The New Year always brings with it, a lot of celebration and chances are you want to lose some weight before the end of December so that you can look good and feel great when 2021 arrives.
Truth be told, weight loss should not be for an occasion or a reason. In fact, anything that you do too quickly is probably not good for your health. While I am not in favour of sudden weight loss, I believe that eating the right way, and maintaining a proper diet framework, will help you stay healthy and keep your weight lower too.
Routine and rhythm
The first thing that you have to consider is routine and rhythm. You might be following intermittent fasting and finding that it is causing you stress. You might be going the opposite route and eating every couple of hours and finding that this is also too challenging.
You have to consider your comfort levels when it comes to the right diet. If a diet allows you to feel calmer, feel more energetic, have better sleep and not have chronic symptoms of any kind, then it is probably supporting you.
A great meal plan goes hand in hand with exercise. It is common to see many people following very challenging diets and not exercising at all. This will probably cause more harm since low-calorie diets can make you lose muscle mass and without exercise, you will end up with fatigue, loss of muscle, high stress, poor sleep and deficiencies.
The first thing that you have to do before you think of changing your meal plan, is to ensure optimal exercise. I don’t mean that you have to over train for hours together. You just need consistent exercise for one hour, perhaps five days a week.
Choose the right foods
Swap out processed foods with home-cooked meals. If you can prepare your meals yourself, that is wonderful. Meals prepared by you at home, are going to be fresh, with the right amount of healthy fats and much easier on your digestion. All of this will create a foundation for you to lose weight.
In fact, belly fat can just be lymph congestion and poor gut health, both of which are interlinked to eating food from places where you do not know the source of ingredients and cooking methods.
Before I take you through a simple meal plan to lose weight, I must add that you should stay away from the chronic calculation of calories. Eat with your eyes and from your heart. Eat mindfully. You will never overeat if you eat while focusing on your food, rather than the television.
Meal plans for weight loss
My suggestion to most people is to eat five balanced meals within a twelve-hour frame. This immediately ensures blood sugar balance and eating less at each meal. It is amazing when you see just this change shifting things for people. Within a day or two of doing this, your blood sugar will stabilise, and you will start needing less food.
Here are some tips for weight loss:
- Create your three main meals with a plate. Half of it should be reserved for vegetables which are high in fibre, a quarter plate of clean proteins, a quarter plate of complex carbohydrates or grains that you can tolerate and some healthy fats.
- If you add three different coloured vegetables to half your plate, you will make sure that the plate is high in minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and fibre.
Vary your proteins as much as you can. You can choose from any of the following options: a palm-sized portion of fish, chicken, beef, lamb or half a cup of plant proteins from chickpeas, black beans, tofu, lentils or anything else you love.
- Eat a variety of complex carbohydrates ranging from sweet potatoes, tapioca, jowar, amaranth, buckwheat, millet or ragi. Always add a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil or include a quarter avocado or some nuts and seeds as fats help stabilise blood sugar and promote satiety.
- A healthy meal would comprise a cucumber salad, a bowl of cauliflower and peas, a bowl of rajma and a jowar roti. If a meal has heavier proteins, you may not even require the grains. You might be fine with just some sweet potatoes!
Increasing your non-starchy vegetables from a range of local vegetables is one of the best ways to promote weight loss. The increased fibre helps feed your gut microbiome and improve digestion. Try to include one cup of different leafy greens raw or cooked every single day. Greens support liver detoxification and your liver plays a key role in your metabolism and weight loss.
- Drinking copious amounts of water in between meals is very important. It is very common to see people drinking all their water in the evening. When you dehydrate your body all through the day, your body will start to hold on to all the water which it gets. You might actually feel more bloated or even puffy. Hot water is perfect!
When it comes to the two snacks between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, eat a pear or an apple, two tablespoons of toasted seeds or makhana, a palmful of sand roasted peanuts, some vegetables with hummus, a smoothie or some sweet potato wedges with chaat. When you start eating a snack in between these meals and maintaining a twelve-hour framework, you will find yourself needing a lighter dinner.
Balancing blood sugar will ensure that your nighttime cortisol levels get lower and this will help you sleep deeply. Deep sleep is critical to weight loss as one night of poor sleep raises ghrelin, the hunger hormone and makes you crave sweets the next day.
If you want to lose weight before the New Year, it is best to increase the number of vegetables that you eat. If you consider swapping out processed foods with wholesome home-cooked meals, maintaining a plate framework and eating five meals in twelve hours, you will find yourself shedding water retention and excess weight, without affecting your health, sleep, energy or mood.
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(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)