My Fight Against Flab – IV Eating-Right

As I mentioned earlier, I have been reasonably active through the years. The weight-reduction too has been proportional to the sustained workout intensity. I always enjoyed good food and saw no reason to curb the enthusiasm if I was exercising regularly. Over the passing years I have realized that my body is getting more stubborn and it is simply not enough to exercise more in order to enjoy food..

Blowing my trumpet!

My current diet pattern is low on calories. Home-cooked food and non-processed stuff. Combined with things like green-tea and heavy, sweaty, workouts, I am effectively on a constant detox-regime. It took me a few weeks of controlled diet and regular workout to decrease the quantity of my food-intake – and the result has been a shrunk stomach. I eat smaller portions, more frequently, with enough fluids. I eat when I am actually hungry, and not by the watch – even then because the workout timings are anchored around morning or evening routine, the meal-times and snack-times are more or less constant throughout the day.

The self-discipline that I have cultivated in my food-habits gives me the conviction of staying the course on healthy-weight. Even if I miss my workouts because I am traveling or unwell, the food-habits will ensure that I don’t balloon up! And that is really the key for anyone and everyone – exercise regularly and eat right!

Healthy Habits

Instead of detoxing occasionally, I am actually on a once-in-a-while retox diet – as in, I do enjoy pizza, McD, ice-cream sundaes with my kids, once in a while. And because I have changed my ways of snacking and eating out, it has a positive effect on my kids too – there are fewer junk items around the house to snack-on – biscuits, chocolates, cold-drinks, namkeens etc have been replaced by roasted-peanuts, puffed-rice, chikki (jaggery+peanut treat), dry-fruits, dark-bitter-chocolate and cranberry-juice. The kids love them equally well, though they are not completely weaned-off the junk-stuff.

I have no addictions – thankfully I never got hooked to tea, coffee, soda, soft or hard drinks. I have never smoked. But I do enjoy whiskey and vodka on occasions, just like I enjoy a good barbecue lunch at the fancy restaurants. But all this is once in a blue-moon, rarer than the junk-food treats with my kids.

In short, I relish all the gastronomical pleasures – just not daily, or weekly 🙂

Must Eats

Here is a short list of my must-haves:
  • Wakeup: Warm water with lemon. Add honey only if you think you need some energy for your exercise.
  • Breakfast 1: Two eggs, boiled, salt to taste; any other way the eggs will contain added fats. Don’t cut out the yolks altogether – they contain healthy things too.
  • Breakfast 2: Cut fruit for snack-breaks – melons, papaya, pomegranate, mango, kiwi, whatever. Make it a riot of colors! Let this be your primary snack-box.
  • Meals: Eat what you will normally, only a little less. Make up for the loss with salads and generous helping of low-fat curd.
  • Backup snacks: Dry-fruits (almonds, walnuts, cashews) with resins or salted peanuts or dark-chocolate – to taste. Always keep a pack with you for emergencies – like when you are stuck in traffic – follow up with water!
  • Secondary backup: Pack whole fruits like apples, guavas, etc. with you – they will be good for 2-3 days in your bag – even if you forget to eat them!
  • Evening snack: Cut-fruit or one of the backup-snacks above.
  • Evening tea: No tea. Go for a walk/run and drink 2-3 glasses of green-tea. Suppresses appetite; mops up free-radicals; warm water is awesome for nose & throat – esp. in Bangalore!
  • Dinner: Light meal. Eat less than your normal. If there is space to spare, a glass of juice is enough for top-up.
The list above is the whole-day’s schedule. The key is to be prepared. If you don’t pack ahead you are bound to give-in to hunger-pangs by going for the first edible piece of junk that you come across. Don’t get desperate; control your basic-instinct – don’t let your battery go to zero! Keep yourself fed, that’s why so many snacks, and you will not be tempted by other things.

Only Exercise is NOT Enough

Controlling food-intake is very important – it takes discipline. Exercise helps refill the limited-resource that is will-power. Do not fall into the trap of “rewarding” yourself for a good workout by “treating” yourself to food – it’s a slippery slope. If you are trying to shed weight (and also as we age) food needs to be necessity, not reward!

In the next blog I will cover food-groups to take. A variety is a must to not get bored, and to keep your resolve intact. Obviously, you need to stay away from alcohol, smoking, highly processed foods and pollution – they all cause cancer! You need to start loving natural foods – and fruits top that list.

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