By Dt. Shikha Mahajan
Holistic Nutritionist, Diet Podium
“I work out daily and yet I haven’t been losing weight”. “I go for a two-hour morning walk and yet no change in weight”. How often do we hear these complains? The truth is that exercise alone will never help you in reducing the weight. Yet, most people who do follow a strict diet plan will see a change in both weight and size.
Out of all the factor important in weight loss- exercise, diet, sleep, hormones, stress- diet has by far the most important role to play. While all other factors have an effect on your hunger or satiety levels, and can have an effect on whether or not you overeat, the fact remains that diet is the one true deciding factor in whether you lose or gain pounds. Weight loss is totally dependent on one factor- calorie deficit. The energy or calories you consume should be lesser than those you burn. In order to lose a kg of fat, you need to have a deficit of 7600 calories. Whether you get this deficit by burning that many calories, or by eating that much lesser or a combination of two.
An hour of brisk walking burns around 115-135 calories at best, swimming burns 200-350 in an hour based on the intensity, Zumba or aerobics would burn around 125-175 calories, while playing sports can burn in the range of 200-500 and can vary vastly between various sports. However, after an hour the number of calories burnt by the body in the next hours will progressively keep decreasing, since the body gets tired and adjusts output accordingly. It is therefore imperative to understand that a calorie deficit of 7600 calories may take an entire month of working out an hour or two every day in order to lose just one kilogram.
When you control your diet, this process becomes much easier. Cutting out sugar from your tea and milk, if you have tea or coffee twice a day and milk once a day, will result in a deficit of at least 300-500 calories- more than most workouts can bring in an hour. Cutting out 1 chapatti from each meal can easily result in a deficit of 1800-200 calories in a week. Ideal serving of rice, usually eaten around 1.5 cups at a time, is half a cup. This can cut out on around 250 calories in just one meal.
If you substitute your tea time namkeen or rusk with a handful of makhanas or 2-3 Marie biscuits, you can easily save another 200-300 calories. While colas, sodas, vitamin water etc, can pack 100-300 calories per serving and should totally be eliminated from everyone’s diet.
In the above examples we can see how these small dietary changes can easily bring you to a daily deficit of 1000-1500 calories and help you lose 1-1.5 kgs per week without much problems. Not only this, diet can improve the quality of sleep, stamina, skin condition, hair fall and improve your internal health while fixing up any endocrine mis-functions that you may be facing. Since diet can help you improve thyroid, diabetes, PCOD, insomnia and other metabolic disorders, it pushes your metabolism to work faster and burn more calories too. Thus, as far as weight loss is concerned, diet will go far more in helping you, rather than workout.