MADAN KANDARA - Wednesday, April 18, 2012



There is no magic wands around and no ‘diets’ can do it. Also there are no short cuts. Many medical advances means, our longevity is ever increasing. So why you want choose short cut anyway, when we are living longer. There is certainly not a single way to do it and no set formula.


I am not boasting here to embark on having a definitive solution but, I know for sure that, if you are prepared to take control of your lifestyle in your own hand, then you stand better chance than the rest to check or at least slow all these chronic illnesses coming to you as a result of otherwise indifferent lifestyle. All you need is commitment to improve and be honest to the realities surrounding you.


The measures, I am  try to  call upon is simply increasing your knowledge about own-self, by knowing your physiology, what your body needs and how it acts on different responses, it is subjected. I very fondly call it as Broadening the Horizon. Along with that it will come to you an urge to, increasing knowledge about nutritional facts and understanding and knowing a balanced nutrition, understanding role of moderate intensity exercises and living generally a moderate and balanced life, will all have a big positive to role in your life.


I will lay out some basic fundamentals of nutrition and calories relation to them and will also give some practical tips on fat loss and weight control.


Here is some Fundamentals on Nutrition for you:

  1. Calories provided by food depend upon amount of energy producing nutrients (carbohydrates proteins and fats) consumed on daily basis.
  2. Amount of energy provided by each gram of these nutrients is different (4 kcal for each gram of proteins and carbohydrates and 9 kcal for each gram of fats).
  3. Calories provided by same food can vary depending upon type of preparation used. For example, we all know that, calories provided by a boiled egg is different from fried egg, a piece of toast with butter and jam have different calories than without them, preparation of same amount of chicken with and without skin have different calories and who does not know a boiled potato compared to fries makes a huge difference in calories to your diet.
  4. We have different capacities to burn calories (a process called metabolism) largely depending upon genetic determination and age (metabolism slows as we grow older, particularly after 3rd and 4th decade of life) and physical activities we do regularly on day to day basis and during particular events.
  5. As metabolism is dictated largely by genetic predisposition-so we are born with a thin body (Ecto-morphs), a muscular body (Meso-morphs) or a large body (Endo-morphs). And we know we can change it with our actions.
  6. Your choices of foods-depending upon time you spend (or lack of it) to prepare your meals, will have a bearing on the calories you get e.g. number of times you choose to eat processed food compared to wholesome preparations of food. Processed foods are essentially loaded with fat calories and deficient in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and trace elements & fibers. Wholesome meals prepared with fresh produces will have these essential nutrients more in them compared to processed foods.
  7. Stress eating and snacking rather than square meals is going to add and affects your daily calories intake.
  8. Proper hydration (water intake) plays important part in regulation in your internal mechanisms of food assimilation and metabolism.
  9. Discipline in our timing of eating, time and amount of sleeping hours also matters.
  10. Quality of fats is important. Mono-unsaturated fats and small amount poly-unsaturated fats are much better than saturated fats. Although, it is not important for weight loss, as all fats are equally bad as far as weight control is concern. But, good fats like unsaturated fats compared to saturated fats have better outcome on arterial health as atherosclerosis (a process which clogs arteries) is slower when we consume unsaturated fats than the saturated fats.
  11. Fats are the biggest stumbling blocks in weight control, so avoid excess fat in your diets.

You can start a mission to loss body fat without sacrificing lean muscle mass as an essential routine in your daily life. Doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every alternate day, if not day compliments with above said nutritional practices very well.


You can achieve that by following PRACTICAL TIPS:


Exercising or setting the bar to a higher level if doing it already: Physical activities keep your metabolism fired up and sometimes even increase your metabolic rate. Those who exercise regularly lose more weight and keep it off longer than non-exercisers. Muscles in motion burn more than inactive one.


