While most of us didn’t think that we can ever become fat in our childhood or teenage years, many of us are now struggling to keep the waistline under control. Are you one of those who are desperately trying to lose weight? Well, I too was in the same boat a few months back. I have spent days researching on how to lose weight effectively. Weight loss is something on which you will find millions of articles that explain hundreds of ways of losing weight. However, you need to understand which of the ways suit you.
There’s one thing that I realized during the process of weight loss. Exercise along with maintaining proper food habit (yes, I intentionally avoided using the word DIET!!) is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and stay in shape. So, without blabbering any more, let’s focus on the best way to get rid of those extra pounds.
Why do you need to lose weight?
The first thing that I would like to talk about is the necessity to lose weight. And yes, I am talking about more than just fitting in your old clothes. I am talking about serious health issues that creep in with you being overweight.
Diseases like osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems and many other health issues are triggered by obesity. You may have been fighting with indigestion, loss of sleep without even realizing that these problems are caused because you are overweight. So, losing weight is necessary for you to stay healthy. On top of it, you look and feel sexy and confident as well.
What should you keep in mind before losing weight?
Have you made up your mind about losing weight? If yes, you need to keep in mind a couple of things. The first thing that you must remember is what I already mentioned. Losing weight successfully is possible only when you maintain a healthy food habit and follow a workout routine.
Secondly, weight loss is not a target, it’s a journey (I know it’s a cliché, but it’s a fact). You may get yourself enrolled in a gym and you may start following a strict diet plan. You may even start seeing results within a month or two.
However, as soon as you see that your weight is going down, you may start deviating from your workout and a cutting diet plan. The result? You are back to square one. So, instead of treating your weight loss plan as a destination that you have to reach, treat it as a journey.
There’s a reason that I avoided the word diet before. The word ‘diet’ is often associated with depriving yourself from necessary nutrients and tasty food. And let me tell you, it can’t be more wrong. Diet is a proper food habit that you must maintain whether you are overweight or not.
Instead of cutting down on important nutrients, you better reduce the portions. Instead of completely stopping eating out, you should reduce the number of times you visit a restaurant. Moreover, no matter what you eat, remember to count the calories.
Now that we have let the important factors out of the way, it’s time to move on to taking a look at how I lost my weight and you can too.
How to lose weight?
As I mentioned before, I followed a workout routine and I followed a healthy food habit that helped me to lose my excess weight. I will break down the exercises that I followed. And also give you a guide to choose healthy food.
The first step to kick-start your metabolism is to start cardio exercise. The most well-known and effective cardio is running. However, when you are just starting, I would recommend you start with brisk walking. Gradually, as you get used to it, you can start slow jogging and then increase the intensity of your jog.
If you are hitting the gym, start walking on treadmill. It’s best to take advice from your trainer whenever using any equipment. Apart from walking and running, you can cycle, swim and use cross trainer for more intense cardio workout.
Now, while cardio is a very good exercise, you need more concentrated exercise for your legs, abs, glutes, hands, every part of your body basically. Now, let me tell you one thing. There’s nothing called ‘spot fat reduction’. While you can tone the muscles of your certain body parts, the fat that you have in those areas will reduce as your body starts to burn the fat.
I wouldn’t deny that the first few days will be difficult. You will run out of breath, you will feel tired and most importantly, you will feel hungry. But that shouldn’t move away you from your goal.
- Strength training:
Once you get used to the regular drill, it’s time to include some strength training. Strength training is when you use resistance so that your muscles contract to support you. When you push your muscles to lift heavy weight, they contract, which causes microscopic tears in your muscle. It doesn’t make sense to cause tear in your muscles, right? WRONG.
Whenever your muscles are torn, your body works on it to make it stronger. As a result, you’ll see that it becomes easier to lift the same weight after a few weeks of training. Now, the question is how does this help you burn fat and lose weight?
Let me explain it easily. As I mentioned, your body heals the torn muscles and make them stronger. The process not only strengthens your body but also increases the lean mass ratio in your body. The more lean mass your body has, the more calories you will burn through exercise. The more calories you burn, the more energy your body will need. That is when it will start burning the accumulated fat.
Even when you are resting after exercise, your body will keep repairing the muscles and hence, will keep burning fat. Cardio is good for you to build your stamina and give you a head start towards losing weight. But your body burns fat only during a cardio session when you are following only that kind of exercise. So, it is important that you need to include weight training in your workout routine. If you are working out 6-days a week, I would suggest you follow three days of cardio and three days of weight training.
- Sculpting exercise:
Each of us has different body shapes. And when we gather fat around our body, sadly, it doesn’t look good. You may start losing weight with the help of cardio and strength training. But your body may lack the firmness and the shape that you aim for. To give your body the shape that it lacks, you need to include some sculpting exercises as well. Cardio exercise will help you to shed the excess fat, strength training will strengthen your muscles and the sculpting exercises will tone your body. Besides, sculpting exercise also improves your posture, which aids in added health benefits.
