Every body is unique and fat gain for every body has a unique story. Therefore, there are no generic guidelines for weight loss. However, there are some important aspects and dimensions to watch out for, if someone is gaining weight.
Firstly, weight loss strategies differ for men and women especially for age groups between 18 - 35. For a woman, the hormones greatly impact weight gain soon after puberty. Health issues like PCOD / PCOS aggravate weight gain which could impact the thyroid functioning as well. Hence it is very important to recognize if the gain is due to imbalance in hormonal functioning or just weight gain due to pure fat gain. Insulin resistant diets which typically constitute higher portions of complex carbohydrates, adequate lean protein and sufficient good fats work for women suffering from PCOD / PCOS, Thyroid, hormonal imbalances. Men / women gaining weight purely due to fat gain., need to focus on balancing caloric intake and adequate exercise.
Secondly, emotional eating, stress eating & cravings is another reason why people gain weight at this age. Most of these habits show up from early evening to late night. Also foods that we consume to satiate our cravings or manage emotions / stress are largely empty calories and also high in calories. If people are experiencing such issues., then protein rich breakfast with complex carbohydrates help in reducing the cravings through the day. 30 – 45-minute exercise in an uncomfortable zone and lifestyle movements of 10000 steps every day aid in fat metabolism and therefore reduce cravings. Adequate exercise also aids in releasing of happy hormones like serotonin, reduces stress levels, naturally brings in discipline to the day and improves the quality of sleep. This greatly reduces emotional and stress eating. Hence reducing the consumption of calories which aids weight loss.
Thirdly, focusing on consumption of low calorie, nutrient dense foods like vegetables and fruits help in naturally reducing calories and also inadvertently work as portion control. Vegetables cooked as less as possible aid in weight loss. Raw, stir-fried, sautéed vegetables cooked for 7 – 10 minutes or less at the start of the meal not only preserves the nutrients, but also work inherently as portion control. Fruits have great antioxidants, are rich in flavonoids and therefore must be a part of healthy active lifestyle. They are natural sources of glucose and fructose which are sugars, and therefore are great healthy substitutes for sweet cravings. However, for better results in weight loss, vegetables consumption has to be higher than fruits during the day. 3 to 4 portions of vegetables in the form as mentioned is best suited for weight loss, where as 1 – 2 portions of fruit limited to not more than 100 – 150 grams per serving is ideal. A Fruit has to be consumed as a stand alone meal or at the start of the meal and before 6 pm to get the best health benefits of a fruit.
Finally, for a successful weight loss journey, focus on sustainability, enjoy the process and be mindful of your food and lifestyle choices. Starvation or following a lifestyle which inherently has deprivation of your favorite foods is self-limiting. You may experience initial success but is not sustainable. Hence don’t give up your favorite foods. Best time to indulge in your favorite foods is between 4 pm – 6 pm and plan your day well. 4 pm – 6 pm is a time when the body can still metabolize carbs and empty calories more efficiently. Also it gives an opportunity to balance calories the rest of day through food and exercise.
Deepika Chalasani is a Clinical Nutritionist, Mind and Body Transformation Coach and co-founder of Fit4Life India, an integrated nutrition and wellness organisation for Indians that provides complete solutions, addressing health and wellness challenges of individuals by working on their overall well being. Deepika, best nutritionist in Hyderabad for weight loss and online dietician can be contacted via email email@example.com or Mobile +91 94910 11202.