Forget Fad Diets, This Is A Nutritionist’s Guide to Losing Weight
No fads and gimmicks — A dietitian shares what she knows for sure about lasting weight-loss success.
There are many reasons that people may find themselves wanting or needing to lose weight, be it for health or vanity. But when it comes to losing weight, we’re not ones for fads. So, in search of the best ways to shed a few kilograms safely and sensibly, we decided to consult Sangamithra GV (@sangamithragv_nutritionist), an accredited nutritionist and dietitian. She gives us dieting tips and debunks some of the most common myths surrounding the question we all want the answer to: “How can I lose weight fast?” All these and more, ahead.
Myth or Fact: Exercise should go hand in hand with your diet if you want to lose weight.
Fact. Exercise is generally advised for weight loss, but you should really be aiming for fat loss. If you simply cut back on calories to lose weight without exercising, there will be a considerable amount of muscle loss. This is because when you cut back on calories, your body is forced to find other sources of fuel. Unfortunately, this means burning muscle proteins along with your fat stores. Therefore, you should be including an exercise plan alongside your diet to reduce the amount of muscle you lose.
Myth or Fact: Restricting your diet to “healthy foods” is the quickest way to losing weight.
Myth! There is a huge misconception that popular health foods like smoothies, juice cleanses and grain bowls can make you lose weight quickly. For sustainable weight loss to occur, you should be aiming for a calorie deficit (eating lesser calories than that your body can burn at a given time), which is decided according to your body measurements. Foods that have a “health halo” are not necessarily nutritious or low in calories. The total calories in a harmless fruit smoothie can range anywhere between 200 to 800!
Myth or Fact: Portion control is important.
“Maintaining a calorie deficit is the key to safe weight loss.”
Fact. You could be eating all “healthy” foods and still not have the needle move on the scale. When you portion out and eat according to your hunger cues, you maintain a steady deficit and will eventually lose weight.
What does a healthy diet plan look like, if you’re looking to lose weight?
A healthy diet plan should include lots of green vegetables — preferably less starchy ones, lean protein, and whole grains as carbohydrate sources. Opt for fruits that are rich in fibre and low in calories as snacks, like apples, grapefruits and berries.
Some foods you should be incorporating into your diet: Fibre-rich whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat; nuts and seeds like almonds, and walnuts; fatty fish like salmon and tuna; lean protein, green tea and berries! And of course, avoid highly-processed foods, white sugar, artificial sweeteners and pastries.
Honestly, superfoods have been hyped due to marketing strategies — all whole foods are superfoods! Foods rich in antioxidants are the true heroes.
Sangamithra’s Seven Diet Rules
1. Drink plenty of water!
2. Consume a higher protein to carb ratio, as protein keeps you fuller for longer.
3. Avoid sugary drinks.
4. Fill your plate with fibre-rich vegetables and fruits.
5. If you have to consume dairy, switch to low-fat options.
6. Eat fermented foods to maintain a steady gut microbiome. Examples are yogurt, tempeh and kimchi.
7. Most of all, enjoy your meals and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues!