When you get pregnant, you naturally tend to put on weight due to food cravings. This was what happened to me too. I was stupid enough to think that all the fat would go away once the baby was born. But to my disappointment, I just lost 1 kilo! And even worse, the baby’s weight was below normal range. It is a terrible feeling when your weight zooms from 58 to 72 kg in just a year. I was determined to get back to shape but in a natural and healthy way. No slimming package, no fad diets- just adopt a healthy lifestyle. Yes, I struggled for the first few weeks, got disappointed and frustrated but pushed myself since I was desperate to get back into shape, and in turn my confidence. Read on to find out how I was able to do it, and so can you.
What is the major obstacle you face when trying to be healthy? Your cravings.
What causes cravings? Basically sugar, salt and fried food. So let us look at how to limit those culprits without your body realising it.
We all know that limiting sweets and salty snacks is the first step towards healthy eating. Sounds all too familiar. But how? Simple –
- Don’t buy them.If you don’t stock them in your pantry eventually you will stop looking for them. Make it clear to your guests, hosts and friends that you and your family are against those. Added benefit- you might even influence them to embark on this journey towards a healthy lifestyle, along with you.
- Do you have a sweet tooth? Try reaching out for fruits or dry fruits when you start craving.
- The trick is to start small and proceed step by step. Reduce the sugar in your coffee gradually from 2 tsp to 1 1/2 for a few weeks, then to 1 tsp.
- Try replacing white sugar with brown sugar or honey. Less refined, so lesser evil.
- If you are used to drinking flavoured milk (which is laden with sugar) replace 1/2 cup with low-fat plain milk.
Read this for tips on healthy home cooking.
- Adding additional flavour to your dish will help reduce salt without compromising on the taste. Use the same method. Train your taste buds by starting small and proceed step by step.
- Avoid boiling veggies with salt. Adding salt later will help preserve nutrients.
- Replace common salt with black salt, which is rich in minerals.
- Another option is to replace salt with soy sauce.
- To repeat, healthy eating starts at the level of grocery shopping.So avoid the snacks section or at least limit the quantity. Never fall into the marketing trap like the ‘buy one get one’ or ‘value pack’ offers. Buy smaller packs even if they cost more.
- Not all carbs are bad for you. It is the family of refined carbohydrates that you should avoid. Muffins, bagels, white bread, cakes, cookies, white rice, pasta are some of them.
- Replace white rice with brown rice. Again, do it step by step- first, replace 1/4 parts of white rice with brown, then make it 1/2, then 3/4 until you replace entirely.
- Millets, quinoa and oats are other high fibre healthy options.
- Replace rice vermicelli with the brown rice variety.
- Ask for these healthier options when you eat out too.
- While shopping for bread and other baked food, don’t be fooled by the phrase “wholemeal”; find out how much whole meal is in there. There should be at least 70 percent.
- “Multigrain” is not necessarily whole grain. It may be a combination of refined grains.
- If you cannot resist cookies, opt for oatmeal or digestives which have more fibre.
For tips on more healthy substitutes read this.
- Invest in a conventional oven if you don’t have one already. Be it vegetables, meat or fish, roasting rather than deep frying is easier, tastier and healthier. Try making french fries in the oven. They taste as good as the fried ones.
- To satisfy your craving for fried food, try recipes that require shallow frying.
- Alternate different oils in your cooking- since each oil has a different boiling point, for eg., sesame oil has a lower boiling point than sunflower oil. So use sunflower oil when high heat is required for cooking. Olive oil turns rancid when heated. Use it only in salads and cold soups.
- There is no oil that is ‘light or ‘fat-free’ when it comes to deep-frying. So don’t trust those misleading advertisements.
- When you do grocery shopping, buy oil in smaller packs, like 1 litre or 500 ml so that you can have a check on the amount of oil you use.
In addition to these changes in my diet, my workout schedule was 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week. Needless to say, eating right and physical exercise go hand in hand. Trust me, it is easier than we think it is. As we always say, discipline is key to health and fitness.
Is there anything I’m missing out or have you had similar experiences? Please share: