Diet and Weight loss for eons of years are two words associated with struggle, sacrifices, restrictions, boring food etc. etc.…For the longest time being on diet has been perceived as cutting down on your favorite foods and living like a Monk! Well almost Since the lack of good food may not let one be a calm Monk and anger doesn’t serve well to a Monk…Jokes apart, “Diet” has been terribly persecuted and viewed belligerently. Be it Diet Plan for Weight loss, Recuperation after a sickness or surgery, convalescence, athletic or body building goals – We all know diet plays a very important role. But does it have to be a perilous task filled with challenges that test your will power every single day where you try to resist your favorite foods? Yes, you will know today.
Focusing on weight loss – Diet is the most important component and as very wisely summarized by Dr. Mark Hyman “You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet” Hence, the rationale of let me enjoy this meal- I will burn it out tomorrow at the gymnasium goes straight out of the window.
Bringing the focus back on the key element – DIET – This always brings in an array of questions throwing any potential aspirant into a spiral which more often than not ends you with – Aah! F%@k It – I hear you; I have been there and it is absolutely frustrating and leaves one in disarray, especially when it has been a morning when the scale has shown a number that wasn’t expected!!
Let me try and shed some light here and hope to ease your load (Pardon my Pun!) on the topic….
Before we hit Weight Loss – Let’s address a more important component which is very often missed when the focus is Weight Loss – Nutrition.
Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal, is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in?
The answer, in my opinion, is no! Overall body health improvement along with weight loss must be factored in to the equation or you would find yourself walking downhill the slope of your health and it may be too late to rectify as effects of poor nutrition are often seen much later in life – You see, Human body is quite resilient and for the longest time you will function as well as you can without really knowing what’s going on the inside.
Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a myriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of some food and beverage items, and counting calories. Good diets offer balanced nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight control.
Hence, whether we work on a plan for weight loss, weight gain, athletic prowess or body building the foundation of any of these should be balanced nutrition above anything else.
Coming to the actual Diet Plan – What do we really need to eat and how much??
Let’s deep dive a little into the various components that form our everyday meal platter:
Carbohydrates: Also commonly referred as Carbs, they are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later
Proteins: Proteins help your body build and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones.
Fat: Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Simply put, Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement it poses the same risk as Saturated fat – In the era of highly processed foods, Fats need to be closely examined to understand what are you really consuming.
Vitamins: These are also required nutrients. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform.
For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of cardiac diseases by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls. Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function. Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth. Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. The list goes on….
Minerals and trace elements: These are another nutrient your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices. Phosphorus helps build strong bones. The list is exhaustive and even a simple kitchen staple like salt is classified amongst this.
All this can be absolutely daunting and trying to figure how to include all this in a meal can take out joy from a meal and make it lab science – It doesn’t have to be!
To simplify on how this could transient onto your plate every day, below are a few guidelines
First, try to consume two and one servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good rough guide is to eat as many different colours as possible – Eating the rainbow as we call it.
Coming to grains, there are hundreds of arguments and options – Gluten or no Gluten, Millets – Good or Bad? Etc. Etc. I shall leave that for another time but generally speaking, at least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based.
Likewise, Milk can also be part of a healthy diet (Vegans – I hear you and hence I say can be and not should be)
Your total fat intake should only be between ten and twenty percent of your calories. Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats as saturated fat causes damage to your health – So do watch it before you reach out for that next cookie!
About 20% (depending on your age, goals and importantly your digestive abilities) of calories should comes from Protein – Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products should all be lean, low-fat, or fat-free. Eggs – With or Without Yolk would also depend on your overall health profile.
Having understood what the breakup should be, why not make it easier and see what a sample meal plan for an average healthy individual should look like,
On Waking – Warm Water to get the digestive juices flowing
Multiple theories exist on what should be consumed along with warm water in the morning – ACV to fenugreek seeds to salt etc etc…what will work best for you? Your Nutritionist will be able to advise and until you don’t find out sticking to plain ol’warm water will do you good – Adding a wrong additive to your morning water can do more harm then good and often the reactions of these additives are seen later in the day and hence the cause not easily traced back to them.
Generally speaking, let this be a healthy fulfilling meal unless you are on an intermittent fasting or a specialized protocol designed for you.
It could look something like,
4-5 Soaked Almonds
A Protein heavy hot Breakfast – Find multiple options on From Monday Breakfast Options
A raw vegetable juice
A Fruit or 2-3 Dates + a hot beverage like a green tea or a black coffee – Coconut water is an option too.
This could get tricky if you haven’t had your mid-morning snack – The rationale of the tiny mid-morning snack is to ensure that you do not reach lunch time in a ravenous state of hunger so that portion control can be achieved
Lunch can look like,
1-2 Rotis – Depending on your diet and calories planned it could be wheat or other millet however generally speaking Jowar or Ragi is a good option for everyone.
A bowl of Vegetable
A Portion of Salad – Salads don’t have to be boring – A simple cucumber salad can be made interesting with just a little tweak like we have done here – Zesty Cucumber Salad
A sizeable protein portion – Do not be fooled that you are meeting your protein requirement with a bowl of dal or curd – Be sure to include a sizeable portion of Protein – Be it lentils or Paneer or any form of lean protein you choose – But make a conscious effort to have protein as a part of your meal.
This is a good time for a fruit or if the lunch has been light – It could be a handful of foxnuts or Chana. – Do not resort to dry fruits or nuts as munchies – they may be healthy but are high calorie and before you know, you may have consumed a meal’s worth of calories in a few minutes.
A Green Tea or Butter Milk is a good beverage here – Do avoid coffee.
Mid Evening /Dinner
A warm filling soup can be a good pre-cursor to the dinner at this time – In some cases this can by itself be a dinner – No kidding! The earlier you end your day, the healthier (leaner) you will be.
A quick fix soup that’ll take literally minutes to whip up is a Turkish Red Lentil Soup and is my all time favorite – Many such can be found on my website.
Should you have missed the soup hour or are not satiated by the soup alone – consider this meal a pauper’s meal and have something really light – Some Options are,
Protein Based Soup + Stir Fried Veggies
Veg Clear Soup + Grilled Paneer/Chicken/Fish
High Protein Dosa or Moong Dal Chilla
Having concluded with Dinner – Let bedtime be nothing but a calming infusion of Chamomile or Lavender – Alternatively, a good brew of Cinnamon would do a good job.
This is a general meal plan guideline for an average healthy individual looking to balance their weight and nutrition and before embarking on a weight loss journey it would be prudent to seek professional advice and get a clear understanding of what would work best for you – better so, get a customized plan made for you – Weight loss can be fun and doesn’t have to be boring – Me and my team have worked along the years to develop plans that infuse the fun element into the journey of weight loss and in that process we have been able to introduce healthy variants of almost all conventional and well-loved foods into our everyday meal plans whilst ensuring the weight loss goals are met. So, get an appointment today or WhatsApp us.