Lunges, plank, squat, dead bug, low-impact skater, side plank, single-leg glute-bridge, mountain climber etc. are some of the sculpting exercises that you can try even at home.
What diet to follow?
Exercise alone cannot help you to lose weight. If you keep devouring the cheesy pizzas, indulge in the creamy pastas and finish your platter with those chocolaty pastries, you need to stop right now. There’s no way you can lose weight until you stop eating the unhealthy food items.
However, it doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself to lose weight. The idea is to provide your body the right nutrition that it needs. Instead of piling up on carb, which accumulates as fat if you don’t burn it, fill your stomach with healthy options. You must remember that your weight loss largely depends on what kind of food you’re having. If you lower the amount of carb in your food and increase the fat protein efficient food ratio, you will see faster results.
You must remember that the food habit you follow is not something that you can abandon when you start losing weight or you achieve your weight loss target. You should follow the food habit to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So, here are a few diet plans that you may follow. You may make changes in these cutting diet plans. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t compromise with the calorie intake when making certain changes.
I am giving a breakdown of three meals per day.
- Breakfast: Take 3/4th cup of either corn flakes or bran flakes and combine it with a cup of low-fat milk. Add a handful of almonds or a medium banana.
If you are non-vegetarian, you can have omelet made from two eggs. Add different types of vegetables to make sure that you feel fuller for longer. Use butter or coconut oil to prepare the omelet.
- Lunch: You may have 11/2 cup of full-fat yoghurt along with some blueberries or strawberries or even raspberries. If you’re an office-goer, you can take dried berries as well. You may add a handful of walnuts to make it tastier.
For non-vegetarian people, you may pack a sandwich for your lunch. Use chicken or turkey breast along with some roasted pepper and some iceberg lettuce. You may add just a tad bit of mayo or you may skip it. Instead of using white bread, use pita bread that is made from whole wheat.
- Dinner: As your dinner should be the lightest of all the meals, take something that is easily digestible. Also make sure to check the amount that you eat.
A simple dinner recipe for vegetarians is to prepare a tempeh sandwich and have it with coleslaw.
For non-vegetarians, a tuna salad is sufficient for dinner.
- Breakfast: Prepare a tasty smoothie combining ½ a banana, a cup of berries with a cup of low-fat milk. You can also replace the milk with low-fat yoghurt. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top of the smoothie to give it a mild nutty flavor.
Non-vegetarians can have some scrambled eggs with mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, and baby tomatoes. You may have a cup of milk along as well.
- Lunch: You can have some boiled vegetables with a veg burger made with multigrain bread. Or, you may have vegetable soup with multigrain bread toast. Add ½ teaspoon of butter in the soup to make it rich and intense. You can have half a cup of blueberries post lunch.
Those of you who are non-vegetarian can have grilled chicken breast along with some vegetables and boiled corn. Avoid having mashed potato with the chicken.
- Dinner: Have a wrap that is made with lots of veggies and hummus.
Have a piece of boiled salmon with some vegetables.
Either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, you may have a cup of warm milk after the meal.
- Breakfast: Have 11/2 cups of Greek yoghurt with a handful of frozen berries, almonds and chia seeds.
Have a wholegrain sandwich with boiled eggs, bacon and veggies.
- Lunch: Have a bowl of brown rice burrito with veggies, an avocado and salsa sauce.
Have a grilled fish taco or a bowl of Greek salad. If you want to experiment, you can go for sushi as well.
- Dinner: Bake a small eggplant with parmesan cheese. You may also bake beetroot to give your dish a better taste. Have the baked vegies with come pine nuts and spring greens salad.
Make chicken salad with shredded roasted chicken. Add a tablespoon of full-fat yoghurt, half a teaspoon of mayonnaise, some roasted almonds and some red grapes, preferably sliced.
- Breakfast: Take half a cup of rolled oats and dry fry them over medium heat. Add a cup of warm soy milk in it. Have it with one sliced apple. If you want your oats to be sweet, you may add one tablespoon of honey.
Non-veg people can try out having two hard boiled eggs with a banana and a cup of green tea.
- Lunch: If you’re at home, stir a cup of tasty yummy tomato soup. Have it with lots of vegies to make it wholesome. Or else, you may pack a pita bread sandwich loaded with humus, shredded baby carrots, tomato slices, zucchini and bell pepper.
You may have beef steak along with some veggies. However, make sure that you keep the amount of beef in check.
- Dinner: you can either prepare a tofu banh mi bowl or a tofu banh mi sandwich with marinated tofu, cilantro, cucumber, peanuts and pickled vegetables.
Have a piece of poached salmon with some coleslaw. Pair it up with ½ cup of quinoa.
- Breakfast: Toast two slices of whole wheat bread. Have it with one avocado and half cup of grated carrots. Have an apple subsequently.
For non-vegetarian recipe, you can add some boiled and shredded chicken and skip the apple.
- Lunch: You can create a pita pocket with marinated tofu and pair it up with some Greek salad.
To make the recipe non-vegetarian-friendly, you can replace the marinated tofu with some grilled chicken.
