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Half the battle with our weight lies is in the kitchen, on supermarket shelves and the endless dining options we have outside. When most clients consult with me on weight loss issues, I usually get to hear them say that I eat a normal diet with occasional binges and that I train hard but have barely seen any results after a certain point. My first reaction is to ask them to maintain a food diary for at least a week. To write down every sip and every bite that you have taken – without cheating – right from the moment you awaken till you fall asleep. If possible, I also ask them to write down associated feelings (emotions) when they eat or drink something.
A lot of people eat in a hurry, off the shelf, at the work desk, standing. Some are mindlessly munching into chips and some struggle with cravings for cheese, chocolates, meat, colas. It’s a constant battle. And especially when you decide to do something about your weight and your fitness level, when you begin exercise and conscious eating, you are bound to go through some symptoms – headaches, loose motions, hunger pangs, gas, mood swings, and sometimes all you can think about is food. If you take a moment to reflect on this, you will realise how badly you have abused your system.
Food is nourishment, it should make you feel happy and fulfilled. Eating clean is about choosing the best and healthiest options. It is about savouring the food. It is about making meal times special and eating with awareness. What you are thinking about while eating actually impacts how you digest your food. It is a conscious commitment to taking time to eat well and to nourish and energise your body.
Below are some tips that may help you eat clean:
Limit processed food. Most processed foods contain excess sodium, sugar and fat. Stay away from packaged foods that contain ingredients you cannot even pronounce.
Eat more vegetables and fruits. Vegetables are low on calories and full of vitamins that can help boost your immune system. Fresh fruits are the best way to satiate your sweet cravings while building a healthy immune system.
Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol in moderate amounts can be good for you, but most people don’t know where to draw the line. Especially stay clear of mixed drinks and cocktails.
Un-sweeten your diet. Cut down on sugars wherever you can. Start with the tea you have. From two teaspoons of sugar in it, come down to one, and from six cups of tea a day, come down to two. Avoid chocolates, desserts, ice creams, etc. Artificial additives, sweeteners and flavours are definitely not good for the body.
Watch your salt intake as it can play havoc with your blood pressure. Too much and too little are both a problem. Cutting back on processed foods automatically cuts back on salt intake.
Choose whole grains where possible. Brown bread, brown rice, brown pasta are all great for you!
Eat less meat. Be a complete vegetarian for at least 2-3 days a week. Enjoy beans, tofu, fresh sprouts, nuts and seeds.
Feel good about the food choices you make, not guilty and bloated. Nutrients create the foundation and structure for every cell in your body. Your health, fitness and energy levels are directly proportional to what you eat. Start slow, start where you can, but do start now, your body will thank you for it.
Sandesh Palungwa Limbu is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and also specialises in mixed martial arts. For answers to your fitness queries, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org