If you are considering losing weight, you may wonder whether you need to combine healthy eating with a regular exercise program. While both are fine on their own, eating healthily and engaging in regular activity should really go hand in hand if you wish to make the most of your weight loss efforts.
1. Reducing Your Calorie Intake
Eating healthily is not particularly challenging, but taking in the correct balance of calories to match your activity levels can be difficult. To lose weight, you will need to consume more calories than you take in the food that makes up your diet.
Your body requires a minimum number of calories to maintain vital processes, such as keeping your heart beating at a steady rate and maintaining healthy brain functioning. Drastically reducing your calorie intake can start a harmful starvation response within your body, which will actually enhance your ability to store fat. It will also encourage your body to turn towards your muscles, rather than your fat stores, to acquire the energy it needs to stay alive. For these very reasons, your daily calorie intake should not fall below 1800 calories per day if you are a man or 1200 calories per day if you are a woman. For a healthy weight loss of around 1 to 2 lbs per week, and to prevent stress and nutritional deficiencies, you should aim to reduce your daily calorie intake by no more than 500 calories per day.
The calories that you do take in should come from healthy food such as fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grain produce, such as brown rice and bread. You should ideally limit your consumption of food that has been made with ingredients containing high levels of fat and sugar, such as coconut milk, clarified butter and sugar cane.
2. Increasing Your Metabolic Rate
Increasing your metabolic rate will help you to burn off any unwanted calories that you take in. Exercise increases your metabolic rate in two main ways: it increases the activity levels of your energy-hungry muscles, and it improves your body’s ability to continue to use up calories when you’re resting.
Higher intensity aerobic exercises, such as jogging and kickboxing, use large muscle groups. They, therefore further enhance your ability to use up calories at rest. To improve your aerobic fitness, you should spend at least 30 minutes working out in the gym three to five times a week. However, if you are not used to exercising regularly, you should gradually build up your activity levels over time. If you struggle to exercise regularly, you may wish to consider hiring a personal trainer to boost your motivation.
3. Eating Little and Often
Eating around five nutritious meals of between 300 and 400 calories a day has been proven to raise your metabolism, prevent sharp spikes in your blood sugar levels, and provide you with the nutrition you need to maintain or improve your physical fitness. You should eat a small meal two hours before and two hours after exercising. If you exercise too soon after eating, you will suffer from indigestion. Since exercise produces a need for food, you are likely to crave food following a workout. While you may be tempted to turn towards sugary foods for a short-term fix, your body will require protein-rich foods, such as chicken, and complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and bread, in the long term.
To summarise, the best way to lose weight is to do aerobic activity, which will help you to keep your metabolism elevated. This, in turn, will help you to burn up more calories at rest. To keep up with a physical activity program, you will need to eat small yet nutritious meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This will provide you with the energy you require to exercise. When you eat healthily and follow a program of regular exercise, you will not only help yourself to lose weight. You will also lower your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease – two chronic medical conditions rising across Southeast Asia.
4. Drink Hot Water
If your metabolism slows down at night, it’s very important to kick-start it the right way when you wake up in the morning. So drink one or two glasses of warm water. Ayurveda advises you to mix lemon juice and honey in this water. After drinking two glasses of water in the morning, you will feel light and refreshed.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is very important for the body. It promotes cognitive function and regulates mood. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, so to make up for vitamin D deficiency, spend some time in the morning sun for a few hours.
6. Have the Right Breakfast
Eat protein and fiber-rich foods such as eggs, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds for breakfast. Along with this, it is also advised that you also consume healthy carbohydrates, such as oats, multigrain bread, muesli, etc. Make breakfast heavy and eat light meals throughout the day, as your body will continue to burn calories throughout the day.
I am Ankit Sharma Nutrition Consultant. My approach is holistic and customized to enable you to achieve true wellness – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am from India but have clients across the globe. I can work with you to say goodbye to counting calories and short-term solutions. You will achieve long-term sustainable change in the way that they are eating, moving, living, and believing.