Do not go on a diet program: There is always an implication that at a later stage you will be 'Off'’ the diet, if you happen to go ‘On’ one. We know it for certain that; you can't go 'on' with diets throughout the life. Most of you also know, what happens when you go 'off' diet. You regain the lost weight. You may not only have incurred you some harmful imbalances in your body's nutrient stores but, diets also have potential to drains on your energy, exhaust your finances and some mental frustration.


Change Eating Habit: Lesser the fat, better it is. Fill up on foods high in complex carbohydrates (fruits, bread, rice, pasta, cereals, and potatoes). Bread should not have too much butter or margarine on it. The rice should not be fried. The Pastas should be made without rich creamy sauce. The Potatoes should be potatoes and not fried chips. It is a big myth that, sugars are fattening. It is the excess calories which are converted into fats.

Cut back on alcohol and refined Sugars.

Don't go Hungry: When you are hungry and then given a food, you may go very indiscriminate and may eat anything. Also it is difficult to remain hungry for long and it is certainly unhealthy. Fundamentally, most people are not able to stay hungry for more than a day or two.


If you eat or drink more, exercise more: No matter who you are, it is fact of life that, you will party occasionally and celebrations do come. Be a part of it but, also be realistic. Keep your goals in front and act accordingly when filling your plate. I can give you a small tip here. Start making your plate with rice or pasta or bread or even start with salad first rather than putting those gourmet things over in your plate. It will occupy most of space and hence, less space for gourmet items. You will be surprised.
Next day, go a level higher on your walk, run or an extra tennis set, whatever is your choice of exercise.


Don't weigh yourself: Scales are not very good at diagnosing body fat, because they measure total body weight -body water, muscles as well as body fat. We also know that, it is much easier to loss body water or even muscles than the body fat. Scales often give false impression to peoples as to what is happening to their body fat levels. They cannot tell you body fat percentage and certainly are not able to indicate fat loss after an event. Scales are not useful in monitoring weight losses.


Of course, taking your weight over a regulated period when you are targeting your body fats is different to reaching the scale randomly.


Don't count Calories: When you count calories, it is very much possible that, you get too engrossed in counts and stop minding from which source (s) calories are coming. As a result you may have no discrimination between desired foods like complex carbohydrates and undesired foods like fats. Remember you have to have large surpluses of carbohydrate before it can be converted to fat (appx.500) and fat is fat.


Watch your soft drink intake: Firstly remember, they are not replacement for water. Limit sugary drinks and soda as much as possible. Soft drinks should not be taken as part of everyday beverages. Drink waters instead. When you have to eat out, choose small servings with ice and try mostly fresh fruit juices.


Say "NO" to Supersizing: Most restaurants are competing to serve larger portions in their dishes these days to entice the customers with only few extra cents. Most people fall in this trap at greater health risk. These larger sized serves are the real double trouble, as these foods are already loaded with extra fat-calories. Even home cooked foods with larger portions are a trouble. So, choose sensible portion sizes at home and specially when dinning out. Use smaller plates and choose smaller packages.


Limit in-between the meal snacking: You should always be aware of high-fat and high-calorie snacks. Choose between a healthy sandwich, a fresh fruit or vegetable instead of a high calorie snack like cakes, pastries, biscuits etc.


Cut back on fast-foods and eating out: Healthy meals prepared at home are best for the whole family. Meals prepared at fast-foods outlets are often processed and loaded with fat-calories and often deficient or even totally devoid of many essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. So, in any case home prepared meals wholesome and fresh produces are far superior nutritionally compared to any meal eaten out.


Be Active: Limit your time spend on activities, such as playing computer games and watching TV. These sedentary activities are often accompanied with snacks. So, if you are a TV couch potato or computer addict then be careful about your habits and revert these unhealthy practices as early as possible. Include exercise in routine activities as daily chorus.

Go through as much information as possible about major sources of fats, sugars, salts and additives in diet.


My take home message to you is: understanding of calories equation, changing lifestyle if it is needed, bringing in a disciplined approach in eating habits and setting your priorities right is going to help you a long way. By doing so, you are going to have control of your destiny in your hand.


I am sure, this will help.

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