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Diet Diary: Don’t starve, eat ‘mindfully’ to lose weight

It is estimated that 95 per cent of all those who lost weight through a diet put it back on.

Written by Ishi Khosla |
Updated: May 9, 2015 10:49:14 am
Most of us do not stop eating even when we are full. Most of us do not stop eating even when we are full.

We all know of people who lost a lot of weight and kept it off permanently. And we know many more who started diets and gave up or who started a diet, lost weight and regained more than what they had started with.

It is estimated that 95 per cent of all those who lost weight through a diet put it back on. This is because most diets are deprivation diets. That is the reason most fail to sustain the weight loss.

Then, why is it that despite knowing the basics we continue to eat wrong or overeat?

Scientific findings from researches in psychology and marketing have provided some insights into eating behaviour. The identification of individual behaviours, perceptions and beliefs associated with eating is key to improving the efficacy of dietary treatment and lifestyle modifications in obese and overweight individuals. From these have emerged powerful principles which can improve therapeutic strategies and outcomes in weight loss.

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Before embarking on at altered lifestyle programme, it is important to know why you have chosen it — what are the motivational issues compelling you to start; if you are you open to change; and if you ready for ‘mindful eating’?

Almost all of us would have indulged in mindless eating at some point in our lives. Eating without hunger because of external or environmental cues, simply for pleasure or for comfort is something we all do, no matter how literate we are about diets and nutrition facts. Most of us do not stop eating even when we are full.

Here are some tips to help keep you from doing so.

*Stop eating when you are “no longer hungry”, and not when you are “full”. The saying to stop eating when you have still have hunger for one more chappati, i.e. you are 80 per cent full.

*‘Pre-plate’ your food. According to research, people eat about 14 per cent less than when they take smaller amounts and then go back for seconds and thirds. Mostly people tend to eat less if they put everything on their plate like in a ‘thali’ or the Japanese ‘Bento Box’ because they are able to see how much they are going to eat.

*Don’t keep unhealthy food in your room or home.

*Follow the half-plate rule, whereby at least half your plate should be occupied only with vegetables and fruits. The other half should be divided between protein and starch.

*Beware of ‘smart marketing’. Many so called ‘diet or health foods’ may be impart higher calories, fat or sugar than the regular ones.

*Keeping a food diary helps. Next time you resolve to improve your diet, start by penning it down.
*A good diet should teach you to eat rather than avoid or deprive. The best diet is the one you don’t know, you are on. “Diet” must be a way of life.


Ishi Khosla is a former senior nutritionist at Escorts. She heads the Centre of Dietary Counselling and also runs a health food store. She feels that for complete well-being, one should integrate physical, mental and spiritual health. According to her: “To be healthy should be the ultimate goal for all.”

📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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