you could also get all hi-tech and get yourself a full DNA profiling, based on which you can predict how different foods, exercise and lifestyle impact you. But if that seems a little over the top, then the above tips should help 🙂