KATHMANDU, Dec 7: Sticking to a conventional diet and exercise plan can be difficult, and it is especially difficult during the winter months when you don’t want to get out of bed and head to the gym. Eating right is also difficult during the cold season as your body craves carb-rich food and copious amounts of coffee (often with a generous heaping of sugar). Without a proper exercise regime and no strict diet plan, one will no doubt emerge from winter a few too many kilos heavier than before the cold kicked in.
This winter, I have been a really lazy girl. I haven’t exercised and I haven’t been eating well, often gorging on pizza, sizzlers, and piping hot jhol momos. But believe me, I haven’t really gained weight. There have occasionally been fluctuations of a kilo or two but I’ve lost it very easily. I have found that it’s not really that hard to maintain your weight or even lose a few kilos if you make some lifestyle changes. And you won’t even have to wake up super early to exercise or deprive yourself of all the comfort food your body seems to crave for during this season.
Here I’m going to share my top three lazy person hacks for this winter to make sure you don’t gain weight despite not picking up a single dumbbell, running on the treadmill, or eating all the right ‘food’ like vegetables and fruits (though you should be doing that for health reasons).
First up, schedule a time slot to eat
Intermittent fasting (commonly called IF) is one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends right now. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health as well as simplify their lifestyles. Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and might even help you live longer. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating. It’s not a diet in the conventional sense but it’s actually an eating pattern since you aren’t restricted any foods but your time period to eat is shortened. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice a week.
I follow the 16:8 pattern which means I fast for 16 hours in a period of 24 hours and eat for eight hours. My first meal of the day is after noon, usually around 1:00 pm, and I make sure I eat my last meal before 8:00 pm in the evening. Reducing your calorie intake by shortening the window in which you eat will lead to weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.
IF has worked wonders for me and since I have started weighing myself daily or at least every alternate day, I can see the difference in the scale when I’m on IF as opposed to days I’m not. I find that even when I gorge on pizzas and sizzlers during my eight-hour eating period, I don’t gain weight. That’s not to say you should all feast on junk food during your eating period. I try to eat healthy most of the times, sticking to soup and lentils with vegetables, but even when I falter I’m not consumed by guilt and I seem to burn calories much more easily.
Drink hot lemon with honey, water, and green tea
I start my mornings with a tall glass of hot lemon with honey and then follow it up with another glass of lukewarm water. This not only helps warm my body from the inside but also curbs those nasty hunger pangs you get when you wake up, making you want to munch on some cookies or patties. Then I make sure I sip on green tea throughout the day. I have at least four to five cups of green tea every day. If regular green tea doesn’t appeal to you, you can try the flavored ones. From mint and chamomile to ginger and jasmine, the choices are aplenty.
I always carry some sachets of green tea in my bag and, when I’m at work, just fill my mug with hot water and dip in a tea bag. Green tea also helps keep hunger at bay and by drinking a few cups of it you are making sure that you keep yourself hydrated as well. I find green tea works wonders on the skin too which is an added bonus. My skin is quite prone to breakouts and green tea helps keep that in check.
I also make it a point to drink at least a glass of water before every meal. This keeps me from overeating and I have found that, over time, my portion size has significantly decreased.
Eat when you are hungry
Don’t eat because you are watching TV. Don’t eat because you are bored. Don’t eat because it’s cold and you are basking in the sun and you just want to munch on something. Mindless eating leads to weight gain. Remind yourself that you don’t need that food. Instead, eat when you are hungry. Sit down at the table. Focus on the food before you and chew slowly.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait till you are starving. Quite the opposite, actually. You should eat when you feel like you could use a meal but aren’t so famished that you can’t wait half an hour or so. Also, make it a habit to keep some snacks in your bag – like a couple of wedges of cheese and a handful of nuts – and munch on these when you are craving something to eat. Intense hunger makes it difficult to choose food wisely and you are more likely to indulge in fast food. So never wait till your stomach is rumbling.