MIND & BODY- 12 ways to avoid weight gain
How is it possible to rein in those cravings? Here are 12 commandments that will help you avoid weight gain. The three keys are attitude, planning and determination
1. SEPARATE FOOD FROM TELEVISION.
Eating, drinking, napping and channel-surfing. If these consume most of your leisure hours, you will end up gaining weight. Make healthy and light food choices; fill your plate with the quantity right for you. Be fully aware of what and how much goes into your system.
2. AVOID SKIPPING MEALS BEFORE A PARTY.
Don't starve yourself during the day in anticipation of an evening party. If you eat at regular intervals during the day, you are less likely to over-eat at night. The body has an internal clock and the metabolism is regulated by regular cycles. Learn to respect these cycles. When you are fuelled right, it is easier to avoid a feeling of "out-ofcontrol" hunger.
3. WIN AT THE DRINKING GAME.
Savour alcohol in small quantities instead of guzzling down your drinks. Mix your drink with carbonated water to cut back on calories. Alcohol consumption slows down the fat burning capabilities of the body. One gram of fat is 9 calories and alcohol is 7 calories per gram. Too much will inhibit your inhibitions, making you careless about what you eat.
4. NIBBLE ON NUTS.
When you drink, your body naturally loses salt, which is why you readily reach out for salted peanuts. A couple of handfuls, instead of one fistful can be a cause of concern. Instead, check if pretzels, popcorn or other low-fat savouries are available.
5. DIVIDE BEFORE YOU DEVOUR.
Don't desert the dessert. Divide it. Pleasure is best when shared. This way your taste buds are satisfied, portion size decreased and calorie intake reduced.
6. LEAVE SOMETHING ON YOUR PLATE.
No one believes you've eaten enough if your plate is empty. If your plate has a little food you won't be coaxed to eat more.
7. "EAT" LOTS OF WATER WITH YOUR MEALS.
Eat high water content foods that will fill you up and help you lose weight. Examples are watermelon, oranges, sweet lime, grape fruit, pineapples, tomatoes and cucumber. Starchy vegetables, on the other hand, such as corn and potatoes are harder to digest than those that contain more water. In addition, drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
8. TAKE BREAKS TO DEEP BREATHE.
Do you binge eat when you are bored, angry or tense? Relax, deep breathe several times. Decide to do something to take your mind off food. This will help you distinguish between actual hunger and eating due to emotional responses.
9. DO NOT GET DERAILED IF YOU GO OFF TRACK.
It is inevitable that even the most determined, get off track occasionally. Just remember, it's the final goal that's important. So get back on track as soon as possible. Do not get immobilised with guilt.
10. "EXCUSE PROOF" YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE.
Schedule "workout" in your daily planner. Find an exercise trainer or a workout buddy to help you stay committed. Make exercise an important part of your daily life and write it down so that you are more likely to keep the "appointment". Adding a well programmed weight training and cardiovascular workout will work wonders for you. You will burn calories, boost your metabolic rate and shape up.
11. REWARD YOURSELF.
Book yourself a relaxing massage or a spa treatment you enjoy. Buy yourself an outfit that looks good on you. Reward your efforts.
12. BROADEN YOUR PALETTE OF PLEASURES.
Avoid rich gravies, creamy sauces or dressings. They are laden with high fat. Instead, order sauces and dressings on the side and go easy on them. Eat in a way that doesn't place all the emphasis on the pleasure of food alone - lay emphasis on ambience, well-presented meals and good company.
When planning your meals make sure you eat five to six small meals a day. Your body needs only few calories at a time for energy and metabolism. Large meals overload the body's digestive system, excess is stored as fat.
The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.
(The Hindu, 25:09:2009)