Weight loss could be for a variety of reasons, including improving health statistics. However, many individuals pursue it for aesthetic reasons, such as having a perfect body shape for a wedding, occasion or fitting into a dress that has been sitting in the closet for years! Aiming for gradual and steady weight reduction is often the greatest approach to burn calories, and to do so, one must construct a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, an exercise regime, a good night’s sleep, and improved stress levels.
As a nutritionist, I would rather focus on body composition alteration than weight loss. An ideal shift in body composition would be a loss of body fat while increasing muscle mass and water. Rather than a quick remedy which demands persistence and compliance over time.
Here are 5 common mistakes that might be hindering your weight loss journey:
1. Eating fewer calories – When on a weight loss journey, following the simple principle of calories in v/s calories out does not always work. Following very low-calorie diets (VLCD) is often dangerous as they can cause malnourishment, and the chances of developing deficiencies could be fatal at times. Tiredness, irritability, fatigue, and lowered immunity could be a fallout of VLCD. There is also a chance that the body will go into shock, causing a decrease in metabolism and encouraging fat storage rather than burning. As a result, weight loss slows. It’s always better to have the prescribed calories and focus on the right food groups rather than restrictions. Maintain a diet high in protein and good fats, moderate in complex carbohydrates, and low in refined carbohydrates.
2. Hidden Calories – Perhaps you’ve got it right and are using the right combination of food groups to ensure proper distribution, however, you may be unaware that there are hidden calories in the ingredients you choose. For example, curd made from high-fat milk is usually high in calories. In that case, it makes sense to choose milk with moderate fat content or switch to plant-based drinks such as Soy and Almond drink. Track food calories using apps or or consult experts. This will allow you to make more informed decisions.
3. Wrong Food Combinations – The healthy plate is the most widely accepted method of arranging your meal plates. 50% of the meals should be vegetables (in the form of salads and sabzis), 25% should be protein, 25% should be carbohydrates, and the final 5% should be a probiotic in the form of buttermilk or curd. Any food group that is skipped results in an increase in the amount of carbohydrates, which raises insulin levels and promotes fat storage. To avoid restrictions, try to have proper food combinations in appropriate proportions.
4. Not burning enough
calories – Incorporating exercise will speed up weight loss. The failure to burn enough calories or to gradually improve one’s workouts is a common mistake people make when trying to lose weight. For moderate intensity workouts, aim for burning 150–250 calories, and for high intensity workouts, 300–700. It’s best to mix strength training with endurance workouts.
5. Unrealistic goal setting – Aim for bigger goals but remember to be realistic. Divide the larger objectives into smaller ones, and the smaller ones into micro goals. Take each day as it comes and keep moving forward. Many people get off to a good start but give up when they don’t see any progress after a month. The progress might be greater and better the following month. A change in body composition, increased energy levels, and changes in body stats are much better indicators of progress than simply seeing a decrease in weight on the scale.
As opposed to a diet fad, nutrition is a lifestyle change, so be consistent and responsible with your efforts. Celebrate modest accomplishments and aim for bigger ones.
(Author: Avantii Deshpaande, PCOS and GUT Health Nutritionist)