- Dinner: Prepare some zucchini noodles. Have it with sautéed mushroom and vegan meatballs.
Again, non-vegetarians can have the same dish by replacing vegan meatballs with pork meatballs.
- Breakfast: What can be more delicious than a multigrain frozen waffle topped with nuts, banana and the choice of your nut butter? I like mine with hazelnut butter. You can have ½ cup of raspberries or blueberries and a cup of warm low-fat milk along with the waffle
You can have two poached eggs with two slices of multigrain bread. Have a cup of fresh pomegranate and orange juice with this.
- Lunch: Prepare a satisfying and filling lentil salad along with feta cheese, baby tomatoes, carrots, and cilantro. Add a dollop of mint yoghurt for added flavor.
You can make tuna salad as well. Add one cucumber, an onion, one tablespoon of mayo and a bit of mustard. You can add one or two tablespoons of Greek yoghurt. You can have it with some baby carrots.
- Dinner: Grill some garden vegetables and have it with traditional pesto.
Non-vegetarians may have some grilled chicken with some grilled pepper and some grilled baby tomatoes.
- Breakfast: You can make a hash of sweet potato and kale. You can have it with 1 piece of toasted multigrain bread and avocado.
On the other hand, you can go for one boiled egg and bacon to top the toasted bread. In either case, you can have a grapefruit afterwards.
- Lunch: Let’s make the Sunday lunch yummy with some black bean salad. Toss half a cup of black beans with some onions, veggies and sweet corn. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar. You can add tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and even grapes in the salad to make it nourishing.
If you can’t live without non-veg, add grilled tuna or shredded chicken in the salad. In that case, it is good to avoid adding grapes.
- Dinner: Prepare chickpea patties using sautéed mushroom, and cauliflower. You can also add some sautéed broccolis in the dish.
Non-vegetarian dieters can have grilled beef steak with 1 cup of steamed broccoli and half a cup of berries.
This is not an inclusive diet chart. I shared with you what I would have to ensure that I am having a fat protein efficient diet instead of carb-heavy diet. It is best to check with a dietician to know what diet plan you should follow depending on your lifestyle, eating habit etc.
Besides, this plan doesn’t include any snack as you can see. You can include nuts, fresh fruits, dried berries, yoghurt, and even moderate amount of dark chocolate as snacks. However, this is also something that will depend on what you eat normally, if you’re allergic to any particular food, where you live and other factors.
Intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight, regulate weight and also to keep other diseases at bay. Now, the obvious question is what is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting is when you fast for a few hours once or twice or even more a week. There are different types of intermittent fasting. But we will discuss that on a later post.
However, what you must remember and understand for now is that intermittent fasting is when you eat only within a particular time window. So, suppose you have chosen a 16:8 hours ratio, you can eat within the 8-hours window. For 16-hours, you can’t eat anything. Obviously, you still have to maintain a healthy diet even when you are eating within the window.
The idea is to fast as you can without harming your body. You have to understand that there’s a difference between fasting and starving. When you fast for a long period, your body starts burning fat instead of carbohydrate for energy. As your body is not used to burning fat, it will show some signs of resentment. You may have headache, feel nauseous and irritated. You may also feel like the need to pee more often as burning fat may produce more water in your system.
However, I would recommend you take it slowly initially. Don’t force yourself to fast. Instead of fasting, you can skip one meal a couple of times a week. When you get used to this, you can increase the period when you aren’t eating.
Body type eating:
There’s another way that you can follow to lose weight effectively. Even though I haven’t tried this process, I understand the scientific reason why it works. So, this process is eating according to your body type.
In this case, body type doesn’t refer to how you look but it refers to how your body responds to different types of food items. Your body may digest fat faster than carbohydrate or it may take longer than usual to digest protein. Once your body type is determined, it is easier to create a food plan for you. And since the plan is based on your body type, it is more likely to work.
New England fat loss program is one such weight loss program where your metabolism is adjusted. Instead of blocking carb for all who want to she’d some extra pounds, the program is customized depending on what your body requires. Besides, your weight loss target is also kept under consideration.
There are many people who have lost weight through incorporating various methods that suit them. While some people get better result by following a diet plan along with exercising, some think that New England fat loss program works for them better.
In my weight loss journey, I have lost nearly 26 lbs in five months. Now, many of you may need to lose even more weight to become healthy. Or you may not even need to lose weight, just follow a lifestyle to stay fit.
For me, personally, I can tell you that I opted for a healthier lifestyle altogether. Yes, my aim was to lose weight and reduce my size. But that wasn’t my only goal. I wanted to make sure that I choose healthy food over greasy unhealthy food. And exercising has become a part of my habit.
As for me, a proper food habit with moderate exercise has helped me to get back in my shape. Besides, I also feel more energized than before. I have my cheat days. But even then, I know that I have to limit the portion of my food so that it doesn’t get accumulated as fat. No matter what process you follow, I would recommend you spend at least 30-45 minutes every day for workout.