In the age of casually passing health tips that make it easy to fall into the trap of fitness misconceptions, few know that a glass of detox water alone cannot make you healthy nor help you loose weight as health experts assert that there is a combination of activities and a complete meal plan that needs to be followed, throughout the day and done the right way, to be able to see the benefits. It is no secret that the number of food challenges and the competition to flaunt culinary skills on social media platforms during the quarantine made one and all succumb to the pressure of binge eating calories while those who tried to stick to a diet plan were left feeling hungry or unsatisfied.
A major bane of months of Covid-19 lockdowns and work from home routine was that it cut down massively on our outdoor activities and added extra unwanted kilos to our couch potato selves. While regular exercise and working out is crucial to seeing a difference in our weighing scale, some achievable changes to our diets and simple tricks can speed up the weight loss process.
However, sticking to the diet becomes very difficult when one is trying to do low carb and low fat at the same time hence, it is important to tweak how and when we intake some meals and use some simple tricks differently in our lifestyle pattern to lose weight quickly. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Vansh Chhabra, Senior Nutritionist at Wellversed, shared, “Achieving a desirable weight isn’t just about a “diet” or “plan” or “program”, it is simply about adopting a sustainable and healthy form of lifestyle patterns which takes time and effort.”
He added, “It is not just about quick tips, fads or shortcuts but more about committing to a consistent approach and maintaining nutritious eating practices, adhering to a good daily routine (hygiene, sleep cycle) and ensuring physical motility. These habits must become an integral part of one’s life and not just for the sake of reducing belly fat or losing weight.”
Echoing the same, Gaurav Bansal, Health Coach at MyHealthBuddy, revealed, “I’m going to be 100% honest with you here and tell you that there’s no special or specific way to reduce only your belly fat and trying to get rid of fat from only one area of your body is like trying to remove water from one area of a pool. It’s impossible. The aim should be to reduce your overall body fat, in that process; you’ll notice fat loss on your belly too.”
Weight loss tips:
Sharing a few effective ways to burn belly fat while reiterating the fact that our diet plays an extremely important role in weight loss, Sonya Khandelwal, Entrepreneur, Life Coach and Fitness Guru, listed –
1. Drinking luke warm water with honey early in the morning on an empty stomach will not only cut and melt the unnecessary fat but most importantly it creates a balance in the hormones and gives a boost to the immune system.
2. Increase of protein intake: We all know that protein is an important micronutrient for human growth to burn belly fat. One must always consume double the protein as compared to your actually weigh which will help gain a good amount of muscle percentage. Protein may be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat.
3. Accupressure: While acupuncture uses needles to stimulate the various pressure points around the body, acupressure is done by stimulating these points through massage therapy. Acupressure is believed to be effective in reducing stress, boosting digestion, and improving metabolism, all of which play a role in weight management.
4. Cardio exercise is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories. Cardio in any form be it boxing, CrossFit, cyclic, running, etc is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat.
5. Increase fiber intake: Fiber expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, which means you feel fuller for longer.
6. It is also important to make sure that you are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet because too many or too few can have negative effects on your health.
Suggesting some of the most easiest yet safest practices that gradually lead to healthy weight loss, Nutritionist Vansh Chhabra recommended:
1. Begin your day with a high protein-fat breakfast – Avoid starting your day with a carb loaded diet rather stick to proteins and fats. This not only reduces the calorie intake but also keeps cravings into check. Cut down on refined carbohydrates and starches which provide instant boosts of energy thereby aim at adding complexity and sustainability to the diet by carefully structuring your plate, for instance, cover half plate with high fibre veggies (both cooked & raw salad), one-quarter of good quality protein (whole grains, legumes, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.) and one quarter or lesser should include complex carbohydrates or fermented probiotics like Kefir, curd, all prepared in healthy fats rich in MCT’s like coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, etc. This will drive the body towards using the alternate source of energy i.e. stored fat.
2. Eliminate all forms of sugar – Instead of cutting/reducing, completely eliminate all forms of sugar sources from your diet i.e. both white and brown. Refined sugars provide empty calories to the body which have no proven benefit. Even honey and jaggery being reputed as “healthy sugars” should be avoided as they contain the same amount of calories as table sugar. A diet loaded in sugars is nothing but ultimately converted to stored fats. Move away from processed/packaged foods as they are loaded with trans-fat, sugars and sodium, altogether everything that hinders fat loss.
3. Indulge in physical activity – An active physical routine fastens the process of healthy weight loss and ensures healthy metabolism. Any form of physical routine like brisk walking, jogging, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, gymnasium, etc. can be consistently followed. Also, specific abdomen focussed exercises like crunches, leg lifts, planks, lunges, sit-ups, etc. can target belly fat. Workout increases Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), induces growth and strengthening of muscles and thereby uplifting the overall mood of mind and body. The body loses overall fat but usually the belly fat goes away first, therefore 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity workout should be practised regularly.
4. Keep yourself hydrated – Avoid sweetened beverages and fruit juices rather switch to plain water, sparkling water and herbal teas (green tea, chamomile tea, ginger tea, etc.) as they flush out toxins from the body and provide antioxidants. Maintain distance from carbonated beverages and alcohol.
5. Practice mindful eating – Avoid any form of gadget distractions while having your meal. Set your own plate and focus on the food to build a healthy relationship with it. Eat mindfully and catch signals of satiety. Keep a check on the portion size and track your calorie intake. Plan your meals in advance with utmost care and keeping the macros in mind.
6. Say “NO” to stress and anxiety as it spikes “cortisol” hormone production which ultimately leads to visceral adiposity. Practice a good sleep cycle and give yourself at least 7 hours of peaceful sleep.
Echoing similar piece of advises on healthy methods for burning bely fat, Health Coach Gaurav Bansal shared:
1. Start walking! If you feel like walking isn’t your cup of tea, you can indulge in any activity of your choice. Cycling, football, swimming, badminton etc. As long as you are active and moving, anything works!
2. Now with all this physical activity, you need to make sure that you’re hydrating well and your diet is nourishing enough. That calls for a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods!
3. Focus your meals around protein followed by healthy fats and carbs! Protein is a structural macronutrient, meaning, your body is made up of it. Without protein, your bones, skin, hair, nails, muscles would take a toll.
4. Healthy fats provide energy, absorb nutrients, produce important hormones and supports cell growth! Think about this the next time you say “fat makes you fat”, it does not!
5. We love carbs and so should you! It’s a major source of energy and helps you perform daily tasks. Oh and it’s DELICIOUS. No food is out of bounds, it never should be. Indulgences are important and cravings need to be addressed but keep in mind to minimise added sugar and highly processed foods.
6. Sleep for 7-8 hours every day! Quality sleep is probably the most underrated tool for weight loss. Poor sleep effects your cortisol which inhibits weight loss. It also impacts your hunger hormones, increasing your chances of binging the next day.
The bottom line is, no diet routine works magically overnight as a consistent and sustainable way of living is the key to achieve your health goals and a mix-n-match of all such good practices accelerates success. Understand that weight loss looks different for everyone and despite following all good practices the weight remains same or attains plateau, it can be an indication of underlying gut or health issue which needs to be medically examined.