Nutritionist’s take: 5 weight-loss myths refuted
As a professional nutritionist, I come across a variety of questions and problems that people face while dealing with their weight.
Mostly, people are influenced by misconceptions and myths that often make it harder for them to lose weight and attain their desired physique. Here are a few issues that people usually pose to me as queries.
WHAT FOOD ITEMS SHOULD I AVOID IF I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Well, in order to lose weight in a healthy manner, it is important to understand the calorie intake and burning out of calories, creating calorie deficit and other aspect related to your calorie budget.
And to create this calorie deficit, you have to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Your daily meal plan must include servings from cereal group, fruit and vegetable group, dairy group and meat group. We usually increase our amount of calories by cooking our foods in increased oil/fat to make them tastier – it’s time to stop doing that.
Please understand that you need healthy calorie options in order to lose weight.
You can opt for snacks like carrot and cucumber sticks with yogurt dip, fresh fruit smoothie, home-made popcorns, boiled sweet potatoes, black chana-chaat, boiled beans salad, peanut butter on apple slices, a handful of nuts or two to three dates and figs, and dark chocolate.
All these goodies increase your nutrition without increasing bad calories in your diet.
Fried foods, fatty foods, processed foods, cola beverages, energy drinks, sugar-free products including use of sweeteners, desserts and the likes are all harmful for your fitness regime. So avoiding them is a must. Eating too much rice and chapatti can also end up in weight –gain, especially if consumed at dinner.
I HAVE STOPPED LOSING WEIGHT, HOW DO I BREAK THIS PLATEAU?
You hit plateau often when losing weight and it’s really common.
But why does it happen?
When you start your weight-loss regime, the first thing your body loses is the water-weight, which is then followed by loss of fats. However, often, our bodies stop responding to the same kind of workout routine and the fats become resistant, thus leading to a saturation point or plateau.
To break this resistance, you just need to change your eating patterns. For instance, if you are eating a very low calorie diet, add a cheat day (but please cheat in moderation).
Secondly, change your way of workout. For instance, if you are performing a lot of cardio exercises, start adding some strength-training exercises as well, or jog and walk on intervals. Just change it for a week.
You will noticeably feel the plateau reducing. All you need is patience.
HOW DO I STOP BINGE EATING?
It’s really difficult to understand why a person might start binge eating, as there are multiple factors. These can be physiological as well as psychological in nature, but the most common factor is stress.
When you are stressed, your body produces certain chemicals that increase the production of hunger hormone Leptin; at such a time, you mostly crave for sweets, and once you consume it, you feel more relaxed. But, of course, this practice often ends up in weight gain.
To overcome this situation, first remove all bad sweets and high calorie foods from your kitchen and refrigerator. Next, add in dates, fruits, nuts, dark chocolates and Greek yogurt, so that even if you feel hungry while stressed, you snack on something healthy and with good calories.
Avoid taking in a lot of caffeine as it aggravates more stress.
HOW DO I GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF NUTRIENTS EVERY DAY?
We get minerals and vitamins mainly from fruits and veggies, and B-complex mainly from cereal group.
But mostly we don’t get the right amount because one has to take four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily in order to get the count right, which is not practically possible for everyone. So the easier and more reliable way is to have a tablet of multivitamins daily at breakfast.
This would ensure that you get enough of everything.
A multivitamin consists of all the essential minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy diet. Get yourself assessed by a qualified nutritionist/dietician and get prescribed with the right multivitamin after your nutritional screening and assessment.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT OUTSIDE WHEN I AM ON A DIET?
Always encourage yourself for “mindful eating”. There are tons of healthier options when you eat out; you don’t necessarily have to opt for the gluttonous nihari, paya or karahi. Avoid paratha, poori, naan and anything made of white flour.
You can have steaks with sautéed veggies, tikkas and barbecue items with lots of salad. Say no to fizzy drinks and colas – which includes fresh-lime.
These are only some of the many issues people have when they are losing weight. If you have any concerns, feel free to post them as a comment below and we will definitely try to answer your queries.
Stay fit, stay healthy and stay happy!
About the author: Sana Azfar is a consultant nutritionist/dietician. She has an M.Sc in nutrition and dietetics and has 10 years of working experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Currently, she is working for HTV, giving people online health and nutrition guidelines, diet plans and healthy eating recipes. She is also doing consultations at different clinics.