For the last many years (15 years to be precise), my weight has been more or less constant. It’s been 58 kgs for my 5ft 2in height which is considered normal. Even though I eat everything without any dieting or follow any special and fancy diet plan, I have never put on more than one kg weight ever.
So, how do I do it? Today, I see everyone struggling with their weight. I know many people (including friends and family) who claim they don’t eat any unhealthy and junk food still gain weight continuously. So, what am I doing differently?
This observation really put me thinking and reflecting on my everyday habits. It also made me research a little about our bodies.
Our Body Is A Machine
Our body is like a machine. It requires fuel to work and maintenance for better performance. Simple mathematics defines weight loss and gain. The calorie intake is directly proportional to the work done throughout the day. If our energy consumption is more than the energy produced by the body then we will experience weight loss and vice versa. The main reason for weight gain in a normal person is the lack of activity. Here, I’m not talking about a person who gains weight because of any medical problem.
Reasons For Weight Gain
In earlier times, no one ever complained of weight gain and lifestyle diseases. Only the kings who never went to war experienced this rich disease. Have you thought about the reason behind this?
The main reason was that in ancient times life was very difficult. Everyone in the house had to do day to day chores themselves without any paid help and they never had enough money to afford a rich and calorie-ridden diet. Whatever little money they used to earn was used up in fulfilling various needs. So, they had simple and locally available foods. This diet was usually fresh because it was locally grown and there were no refrigerators to store the food and eat later. The fresh and low-calorie food ensured that all remained healthy.
With the advent of new technologies and improvements in the lifestyle of all, we became more and more comfortable. New gadgets came to make our lives easy and house help also became easy to find with more and more people from villages migrating to cities for work.
With globalization, foods from all around the world became available to us. It’s a known fact that the food on which we have grown up never increase our weight but any food unknown to our body contributes to fat if taken in large quantities. Pizza and Pasta will never affect Italians but add several inches to the waistline to people all around the world.
Our diet became richer and richer and our life became easier. So, the mathematics of calorie in calorie out messed up. We consumed more calories than we could use.
This does not mean that we should leave our comfortable lifestyle and go back to hard work in order to reduce weight. While having all the comforts we can still remain healthy and slim by making small changes in our daily lives.
Key To Never Gaining Weight
Now I’ll take you through a detailed step by step method to beat and win this calorie game so that you can eat everything carefree of gaining any unwanted weight. I’m following all these steps for many years, though unknowingly, that this was the reason for my constant weight throughout my life.
- Regular Exercise
Again and again, you must have heard the benefits of exercise. It’s the one and only way to remain healthy and disease-free. Just as your car requires a drive every few days otherwise the battery will be dead, our body too needs exercise every day.
So, ditch that early morning sleep a little and start getting up early so that you get time to exercise. If opting for Yoga, it should be done empty stomach or in the late evening when our lunch is fully digested.
If you are more into vigorous workouts, it’s better to have a filling but healthy breakfast at least one hour before so that you have sufficient power and don’t feel weakness and dizziness while exercising.
I have been exercising regularly for many years and reaping its benefits. I combine many forms of workouts to get the maximum result. A combination of fast aerobics with yoga proves most beneficial for me.
2. Good Eating Habits
Ok, this is a no brainer that our health is directly affected by what we eat. I can’t stress enough the importance of good eating habits. These habits have to be inculcated since childhood. When it comes to eating the food you like, moderation is the key.
Yes, you can eat whatever you like, but in moderation; you need to know when to stop and how often you can eat calorie-ridden junk food. That’s why the festivals all around the world are spaced such as not to encourage sweets and oily food to be eaten every day. If you eat such foods only on special occasions and festivals, it’ll never increase your weight.
Researches prove that locally grown traditional food which we eat since our childhood is always good for us. Our bodies get adapted to homemade food which our mothers feed us when we are baby and even after growing up, these never contribute to weight gain. But with globalization, we got exposed to cuisines from all around the world and since we love changes so started trying those exotic foods. Now when this foreign diet is taken in moderation and sparsely, it’s ok but the problem arises when we become addicted to it.
So, to remain slim and not gain unnecessary weight it’s important that you stick to your traditional food every day with some healthy changes. As for the exotic cuisine, let that be exotic by having it on a special occasion.
3. Breakfast Like A King
Are you one of those who keep delaying breakfast till late morning? If you are guilty of this habit, change it today because it’s very important that we should eat within the first hour of getting up.
I’ve never skipped my breakfast ever and have always eaten a hearty one within an hour after waking up. I didn’t know that this is one of the reasons why I never gained weight. But now there are numerous researches on the net that prove this theory.
Breakfast literally means breaking fast. Our bodies are low on energy levels in the morning and breaking the fast after the night’s sleep gets your metabolism kicking in, resulting in weight loss. It’s also seen if you skip or eat a very light breakfast, it can end up eating heavy lunch and snacking throughout the day. Eating a healthy and heavy breakfast ensures that our bodies feel replenished and doesn’t need food again and again.
