Health is of utmost importance in everybody’s lives. Your health is the largest contributor to your quality of life. Being physically and mentally fit have a profound impact on the overall well-being of a person.
Physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. Physical fitness leads to mental fitness. Your brain is sharper when you are physically fit and you feel great about yourself.
Weight gain comes with several diseases like Diabetes and Heart disease to name a few. Most of these diseases are due to sedentary lifestyles.
A comfortable lifestyle with no physical activity and where foods can be ordered online has added to the chronic overweight issue. The overweight issue is an epidemic in America and slowly spreading across the globe.
Weight loss is a journey in itself. Many people are struggling to lose weight. With the culture of consumption, fast foods, and dining out, it has become pretty easy to gain weight.
Once you gain the weight, loosing the same is an entirely different beast altogether.
There is no secret behind weight loss
The secret behind weight loss is not rocket science. To reduce the weight, you have to understand some of the basic concepts, such as how the metabolism works, and the effect of several macronutrients on the body.
If your metabolic rate is good, you will burn calories even while you are asleep. Some people’s metabolisms are bad as whatever they eat directly adds some flab in their body.
Macronutrients are a type of food that is required in large amounts in the diet. Carbohydrates, fat, and protein are an example of macronutrients.
Macronutrient’s right balance is of paramount importance to maintain the body weight and metabolism of an individual. If you take rice and bread in your diet most of the time, then your consumption of carbohydrates is way more than that of protein and fats.
I will not go in detail about the Macro or Micronutrients and their effects on the body. You may read up on these easily as there are many experts available on this topic.
Weight loss entails commitment and discipline
Weight loss entails commitment and discipline. It’s the test of your perseverance and will. Making several changes to your lifestyle at once can make you feel overwhelmed.
When you start your weight loss regime, just thinking of your target weight goals like losing 10 or 20 kg adds to the anxiety. What you can do is to focus on the daily exercise and target for the day instead.
I weighed around 85 kg when I started my weight loss journey. I set the target to reduce the 10 kg weight in 3 months. That means I had to lose 3 kg of weight every month. That was not an aggressive target.
Loosing more than 5 kg weight in a month is an aggressive goal and not deemed good for long term health for a person. Losing 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week is a healthy and safe rate.
I am not a health expert on weight loss and I didn’t have any formula or magic pill for my weight loss. What I did was some pretty basic stuff with persistence.
Everybody knows that to reduce weight, you have to eat less and be physically active. Still, millions of people struggle with losing weight. People fail miserably while trying to reduce even 1-2 kg of weight.
What stops them from losing weight? Why it has become a million-dollar business with fancy things like detox diets, cleansing therapy, etc.
Being overweight is mostly associated with the mindset, habit, and culture of an individual. The unconscious binge eating, ideal weight not being a priority, not being health-conscious, and cultural diets are linked to being overweight.
For instance, in some culture, rice is part of the meal throughout a day, whereas, in other, the sweets are part of every meal.
Another reason for being overweight is that some people have a strong appetite and hunger that they can’t control their quantity or frequency of eating.
Organic ways to lose weight:
Although strength training can be great for muscle building, I didn’t get into heavyweight exercise, rather included a combination of lifestyle changes and eating patterns. I believe anyone who follows the below things religiously, should be able to reduce weight and can lead a healthy lifestyle:
1. Calorie Deficit
The first and foremost thing for weight loss is the Calorie Deficit. It will not be an exaggeration to say it’s the only thing you need to lose your weight.
You are in a calorie deficit when you consume fewer calories than your body needs every day. For instance, if your body needs 2000 calories a day to maintain the current weight and If you eat around 1500 calories a day, then there is a deficit of 500 calories per day.
Calorie deficit coupled with physical activity like walking or jogging is helpful in weight loss. I was in a calorie deficit for the entire period of my weight loss journey.
2. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern. It’s not about what foods you should eat but when you should eat them. Intermittent fasting involves eating food during an 8-hour window and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
Intermittent fasting can be difficult, to begin with, but slowly you can adjust your eating patterns. I would eat only during the day between 9 am to 6 pm. For the rest of the time, I used to fast.
3. Avoiding Carbs/Oily foods/Sweets
Weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Your body shapes are directly proportional to the amount and kind of food you consume consistently.
To incorporate a healthy lifestyle, you must avoid an excess of carbohydrates, deep-fried foods, and sweets.
Many times people consume these things unknowingly. For instance, you drink tea or coffee 3 times a day without knowing your sugar intake.
Cardio is excellent for the body. Your mood can be elevated following an extensive cardio session.
Running and swimming had a profound effect on my health. I made sure to run at least 3 days a week.
I incorporated HIIT workouts during my weight loss journey. I would swim every weekend for two days.
5. No snacks
I gave up on snacks items in the evening. I would take dry fruits like almonds and walnuts instead.
6. Light dinner
I used to have very light dinner like two boiled eggs or Daal(lentil soup). Sometimes, I would skip my dinner also. Though, I would not advise doing so as it depends on your appetite and health.
7. Dinner before 7 pm
I would eat before 7 pm every day. There should be a gap of 3-4 hours before you go to bed for sleep. Going to bed with a filled stomach is not a good idea as it makes your metabolism low and slows down the weight loss process.
What mindset shift you need to lose weight:
Weight loss does not only require physical efforts but mental too. What mindset changes you need during your weight loss journey:
1. Weight loss is not a one-time job
Weight loss is not a destination, it’s a journey and the way of life. If you don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, the lost weight can come again and you are back to square one. Hence, you must cultivate the right mindset and keep your body weight in check.
2. Maintain the right balance of Macro-nutrients
Eating carbohydrates too much without proteins and fat is not going to help you in the long run. Increase your protein, fiber, salad, sprouts, vegetable intake in your everyday diet.
3. Strong motivation and reasons to continue
The reason many people fail to reduce weight or reach their ideal weight is that they don’t have strong reasons to lose weight.
Essentially it boils down to your self-image as to how you want to see yourself. Work on your “why” first before you jump on the bandwagon to lose weight.
4. Count your calories
Know the calorific value of every food item you consume daily. Counting calories has to become your second nature.
In addition to incorporating above lifestyle changes and mindset, what helps you greatly in your weight loss journey is having a fitness partner.
Your fitness partner could be your spouse, friend, neighbor, colleague, who is as enthusiastic as you to lose weight. Having a fitness partner helps in maintaining consistency and keeps you motivated.
My weight loss journey was as much mental as it was physical efforts. I had to work on my mindset, habits, routines. I was completely a different person having lost 10 kg in less than 3 months.
It was a journey of self-discovery. I learned a lot about myself and my body. The whole experience of daily rituals with constant end goals in mind gave me insights that I can apply in other areas of my life as well.
Weight loss is not a one-time job. You have to take care of your body and mind as long as you are alive. You can’t achieve the weight loss with external reasons that somebody will appreciate you.
There is no finish line in your weight loss journey, and nobody is waiting to give you a medal in the end when you achieve it. You have to lead a healthy lifestyle because it’s the right thing for your health, mind, and life !!