By Avni Kaul, Nutritionist and Wellness Coach, Founder of Nutri Activania
Gaining weight is easy but it is especially so in winter when the days are shorter and one is more prone to being inactive. So, be more careful of what you eat, how much you eat and what time do you eat besides ensuring that you get sufficient exercise to keep you healthy and stress-free.
Here are ten surprising weight loss facts:
- Weight loss is gradual in most people and that is what one needs to beware of. The season of joy should be done without piling on pounds. The emphasis should be less on weight loss and more on maintaining your weight and that is possible only if you regularly consume a healthy, nourishing diet and follow an exercise routine.
- Stress is a major contributing factor to weight gain. Stress can make it difficult to lose weight. Stress can trigger cravings for carb-rich snack foods which tend to calm stress hormones. Stress hormones can also increase fat storage. In addition to physical exercise, relaxation techniques can help control weight. There are a lot of people who feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or sad during winters even when they are in company. When they are unable to cope with these uncomfortable feelings, they binge on food hoping it will bring that elusive joy. It doesn’t work that way. Reduce stress as far as it is possible for foods high in sugar and fat are consumed more when you are under stress. If you are uncomfortable in any situation, try and get out of it rather than mindless eating and subsequent gaining weight. There are a lot of people who feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or sad during winters even when they are in company. When they are unable to cope with these uncomfortable feelings, they binge on food hoping it will bring that elusive joy. It doesn’t work that way. If you are uncomfortable in any situation, try and get out of it rather than mindless eating and subsequent gaining weight.
- Skipping breakfast is the worst idea if you are planning to lose weight. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure it is high in protein by including eggs for it helps in improving control over appetite and body composition.
Elvis Presley was famously a fan of the “Sleeping Beauty Diet,” or a diet where a person is sedated for days at time. The reasoning behind the diet was that a sleeping person wouldn’t eat. Sleep helps prevent putting on weight. It is important to have adequate sleep if one wants a healthy life. Sleep deprivation leads to craving for sweet and high calorie foods. No matter how busy a schedule you have during winters or the holiday season, it is necessary to plan your routine around sufficient sleep, regular exercise and eating healthy meals while occasionally having a cheat meal too. Sleep deprivation can make it harder to lose weight. Inadequate sleep upsets a person’s hormone balance, which decreases leptin (a hormone that makes a person feel full) and increases ghrelin (which triggers hunger). Scientists argue that getting enough sleep is the cheapest and easiest obesity medicine there is.
- Listen to your body when it comes to eating. Eat only what you are able to. Decide what time and quantity of food you are going to eat yourself for no one understands your system better than you. Don’t go with the flow and just eat because all others are eating it too. There is absolutely nothing wrong in refusing to eat what you know is unhealthy or if it is the wrong time to eat it.
- Amid the many hundreds of diet books are really only four basic rules for weight loss: 1) eat carbs in the form of whole grains or fiber, 2) avoid trans and saturated fats, 3) eat lean protein, and 4) eat lots of fruits and veggies.
- While weight loss pills may help a person lose weight temporarily, they can cause other negative side effects, such as severe mood swings and depression.
- Sedentary lifestyle is the worst thing for weight-loss. Experts note that the body starts to shut down after sitting for long periods of time. Importantly, key fat-burning enzymes simply start switching off. Even after just one day of sitting, fat-burning enzymes plummet by 50%, among other determinant health effects. Even 30 minutes at the gym is not enough to offset the detrimental effects of 8 hours of sitting. A recent study found that those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs, and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat the most. In short, the longer a person sits, the more likely they are to die an early death. People who are leaner move an average of 150 minutes more per day than overweight people. Simply getting off of a chair and moving helps turn on fat burning enzymes and increase blood flow. Sitting at desk burns 83 calories per hour. Standing at desk burns 115 calories per hour. Riding an elevator burns 128 calories an hour. Taking the stairs burns 509.
- Alcohol is not good for those trying to lose weight. This is no surprise. But if you like to have a drink, do so in moderation. Alcohol contains empty calories and no nutrition. It also stimulates appetite and makes the fried, fatty and salty foods look more attractive. So plan the number of drinks you are going to have and never start drinking on an empty stomach. Some people consume more alcohol than usual and more often than not skip their regular workout as a result of hangover.
- If you truly, want to lose weight, enjoy your food. Relax and savour your food every time you sit down for a meal and never try to eat more than your stomach can take. Concentrate on eating nutritious, unprocessed, freshly cooked food rather than only on calories it contains for a long term weight management. Have manageable goals so that you may consistently try and manage your weight and intake of food.
Most people eat more during winters and thus gain a lot of extra weight mainly because it’s a season with a lot of festivals across all religions. It is also holiday season when people socialise more and when they are together, they eat more savouries than regular nutritious food. But keep the above facts in mind and you will be able to enjoy the bounties of the winter or festive season without the scales tilting in a way you don’t want them to!
ABOUT AVNI KAUL:
Avni, Founder of Nutri Activania (www.nutriactivania.com) believes in a holistic approach to optimal living and considers other wellness factors such as sleep, exercise, environmental exposures, and stress levels to create an individualized nutrition plan. She does not believe in gimmicks or starvation plans. Which is why she insists on being called a ‘wellness coach’ and not just a ‘dietitian’).
To consult with Avni, or follow her, you can click on any one of these links: