Get ready to flaunt your curves like Jacqueline Fernandez by avoiding these diet mistakes Image: Puma
If you were putting off a fitness routine till next year, here's an eye-opener for you. According to wellness expert Sonia Narang of Oriflame India, the sooner you start the better it is. She says, "There is no one-size-fits-all health routine, and once you hit your 30's, your usual fitness regime is less than suitable to tackle persistent weight gain and a perpetual feeling of exhaustion." So, make the most of your 20s by getting healthier with these hacks:
Enjoy your meals
The most successful ‘diet’ is one you can stick with long term. So, the secret is that you find a diet plan that is sustainable, one that provides enjoyment, satiety and one that doesn’t make you feel deprived all the time. And of course, one that gets results. The first thing you need to do is find healthier alternatives for the foods you like to eat on a regular basis. There are so many ways you can make unhealthy foods healthy — the perfect substitute for chocolate is a quality chocolate-flavoured whey protein powder mixed with a little water, into a pudding. Then you can add fruit, nut butter, Greek yoghurt, or whatever takes your fancy.
Work out Smarter
You must have some weight training in your workout regimen. What sort of weight training is best for weight loss? You get more bang for your buck doing compound (multi-joint) exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. Choose these over isolation (single joint) exercises like biceps curls and knee extensions. You will burn a lot more calories. There are lots of options for adding intensity to your workouts — like supersets and metabolic resistance workouts (that combine weights and cardio in one) to increase the challenge factor and calorie burn. You can also add some cardio to your weight training regime. Never do cardio before resistance training.
Eat More Protein
Aside from the important role that protein plays in building and maintaining lean muscle mass, protein when consumed alone or with other food groups helps to stabilise blood glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream — which is very important in regulating blood sugar and preventing abnormal hunger, cravings, and weight gain. Protein also helps with satiety, leaving you feeling fuller and satisfied for longer by lowering your insulin levels to help prevent cravings, and the need for other unhealthy foods. One of the other cool things about protein is that is has a high thermic effect (the amount of energy burned through digestion). Good sources of protein are eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, fish, cottage cheese, high protein Greek yoghurt, whey protein and so on.
In today’s busy world we often turn to alcohol, food, or other substances to help manage the stress of day-to-day living. This can be a vicious cycle, and one you want to refrain from if you’re having trouble with weight loss. Too much stress increases a hormone in your body called cortisol. This has marked effects on the ability to lose weight, and in fact high levels of cortisol are known to cause excess fat, particularly around your tummy area. It’s also important to have time out on a regular basis — and making workouts part of your time-out regime kills two birds with one stone. A hot bath, with scented candles, or a massage, or even some retail therapy would work. A ‘brain dump’ in the evening before bed is something that works well for me. I write out tomorrow’s ‘to do’ list which allows me to remove the clutter from my mind and get a better night’s sleep.
Don’t be afraid of fat
In the '90s, fat was considered the scourge of the weight loss world. But our bodies NEED fat to function optimally. Our hormones need fat. Our brain needs fat. Contrary to popular belief (though a very old fashioned belief), fat is extraordinarily helpful in weight loss. It helps provide a long-term even supply of energy to get you through the day without experiencing tiredness and fatigue. Additionally, it is also broken down slowly and therefore helps prevent hunger and cravings between meals. You probably know that when hunger strikes, will power often fails. All it takes is a small amount of fat in your meal to make a huge difference in satiety level.
Maybe you’ve heard that high fat diets increase your risk of developing heart disease and some forms of cancer. High fats alone are generally not the culprit. High fats combined with highly-processed food is where the real issue lies. Fast food, fried foods, packaged foods, margarines, creamy sauces, pastries and other baked goods are laden with the fat you MUST avoid (not to mention sugar and excessive calories as well) — trans-fat.
In summary, fat keeps you healthy, provides energy, keeps you satisfied between meals, and makes food taste better. So don’t fear fat any longer…
Give up fad diets
As you probably know all too well, we women tend to go on fad diets that promise rapid weight loss only to gain it all back repeatedly. This rapid loss followed by even more rapid regain, contributes significantly to stubborn fat deposits because your body now begins to hoard fat — and next time around your body is even more reluctant to release this stored fat. Repeated cycles of weight gain and weight loss also compromise skin elasticity which makes problems such as cellulite even more pronounced. So better to avoid it.