Diet diary: Make these new year promises and keep them

Improve overall health through a lifelong commitment to healthy lifestyle rather than focusing on achieving a specific weight

Written by Ishi Khosla | Published:January 2, 2016 1:31 am

balanced diet759Exercise regularly along with resistance exercises like weight training

Exercise is a must. Exercise combined with diet helps to preserve lean body mass (like muscle and bone mass) more efficiently during weight loss compared to weight loss with diet alone. When diets are combined with exercise, weight loss is likely to be sustained for longer. Research has compared individuals on calorie restricted diets and those on calorie restricted diets with moderate to intense exercise. While the results showed the same amount of total weight loss in both the groups, increased physical activity prevented relapse after weight loss. Several studies have shown that those who keep up a higher level of physical activity are more successful in maintaining their reduced body weight.

Exercise also makes you feel wonderfully alive because it triggers the release of endorphins — chemicals in the brain that make you feel generally happier, calmer and clear-headed. Choose some thing that you enjoy doing. It could be the gym, yoga or a sport. Make it a fun thing and make it a part of your time together. Again, remember that a variety of exercises is better than one single one. Aerobic, flexibility through stretches, and muscle strength all are needed.

Plan your diet on a daily basis

** Plan your activities and food in advance. Shop smart. Ensure access and availability of appropriate foods.

** Choose adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables like aamla, citrus fruits, tomatoes, green peppers, green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, and strawberries to ensure adequate Vitamin C.

** Choose whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat; pulses, nuts and seeds, low fat dairy, seafood, lean meats, green leafy vegetables and wheat germ to ensure adequate intake of Vitamin B and zinc.

** Minimise intake of white flour, white rice and sugar.

** Avoid junk food and poor quality fat (hydrogenated, trans-fats).

** Include good quality fat through natural sources like nuts, seeds, fatty fish and cold pressed oils.

** Snack smart on fresh fruits, dry fruits, nuts, seeds, roasted whole grains, soups, salads, and yogurt.

** Drink plenty of fluids and remain well hydrated. Green tea, jasmine tea, camomile tea help calm the mind.

** Take tea, coffee and alcohol in moderation.

Maintain a food diary

The first step to improve your diet is to increase awareness — what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. This is virtually a ‘reality check’ and there is nothing more powerful than a food diary. A simple objective tool helps you track exactly what you really eat.

Food diary will show you whether you include all the food groups in adequate amounts, the variety of foods you consume, the amount of sugar and undesirable foods and the frequency of intake. After completing your food diary, you can analyse the foods you have listed by comparing them to the five recommendations for healthy eating. So next time you resolve to improve your diet, start by reaching out for a pen and a paper.

Pamper your skin

Clear, glowing skin reflects overall health. This requires a well-balanced fibre-rich diet, plenty of fluids, regular exercise, quitting smoking and avoiding excessive exposure to sun. The important nutrients for skin include proteins, essential fats, vitamin A, E, C, B complex, selenium, zinc and copper. A good combination of plant and animal protein would include soya, low-fat dairy, lean meat and fish. Essential fatty acids (linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid) which are found in seed oils are important in maintaining lustrous skin. Fatty fish, flaxseeds and evening primrose oil provide essential fatty acids needed for skin maintenance.

Foods that must be included on regular basis include fresh vegetable juices, yogurt, turmeric, wheat germ, plant proteins (daals, sprouts, soy), brightly coloured vegetables and fruits, aamla, fish, flaxseeds and other seeds, nuts, avocados and plenty of fluids. Holiday regularly

Be it a cruise, hill holidays or beach vacation, a vacation is meant to recharge your energies and refresh you to cope with routine and work pressures. Some checks and balances are all that is needed to avoid gaining extra kilos during your vacation:

** If possible, schedule holiday dinners at normal meal times.

** Watch your drinks: Avoid sweetened beverages, fruit juices, mocktails and cocktails. Diet beverages made with artificial sweeteners can help control calories at celebrations. Count your alcohol, as it can be a major source of hidden calories as well.

** Choose one significant meal for the day and plan the other meals accordingly. Keep them light, with plenty of salads, vegetables and soups.

** If you are very keen on desserts, then take a bite. If you want a full portion, just have a very light meal.

** Carry appropriate snack food to munch like seeds, roasted nuts or whole grains.

Focus on making lifestyle changes, which include eating right, getting plenty of exercise, thinking positively and learning to cope with stress.

 

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India