You’ve tried the Cabbage Soup diet but gave up because your farts smelled too vile. Then you tried the GM diet and by the third day everyone in the family was praying you would give up because you were so damn cranky. You have lost kilo, celebrated with cake and put it right back on. You have gone to the gym for hours most of which you have spent discussing the fact that you can’t lose weight with everyone. The treadmill in your house is a clothes hanger. You bought all the expensive veggies in the world for the diet, did it one day and then had to go to dinner. You decided the next day was when you should start. If any or all of this rings true, I hear you. And that’s why I have put together 10 things that really work. Will the weight loss take time? Yes. Will it come back? No, if you stick to the plan. Does it involve a diet? No. Hallelujah! If I can lose weight, trust me, anyone can. AND I HAVE LOST 7 KILOS! If like me, you are logging on to various websites for recipes and workout sheets, you know that a lot of the food and workouts are tailored to those people with access to those brands and products. In India, we have no Weight Watchers or easily available calorie counts on most items. And access to things like kale and quinoa is, well, kinda patchy and a disaster on the pocket. As tempted as you are at this point to say, see, I really can’t lose weight; you can. Here’s what to do.
1. Don’t give in to fancy names So you know you have to snack in between meals right? Small meals through the day is the mantra. And any website will tell you that trail mix is perfect for snacking. But you can’t find trail mix here. So, mix up your regular peanuts and channa and throw in some raisins and you are good to go. Trust me, you don’t need the Rs.500 for 100 gms produce. You will lose weight just fine without the quinoa and the kale. Your moong and spinach work just as well.
2. Eat what you love, don’t chase salads Look, giving your body some crunchy lettuce to eat is great if you are a cow in Switzerland. You are a human being and you are Indian which means your palate craves some masala and strong flavours . The trick is to not feel denied. So, eat your paratha and sabzi but instead of two paranthas have one. Limit your portions and try and eat dinner early. You will crave some chatpataness. And that’s fine. Don’t beat yourself up over it. If you want to have Aloo Chaat, replace the Aloo with sweet potato and add some extra lemon juice to take away the sweetness. If you crave something spicy, indulge, it’s actually good for you and you will be happier and not cranky.
3. Gym is boring Yup, it is. If all you are going to do is be on a treadmill or a cross trainer, it’s going to suck. To keep your motivation going, you need to trick your mind into thinking it’s not working out. Like do a Bollywood dance class and jiggle away. Your body thinks its going for a dance class but bam! You are also giving it a work out. If you prefer the outdoors, join a class that’s held in the open!
4. Nobody is looking When you are fat and go to the gym, you always worry that your jiggly bits will put people off. That the sight of your thundering thighs might cause people to faint. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. IT’S NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Put in all your effort and energy. Jump, jiggle and wiggle. Three months down the line, when you are several kilos down, guess who’s going to be laughing?
5. Choose your calories Say you have gulab jamun and cake in front of you. Tell yourself you can eat one of them. And choose those calories because they will satisfy you more. You cannot have both. In this example, I would choose cake because I love cream. You have the power to choose your food and your calories. If this was a chocolate cake, I would pass. And I wouldn’t have the gulab jamun because I don’t like it. This means that I tell my brains, I am not having it out of choice, not because I am on a diet and ‘Cant eat it’.
6. Eat yummy food for lunch No one goes on losing weight without ever indulging. If you must eat something yummy, have it for lunch. That way, you have the entire day left to burn those calories off and even compensate with a light dinner. Don’t do this too often though.
7. Have a cheat meal Yes. And let it be on the weekend. Go out with friends and indulge in something you love. You’ll be fine. And remember to not feel too guilty about it but like I said in the previous point, try and indulge at lunch. As fitness guru Rujuta says, you and your body are on the same side, talk to it, tell it you are going to be indulging and it will do its own math for the extra calorie load.
8. Wear the right sportswear Repeat after me. Pyjamas are not workout wear. Yes, those cute cottony pants with kittens etc are not meant for a workout. Go out there, invest in a good pair of workout pants, tshirts and comfortable footwear. This will put you into the mood. Remember not to go overboard though, the key is to get the right workout gear. Think about it this way, you need a good shoe, you don’t need a shoe that costs Rs.12,000 and allows you to do backflips.
9. Cook. I’ll admit it, I don’t like the kitchen. When I wanted to lose weight, I had to get into the kitchen. If I wanted to eat something I loved and it was going to be made well (by which I mean less oil,right amount of salt etc.) then it meant that I had to go into the kitchen. Being in a kitchen, seeing food being made makes you aware of what goes into it making it much easier for you to make healthier choices. Plus, you can choose to flavour it the way you want which means when you eat it, you feel a lot more satisfied in a lot less.
10. FEEL IT! You know how you see a friend who’s lost weight and then feel like shit because you can’t lose weight, then eat a tub of ice cream? Yeah, that needs to stop. You’ve to know this. You’re in control. Food isn’t. You will feel it, there will be a ring that will go off in your head and you will know you want to lose weight. But to make this feeling work for you, make quick decisions about working out –decide what class you want to join, how many hours and how many kilos you want to lose. Tell your entire family you want to lose weight and most importantly, take your mom on your side. Trust me, moms love making us healthy food. I hope these work for you. They did for me. Let me know in the comments!
PS: A lot of these have been gleaned from books by Rujuta Divekar, Kallie Purie and the like (the picture) but they worked for me and that’s why they are here.