1. Drink plenty of water — People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger, so you can end up eating extra calories when a glass of water is really all you needed. If you want some flavour, then try it with some lemon water or brewing a cup of fruit-infused herbal tea. How much? — You should aim for one glass every hour which is approximately 3-4 litres a day.
2. Have an early dinner — You should eat 2-3 hours before you sleep. Eating and then sleeping immediately is not good for digestion. A full stomach will also give you a disturbed sleep.
3. Enjoy your favourite foods — You should not deny yourself anything, but learn how to eat little of the high calorie foods you may like. Buy one fresh piece of cake and savour it, have a small portion of chocolate instead of the whole bar or box. You can still enjoy your favourite foods — the key is moderation.
4. Eat protein at every meal — Protein fills you up, is more satisfying than carbs or fats, and keeps you feeling full for longer. It also helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. Make sure its healthy protein like seafood, lean chicken, eggs, yogurt, cheese, soy, nuts, or beans, sprouts, and dals — all prepared in a healthy way.
5. Prepare healthy convenient foods that are easily accessible — A little of bit of planning goes a long way. Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes on hand sets you up for success. You will be less likely to go and get vada-pav, chaat, pizza or Maggi if you know you have something ready at home. A few thing to keep in stock are frozen peas, eggs, whole grain toast, whole-grain pasta, reduced-fat cheese, tomatoes, dal and rice. There are no vegetables in this meal but it is better than eating oily foods from restaurants. Buy veggies and fruits twice a week and use them!
6. Reduce the pasta and other carbs and add more vegetables — By eating less pasta, bread, rice and potatoes and replacing them with veggies you will lose some weight — you are saving from 100-200 calories from the switch at each meal.
7. Never skip breakfast — You may think you are saving calories by not eating breakfast but you will make up for them later in the day. Studies show not eating breakfast can make you hungry later, leading to too much snacking and binge eating at lunch and dinner. To lose weight and keep it off — always make time for a healthy morning meal, like oatmeal, eggs, poha, upma, fruit, idli, dosas — preferably homemade. For the non protein foods add a few nuts, dahi, and low fat milk to the meal.
8. Reduce temptation at home — If you have namkeen in the pantry and ice cream in the freezer, you’re making weight loss harder than it has to be. Eliminate temptation by clearing the cupboards of fattening foods. Have treats occasionally. This may be difficult if you have children that need snacks — but do they need namkeen and ice-cream and other unhealthy snacks? The whole family can learn to snack smart.
9. Be patient — Weight loss is hard work and maintaining the loss is just as hard. Those who lose weight slower are most likely to keep it off. Dropping pounds takes time, just like gaining them did. Don’t get discouraged. Set a realistic weight loss goal of about 2 kilos a month. If you set your expectations too high, you may give up when you don’t lose weight fast enough. You actually begin to start seeing health benefits when you’ve lost just 5%-10% of your body weight.
10. Get enough sleep — Do you eat more when you are sleep deprived? Here’s why — when you do not get enough sleep your body overproduces the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin but under-produces the hormone leptin, which tells you when you’re full. Getting enough sleep may make you feel rested and full, and keeps you from doing unnecessary bingeing.
11. Know your portions — To understand portion sizes, use a kitchen scale and measuring cups to measure your meals for a week or two. Use smaller plates and glasses to downsize your portions and split restaurant servings in half, making two meals out of one big one. Portion out snack servings instead of eating them directly from the container.
12. Eat slowly — Just remember it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to feel that it is full. The food is in front of you and we tend to take more of everything. The French and Italians eat their meals over hours and yet do not gain weight because they don’t gobble their food but savour every bite.
13. Eat more fruits and vegetables — This nature’s bounty can satisfy both your sweet and salty cravings. If you eat more fruits and vegetables, you will feel less hungry because these nutrient-rich foods are also high in fiber and water, which can give you a feeling of fullness. Fruits and veggies should be your go-to snacks.
14. Have alcohol only on the weekends — In addition to containing empty calories( a glass of wine has 125, a bottle of beer about 150), alcohol affects your metabolism. Alcohol does not use the calories well, usually converting them into fat. Having a drink on the weekend is a compromise.
15. Keep a food diary — You need to write down what you eat and drink. Studies show that writing down what you eat and drink tends to make you more aware of what, when, and how much you’re consuming, leading you to ultimately take in fewer calories. One study found that people who kept a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much as those who only kept a diary one day a week or less.
16. Don’t use food as a way to celebrate — In our culture we celebrate everything with food — we give distribute pedas for achievements, have dinners for occasions, etc. You may not be able to change some cultural norms but you can reward yourself personally in other ways. When you get that promotion, or lose 3 kilos and want to celebrate, then you can do something non-food based. In fact rewarding weight loss success really can encourage more success. Buy a book, go to a movie, get a massage. Don’t celebrate with a cake and ice-cream!
17. Get help from family and friends — Getting support can help you reach your weight loss goals and lead a healthier lifestyle. When you feel like giving up, they’ll help you, cheer you on and make the process whole a lot easier.