To eat or not to eat

Published On: November 4, 2016 12:15 PM NPT By: Republica

All of us are waging a war with our bodies. Some of us are trying to kill that body fat and gain muscle weight while others are trying to gain any kind of weight, regardless of whether it is fatty or muscular; just want to see that increase on the scale. We talked to Dr Praniti Singh, clinical and bariatric nutritionist, at Norvic International Hospital and have some tips that you might find useful. 

To gain weight 
There are two types of skinny people, ones who have a high metabolic rate and ones who are very fussy eaters. In any case, you need to increase the calorie count in every meal you eat. Tweak the simplest of meals to gain more calories.

For example, instead of just drinking a glass of milk, add honey, nuts, fruits, and yoghurt to make it into a smoothie. The same glass of milk now has more vitamins, minerals, and a higher calorie count. Focus on your food timing and make sure you eat and snack on calorie dense food such as peanuts, almonds, dried fruits etc every two to three hours.

If and when you work out, make sure you never work out on an empty stomach. Even if you are working out in the mornings, make sure you have a pre-workout meal. When you eat before working out, the body uses carbohydrates as the fuel source while working out and the body shifts towards a greater usage of fat post workout. Training intensely on an empty stomach will demand caloric expenditure that the body cannot fully meet, leading to diminished returns. 

To maintain weight
Praniti recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise for five days a week in order to keep your weight balanced. When eating out, opt for healthier options, instead of having butter naan maybe go for plain naan this time or have phaphar ko momo instead of the regular momos. Know how to maintain that balance between eating and exercising and add a lot of vegetables to your diet. Try not to eat oily food too much and have a regular pattern of food intake. If you feel like you will forget to eat according to your planned routine, set reminders on your phone and eat light snacks every two to three hours.

To lose weight
Most people think that starving themselves will result in weight loss. This is a myth and people need to realize it’s not true. When people starve themselves, the body, knowing that no other form of sustenance is coming, will store the energy as fat rather than burning it up right there resulting in a lowered metabolism rate and not as much weight loss as you would expect. 

Try and minimize the calories you take in. Take smaller portions and have small utensils to make yourself think you have eaten a whole plateful even if the plate is half of your usual serving portion. Eat small portions and eat every two to three hours to boost your metabolic rate.

For people who go through detoxes and go on a liquid diet, make sure you do not do it for an extended period of time. These methods of weight loss only target water weight that is quickly gained back when you begin eating normally again. 

For breakfast, you can have a bowl of cereal with milk, lunch with small portions of rice and vegetables and then snack on fruits and a handful of nuts or roasted chana or popcorn or puffed rice, which are all very low on calories.

In addition to following a proper diet, you should exercise regularly and drink lots of water. Water intake is directly proportional to weight loss. 

Tips for weight watchers 

•    Make sure your diet has enough fruits and vegetables. 

•    Add some flax seed (locally known as aalas) in your diet. It has omega 3 fatty acids, is high on fiber and is good for the heart and for weight loss. 

•    Incorporate green tea in your diet. It helps up your metabolic rate, which in turn helps with weight loss. 

•    Avoid anything with flour, processed food, and items that have added preservatives like packaged food. 

•    Avoid eating fried food like samosas, fries, and stick food that’s so popular these days. Almost all the places reuse oil to fry food that creates trans-fatty acids which is very bad for the heart. These are the stubborn fat that is very hard to get rid. 

•    Try to avoid all kinds of bakery items since they are all very high in fat content and do contain trans-fat too.

•    Be careful while buying low fat butters and margarines, they may say zero trans-fat but have hydrogenated vegetable oil in the ingredients that creates trans-fatty acids. Make sure you read the label and ingredients thoroughly before you buy anything.

•    If you are on a diet, try eating single polished, hand pounded rice or brown rice over the standard double polished white rice. The white rice is completely stripped of its bran layer and has no fibers and vitamins.

•    Half a leveled teaspoon (2 -2.5 grams) of salt intake is enough for a day. Salt helps to retain fluid so the more salt you can cut out of your life, the lesser water weight you have. 

•    Recent researches have shown that half to one leveled teaspoon of local ghee helps to mobilize the stubborn fats stored in your body.  

•    Recent studies have also shown that adding cinnamon to your diet aids your metabolism that in turn helps weight loss. 


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