Fit versus skinny. Two terms with a world of a difference between them. Yet, do a quick show of hands around your friend circle, and you’ll find the two being used interchangeably when it comes to weight loss resolutions. Unfortunately, weight loss is still often misconstrued as an endeavour to fit into a sample size dress, rather than to drop unhealthy kilos and become the fittest version of yourself.
In the interest of making fresh beginnings in the New Year, we are setting the chequered finish line at becoming a healthier, fitter person rather than merely turning real thin, real quick, and fending off multiple health concerns later. So how do you walk that fine tightrope between the two and what’s the payoff at the end? We got the experts in the biz to pitch in with their top tips for becoming healthy, on the inside and out, rather than just hitting an arbitrary number on the weighing scale.
No blind weight loss detoxes
“Detox plans, like an only-juice diet or a soup cleanse, are extreme diets that are deficient in both macro and micro nutrients,” cautions Munmun Ganeriwal, a Mumbai-based nutritionist and fitness expert. “Going on a detox diet may make you look skinny for a short period of time, but the moment you are off it, the weight does come back, often more than what you had lost in the first place.”
Lay off the crash diets
Likewise, crash diets don’t rank favourably in her books either. “Crash dieting may make you lose weight on the scale, but most of the weight has dropped off due to the loss in lean muscle mass and not fat mass. To that end, ensure that you do not exclude any food group. Eating a wholesome meal and not depriving yourself of any food group such as carbs, proteins or fats is crucial so that your diet is not just sensible, but also sustainable,” she advises.
“Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just ‘stretching’ meant to enhance flexibility. Learning yoga from traditional schools like Sivananda and Iyengar works to boost your strength, both in mind and body. The inversions (headstand, shoulder stand and so on) make your body work against gravity and hence, helps you reverse the physiological process of catabolism or ageing,” says Ganeriwal.
“Strength training is the most effective exercise if you’re looking to get a fit, evenly-toned and taut body. Incorporate weight training into your workout regimen at least twice a week, using your weapon of choice whether it’s dumbbells or kettlebells, or even planking to engage your core,” she says.
Consistency is key to lose weight
Working on dropping the extra kilos can seem hard, especially when they keep appearing back just as quickly. The key to avoid this black hole is consistency in your fitness regimen and diet. Ganeriwal says, “Fitness is a compounding effect of eating and exercising right every single day.” And then waking up the next day, and doing it all over again until you finally achieve results. Don’t kill yourself with workouts thrice a day and then stop entirely once you’ve reached your goal.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you train, what’s important is how well you ‘refuel’ your body after the workout. In order to get a sculpted, toned body that is sustainable in the long run, what you eat following an intense session of exercise is important,” she adds. Starving yourself post a workout in the hopes of getting skinny won’t do you any good.
Hydrate like no one’s watching. Not only will eight glasses of water give you that Deepika Padukoneradiant glow, but it could also keep untimely cravings at check. Sonia Narang, wellness expert at Oriflame, recommends, “Make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Not drinking enough fluids can spark hunger pangs as an interpretation of thirst.”
Eat in moderation
Life is short, so don’t deny yourself dessert. “Eating should not be about restricting certain foods—find a way to enjoy everything in moderation. Promise yourself that one slice of pie, and live up to your word. While eating meals, leave an interval of 20 minutes between helpings—the approximate amount of time it will probably take to feel full—before filling up the dinner plate again,” says Narang. Better than skipping it altogether isn’t it?
What to avoid to lose weight
“Avoid highly-processed foods that contain artificial sweeteners or colours, hidden sugars and excessive fat that will steal all the good work you’ve been putting in at the gym. Also, watch your daily alcohol intake as it is simply filling you up with liquid calories. When possible, stick to healthy mocktails instead,” she recommends.
Sleep for weight loss
Yes, you have heard this all your life, but the quality of your nightly snooze matters as well. Narang personally recommends, “Ensure that you are getting uninterrupted seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Not getting enough sleep can amp up appetite levels the following day.” Ganeriwal agrees and adds, “It is during sleep that our body produces the HGH hormone (human growth hormone) that increases lean muscle mass, bone density and accelerates loss of fat.”
New year, new you? Want to get fit, start eating better or give your body a health overhaul? Expect a new wellness story, covering everything from trending diets to new workouts and everything in between in our 31 Days To Fitness series, every day of January
Courtesy: Hasina Khatib, Vogue