Nothing, upon nothing beats a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit, veg, whole grains, lean mean and fish. Please do not look for the quick fix, there is not one, it is a lifestyle change (you know this, you have heard it before).
Do not adopt the tiny breakfast, a tiny lunch and a bigger dinner, if anything do it the other way around (although this too is an extreme).
Eat small balanced meals often, if each meal has wholegrain carbs, protein and fats you will feel full for longer, be fuelled up and have a good source of vitamins and fibre, you will feel better.
Don’t count calories as much, they are not all equal and a chocolate bar at lunch does not mean you should eat less of the healthy foods, if anything and you must snack have it ‘as well as’ on the odd occasion.
If you are aiming to shed fat you need to have your body in a calorie deficient state, start slow 200-300kcals per day below what your body uses (including excercise).
Your basic 'lose fat' diet shouldbe constructed quite simply
High protein (lean proteins)
Low carbs (made from wholegrains, vegetables and some fruit)
Moderate fats (good fats from nuts, oily fish, seeds and olive oils)
A few 'myths' busted here
“Drinking lots of water will help me lose weight.”
Myth-Buster: Many film stars attribute their newly chiseled body to ‘lots and lots of water’. It is important to keep the body hydrated but drinking too much water does not, in any way, cause weight loss. There are some who believe that drinking water will boost metabolism and flush away fats. Sorry – not true. Then there are some who drink to ‘feel full’ and delay hunger. Hunger is your body’s call for nutrients and energy. Washing it away with water will not satiate it. Also, it is better to drink before and during exercise. A large intake of water after a workout could cause water retention and problems with urination. Downing bottles of water in an air-conditioned setting will again cause water retention and bloating, as you won’t perspire. So don’t overdo the H2O habit!
“If I eat after 8 p.m. I’ll put on more weight.”
Myth-Buster: Wait, food doesn’t know time! And if it does, then you could gorge on pastries and pasta in the afternoon and still manage to lose weight. That doesn’t happen, which brings me back to the point. Food doesn’t know time. Granted, the body burns more fat when you’re more active, less fat when you’re less active. But it does not store fat depending upon the time of the day! Fat storage depends on your basal metabolic rate (BMR). So it’s not when you eat – but what you eat that makes all the difference.
“I will gain weight if I stop smoking.“
Myth-Buster: This is just another excuse to not quit! Nicotine does increase the body’s metabolism to some extent, but it isn’t enough to cause weight loss – so obviously, it will not cause weight gain either. The only way a smoker can gain weight after quitting is if he turns to comfort-foods like chips and chocolate. It’s best to snack on sugar-free gum or vegetable strips, or oranges to keep your hands occupied till the craving to light that cigarette goes away.
“Fats are bad for me!”
Myth-Buster: Fats are necessary for you. The body needs fat for energy, tissue repair and to transport vitamins A, D, E and K around the body. So if you want to maintain a healthy heart while still having your fats, cut down on saturated fats and opt for ‘good fats’. Walnuts, flaxseeds and fish are sources of essential fats. Olive oil is heart-friendly. Rice bran oil is equally healthy and more suited to Indian cooking.
“Carbohydrates are bad for me!”
Myth-Buster: Carbs are also necessary for you. Of late, many models have been encouraging low-carb, high-protein diets. Don’t forget, models spend long hours exercising in conjunction with diets, and have fitness experts to guide them. So don’t fall for this one. Carbohydrates are sugars which the body can break down easily, to provide it with energy. Eating fewer than 130 grams of carbs a day can cause gout, kidney stones and is especially risky for diabetics and pregnant women. So cut back on refined carbs such as soda and foods made with white flour, complex carbs like sugar and starch. Load up on healthy carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
“Cholesterol is bad for me!”
Myth-Buster: Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made mostly by the liver. We all need some blood cholesterol because it’s used to build cells and make vital hormones. It is bad only if it is ‘bad cholestrol’ called LDL (low density lipoprotein). Saturated fats found in foods like meat, cheese, cream, butter, cake and other processed foods raise LDL which delivers cholesterol to the arteries and results in heart disease. On the other hand, HDL (high density lipoprotein) or ‘good cholestrol’ transports cholesterol away from the arteries, back to the liver. Go for unsaturated fats like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds as they make HDL.
“Low-fat snacks will help me lose weight.”
Myth-Buster: Baked cheese crisps are truly a dieter’s delight, right? Wrong! First off, baking as a process needs some amount of fat for greasing. Try squishing any ‘baked’ snack; your fingers will be left feeling greasy. And how’s cheese considered low-fat anyway? Now for the popular Indian ‘diet’ snacks. Diet chivda, diet chakli, diet khakra, and the likes. They are promoted as low-fat alternatives. Be warned, low-fat does not mean low-calorie! Extra sugars and thickeners are often added to boost flavour and texture, so calorie content may be similar to standard products. Also, when you know a snack is low-fat, you’re psychologically going to feel safe about it – as a result, end up having thrice as much as you’d have otherwise consumed! You’d rather stick to standard snacks and limit your intake.
“Grapefruit, acai berry and cabbage soup cause weight loss.”
Myth-Buster: Urban legend? Absolutely! Some foods help in speeding up metabolism and govern the way your body uses calories for a short time. But there is absolutely no food that can directly burn fat or cause weight loss.
“I can eat all I want as long as I exercise.”
Myth-Buster: When you eat ‘all you want’ most of the food gets stored as fat. It doesn’t wait until you make your way to the gym and exercise. By the time you decide to work out, it’s already too late and too difficult to burn off that stored fat. So you may have added fat in one day, but burning it off will take one month, or more! Besides, exercise can not undo the damage caused by unhealthy junk foods. So watch your bite, even if you exercise.
“Crash dieting will make me visibly thin.”
Myth-Buster: Sure, for a short period of time. In the long run, crash dieting will only backfire. Here’s how. Crash dieting or fasting will start depleting fat - but also lean muscle and tissue. The loss of lean muscle will cause a fall in your (BMR). As a result, it will get more and more difficult for you to burn fat and lose weight. There are high chances you will get frustrated and end up binging, packing on more pounds than you had lost. So no - crash dieting will not make you thin. If you still want to give it a shot, be prepared for hair loss, dizziness, bad breath, dark circles and crinkled skin!