10 Things to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight
Dietician Mitun de Darkar lists the 10 things you need to keep in mind to shed those extra kilos!
1) Follow fad diets/ celebrity diets
Size zero? 6 pack a la Hrithik? Every celebrity has a ‘secret’ training and diet schedule, which is inspiring and often shared widely. These diets are not only short term, but without proper guidance and supervision, can be downright dangerous. These stars have their dietitians and trainers watching them 24/7. Just like not everyone can carry off a Ranveer Singh’s sense of fashion, following fad diets is not everyone’s cup of tea.
2) Have Too many Teas
Saw the latest ad on Facebook promoting a ‘miracle tea’ that helps you lose weight and get healthy? If these claims were true, wonder why have none of the major cosmetic or pharmaceutical companies ‘discovered’ such benefits! Truth be told, the composition of these over the counter ‘miracle teas’ are not clearly known. Scientific sounding names do not ensure anything. Some of such ‘herbal’ teas could containing harmful diuretics and stimulants which can impact your health adversely.
3) Check weight everyday
There are substantial swings in weight range of any individual based on circumstances. Had a big night out with 3 am munchies? The next day your scale is going to go ‘tch tch’. Slept well and had a good workout? Your scale will says ‘woo hoo’! Also, there are calibration issues with home weighing scales. The best way to track weight loss goals is at a professional’s office/clinic as the weighing scales are correctly calibrated or proper digital scales bought from the pharmacy. Usually, the check should be done on a weekly / bi monthly or even monthly intervals for a more accurate picture of the real weight loss.
4) Exercise excessively
Most health and fitness articles sing praises of HIIT workouts, cross fit style workouts etc and often deride steady state cardio. Although HIIT and cross fit style workouts are beneficial, they also take a substantial toll on the body and require long periods of rest, to ensure recovery. They also have a tendency to sap your energy for the rest of the day. If you have the time to follow the rigorous demands of workouts that require optimum nutrition and rest, go for it. For the rest, it is best to exercise moderation. A workout should be challenging, not exhausting.
5) Not getting enough sleep
Our bodies work best with adequate sleep, and weight loss is no exception. Lack of sleep affects metabolic activity, which in turn slows down the rate at which we utilize calories. And then come the empty, sweet calories you will be tempted to consume when you are tired, awake and at work. Sounds familiar? Lack of sleep has similar effects on the body and the brain.
Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Excessive stress wreaks havoc on your system, internally and externally. From suppressed immune system to weight gain/loss (this is NOT the kind of weight loss you want) to skin problems and fatigue, the list is endless. While some stresses are unavoidable, we can do our best to mitigate them. I personally like to meditate and go for walks to settle my anxieties. One way to recognize stress is your eating habits, if you are binge eating or losing appetite. Don’t take either lightly, talk to someone who can help.
7) Starve yourself
A common misconception is that less is better. Starving yourself or following very low calorie diets (especially ones not from natural sources) may result in temporary weight loss, but as with most sudden changes, the body fights back with fatigue, hairloss, bad skin and bad breath (eww). And once these unsustainable diets stop, most weight that is lost rebounds. Seek guidance from a qualified professional to tailor make diet plans for you to ensure steady and more importantly, sustained weight loss. If you gained weight over the years, don’t expect it to disappear in days.
8) Od on protein
Personal trainers are great to learn exercise routines and correct form whilst practising complex compound lifts. However, the popular mantra ruling the personal trainer community is “Protein, Protein, Protein”. While protein is absolutely essential for the body’s optimum functioning, every person has different requirements. Taking more than the required quantities of protein results in added stress on the kidneys and liver and the unutilized protein does get converted either to waste or to fat.
9) Give Up
Weight loss takes time and it should take time. Any weight lost rapidly is likely to come back with a vengeance. Sustained weight loss is achieved through following a well-balanced diet and exercise program. While the progress seems painfully slow in the beginning, it not only speeds up but it is sustainable and more rewarding. Another form of giving up is going back to old ways (that caused the weight gain in the first place) once the target weight has been achieved. Moral of the story: Do Not Give Up. Reward yourself along the way with new clothes, a well-deserved massage or occasional cheat day.
10) Not having a cheat day
A carefully planned cheat day is the most fun you can have with food during your weight loss journey. If you follow a lower than normal calorie diet for long periods of time, your body gets used to it and slows down your metabolism to pre diet levels. A cheat day (not days!) can help in giving the metabolism a much needed jolt every now and then. Plan your cheat day, when you have cravings, note them down and when the day comes go have fun. A tip for the cheat day is to ensure you start your day well and then have a few naughty indulgences spread throughout the day.