As an Integrative Nutritionist and Life Coach, I never fail to surprise my clients by constantly stressing on the point of how not eating the right foods is making them gain weight. It's a vital factor when it comes to losing weight.
The right foods matter both for gaining weight and losing those extra inches, which depends on calories in and calories out. What is most important though is where these calories are coming from! That will decide the proportion of lean muscle mass compared to the fat in a body. The more muscle mass, the better the metabolic rate vs more the fat content, more sluggish the metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn at rest. That’s why I love weight training to lose those stubborn inches. The amount of lean muscle mass and fat depends mainly on nutrition. What we eat is what we lose!
Start your day with low glycemic index foods so you don’t raise your blood sugar levels on an empty stomach. If you start your day with a fruit, then an apple would be great to eat or if you need a filling meal, give it a complex fibrous food like eggs/tofu on multigrain toast with some mushrooms and coffee/tea/herbal tea.
This only makes you gain layers and layers of inches on your arms, thighs, glutes, back or chest depending on where your tendency is to pile on those calories. Keep yourself busy with some sport, reading or helping someone out with chores. Boredom can lead to binging and junking, so get productive or help around the house.
Chronic stress makes you eat mindlessly and you can slowly see yourself adding those inches to your muscles. Cortisol, the stress hormone, used to be our friend in Flintstone days to fight or flight and help us run. Today, we are sitting in our cars stressing about reaching work or awaiting exam results. Chronic stress is the most common reason for weight gain.
Eating a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fibre keeps hunger pangs at bay. All traditional meals have been eaten in a similar fashion. Like Roti+sabzi+daal+salad+chaas or soup+pasta+boiled vegetables on the side. Reach out for whole grains and lean proteins instead of chips or cookies to keep those inches off.
If you are hungry, eat at that time, don’t wait till you get cranky and get ravenous. Listening to your body when it is hungry and indulging in satiating yummy yet healthy mid meals, can make you crave less for junk foods, refined sugars and heavy fats. So, how about some hummus with vegetable sticks or coconut water with the flesh or some mixed nuts and seeds or some multigrain crackers and cheese or peanut butter? All healthy satiating foods will stave off your cravings for junk.
Being down to earth (literally) also helps in inch loss. Eat what we ate as apes such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and water. Try and incorporate 80% of it in all your meals.
The best way to lose those inches for all my clients has been eating right, at the right time and cooking healthy, yet yummy, meals.
Payal Kothari is an Integrative Nutritionist, Life Coach and NLP Expert.