There is no magic formula to weight loss; what you need is a strategy that makes your body use fat for energy. The most commonly practised strategies include –
1. Portion control: where you eat a lesser quantity of food. If you have been eating three chapatis, you reduce them to 2 etc.
2. Calorie deficit: this involves reducing the number of calories consumed. An average person needs between 1500 – 2000 calories, depending on factors like age, gender, weight etc. The calorie intake should not go below 1200, as that could be detrimental to health
3. Exercise: cardio (walking, running, jogging, cycling, etc.) helps in burning calories. Strength training and resistance training are other forms of exercise that aid weight loss, as they build muscle, which needs more calories to maintain
4. Hydration: water intake is essential for weight loss to occur. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
5. Restrictions: follow a restricted diet. Stay away from junk foods, aerated and other sweetened drinks, reduce fatty foods etc.
6. Eating healthily: a balanced diet, with the right amount of nutrients, is recommended. This includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and pulses, sprouts, nuts and seeds etc.
There are weight-loss diets that give promising results. In these diets, you don't go hungry or deprive yourself of nutrients. One such diet is called intermittent fasting (IF), it involves choosing specific eating periods, and fasting (not eating anything) during the rest. There are two methods of IF –
5:2 – in this method, you eat normally on five days of the week, and fast on two non-consecutive days. You can eat anything on the days you choose to eat but don't overshoot the calories. Spread the meals out to have 1500-1800 calories. On the days of fasting, you are allowed 500 calories. This can be had as one meal, or split into small meals. Low calorie, high fibre foods are filling, and subside hunger, and can be eaten on the day of fast. Low-calorie fruits, raw vegetables, such as cucumber, and maybe a carrot, sprouts, a few almonds, a chicken breast etc., can be eaten to add up the 500 calories.
16:8 – this method involves eating in an eight-hour eating window and fasting for 16 hours. It is easy to fit three meals in this pattern of eating, provided you reorganise your eating schedule. If you eat dinner at 19:00 hours, your next meal would be at 11:00 hours, this could be a late breakfast or a brunch. Alternatively, you can have lunch or a snack between now and dinner. The timings are flexible; you choose your eating window and stick to it. This method doesn't deprive you of nutrients and aids weight loss.
There are many online tools, that allow you to track calories consumption. Make use of them, to get the numbers right.
Other things that you can do are –
1. Cut out sugars from your diet
2. Reduce carbohydrates
3. Get enough sleep
4. Drink methi-danna water
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