Bottomline: Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper
4. Never Starve Yourself
While we rarely admit it, our bodies and brain are way too intelligent. If we think that we starve ourselves to lose weight, it can backfire too. By starving your body we are sending the message to the brain that there’s a scarcity of food. When there’s a scarcity of materials what do we do? Yes, we start saving and hoarding it for difficult times. The same is done by our brain too. We know that our body requires energy to do work and that energy comes from stored fats. So, when we are giving lesser food than required, our body does what it should do to preserve energy. It starts storing all the food in form of fats!
While you are under the impression that you are eating less so it’ll decrease your weight, the opposite happens. Now you have to understand the difference between overeating and eating when required.
5. Eat Smaller Portions
Instead of eating heavy meals thrice a day, it’s better to eat five or six smaller meals. Breakfast should be heavy but the next meals can be light and healthy. If you focus only on lunch and late dinner, the probability is that it’ll end in overeating because your body will be depleted by then. This extra food will sit undigested for a long time resulting in bloating, indigestion, heaviness and ultimately weight gain.
Make it a habit to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your fridge and pop it whenever you feel the urge for snacking. These are easy to digest and high in nutrition.
I usually take a heavy breakfast around 8:30 am, then a fruit around 11. Lunch at 2 pm, then evening coffee with light biscuits at 5 pm and lastly a light dinner at 8 pm.
In many cultures(including mine) there’s a custom to observe fast on special days. Though it is associated with religion, its health benefits are now being recognised. In Indian culture, there are many days in a month where one has to observe fast, which involves no food or water in some, while one light meal in a day in others.
Our ancestors were really knowledgeable and knew the health benefits of fasting so they cunningly devised the system of fasting in the name of religion so that more and more people will do it and get benefited in turn.
It’s best to observe a fast once a week. Choose any day and fix it to eat a light meal including only fruits and fresh vegetables. No cereal for a day. Giving our digestive system a rest for one day helps it recuperate from our unhealthy eating habits and flushes out toxins from our body.
I’m keeping fast every Monday for the last 15 years. On that day I have only a light vegetarian meal once in the evening. It helps in making me feel light throughout the week.
7. Eat More And More Home-made Food
I know it’s very difficult in today’s world to prepare a balanced homemade meal every day. But trust me, the readymade frozen food which you pop in the microwave adds several inches and kgs to your body. While it's difficult to prepare meals every day especially if both the partners are working, what I recommend is to keep aside a day(preferably Saturday) and make a few dishes and store them in the freezer.
I am a stay at home mom so it's easy for me to prepare a fresh meal every day for me and my family but for working women/men, it’s perfectly ok to make 3–4 dishes in a day and take out one from the freezer when required. Homemade frozen food is many times better than readymade frozen food available in supermarkets and needless to say it's economical too.
8. Include More Vegetarian Food
Day by day researches are proving the merit of eating vegetarian food over meats. I’m lucky in this because Indian cuisine offers a large variety of vegetarian food which are tasty and nutritious. All over the world what Indian food we get doesn’t represent the real picture. Indian food is very customizable and you can add or remove spices according to your taste and the dish will still come out delicious.
A vegetarian diet provides all the nutrition in a balanced and easy to digest form. I’m not a pure vegetarian but I eat non-veg (mutton, chicken and fish) food only once or twice a month. It’s a wrong notion that we can’t get protein and calcium from a vegetarian diet. There are many options which you can include to get a properly balanced diet.
I’m not telling you to leave non-veg food completely but it’ll be better if you go at least two to three days fully vegetarian in a week. A vegetarian diet does wonders for your skin too.
9. Proper Sleep
Yes, it's very important for our body to get complete rest to ensure proper function. For an adult, 6 to 8 hours of sleep is required each day. Now we keep hearing our parents and elders to sleep early and get up early for a healthy body, it’s not mandatory that you sleep sharp at 10 and get up at 6 in the morning otherwise you won’t be considered healthy. We can sleep late and get up late if we are not morning people. It’s perfectly ok. The problem arises when we start neglecting sleep and go to bed very late though have to catch that 7 trains for work.
With growing demands at the workplace and the high availability of entertainment options, our sleep suffers the most. We want the best of both worlds, late hours at work to impress the boss and binge-watching those web series after coming home. But we are totally unaware that this plays havoc with our sleep cycles and digestive system in turn.
So, for the sake of your body, and overall health you have to maintain a balance between all to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep of at least 6 hours.
These are a few things that I’m doing differently from others and they have helped me in maintaining a healthy slim body free of any disease and illnesses. Trust me once you start leading a healthy life, it’ll become a habit very soon and you will never do anything which is not in the interest of your body.
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