Hello, Health

70 health tweaks to get independence from sickness forever

Please dump the idea that giving up carbs is the escalator that'll take you to Thinland!

 |  Hello, Health  |  10-minute read |   15-08-2016
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1) Throw out the word "dieting" from the top floor all the way down and imagine it smash to smithereens! Because diets don't work.

2) Get enough Vitamin B. Eat every day at least one serving of green vegetables, two-three servings of whole grains; and either egg or fish.

3) Quit refined sugar. Cutting it to size cuts off risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, shoddy memory and diabetes.

4) Steer clear of sweeteners too, because while they have zero calories, they unfortunately keep the sweet craving and taste alive.

5) Get probiotics daily through probiotic milk, or through fermented foods like pickles, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.

Also read: Why should I pay fat tax if you are fat?

6) Drink a minimum of 8-9 glasses of water every day. Not enough water will make you sluggish, foggy, and lethargic.

7) Don't stuff food down in a hurry. Take slow, conscious pleasure in the eating experience; eat with your eyes like the Japanese.

8) Chew your food until liquid: the more you chew, the less work your gut has to do to derive the maximum possible nutrients out of every morsel.

9) Eat to 80 per cent satiety. Stop eating when you feel about two-thirds full (80 per cent satisfied).

10) Never ban a food completely. Try the 90/10 diet - eat healthy foods 90 per cent of the time and indulge yourself 10 per cent of the time.

Also read: 12 simple ways to cut cholesterol

11) Always try to mix carbohydrates and proteins in a meal (rice with plenty of dal or peanut butter and bread) for a feeling of continuous satiety.

12) Make snacking difficult: Keep sinful goodies out of reach, say, in the highest kitchen cabinet. And never ever keep them in transparent jars.

13) Retrain your brain. Instead of considering potato chips your pal, replace it with papaya; buddy up with broccoli (and break up with burgers).

14) Write a food diary for a week where you record what you eat, when you eat it, the amount you eat, place (where you ate) and the reason for eating it; it is an effective disciplining action.

15) Identify and throw out all empty foods which are low on nutrition (that is void of the basic vitamins, minerals, and enzymes our body needs) from your diet.

16) Never ever leave home without a good wholesome breakfast. Make it as power packed as possible: protein + carbs + fibre + good fats.

17) Snack guilt free. Consciously work healthy bites into your diet and make munchies part of your food plan for the day.

health-embed_081516031338.jpg Plan a vacation around an activity that requires movement such as hiking, skiing, canoeing or white-water rafting.

18) Be prepared. If you don't have something healthy handy, you will obviously grab the first thing that's around when you want to munch - so always plan ahead.

19) Always fill half your plate with veggies; simple way to ensure enough fibre, satiety, better immune system and a plate full of hard to find nutrients.

20) Skip the processed stuff and just eat the real stuff. It is super simple; just eat less of stuff that comes out of a bag and more of food the way god made it - fresh and wholesome.

21) Keep fat intake to less than 20-25 per cent of your total calories for the day. And make sure most of it is good fat.

22) The most important piece of advice: never go to a party hungry! Always eat a healthy snack before you step out.

23) Eat the low calorie items on your plate first and then move on to the others. Start with salads, veggies and soups; eat meats and starches last.

24) Never eat on the run, or directly from packets (plate your food first) to avoid consuming loads of fat and calories without even realising.

25) Please dump the idea that giving up carbs is the escalator that'll take you to Thinland! A better strategy is to choose carbs wisely.

Also read: How the world's first tandoori chicken was cooked

26) Slurp enough soup. Make anytime a soup-time. It's the perfect way to help cut calories and also get the daily required quota of important nutrients easily.

27) Keep cravings away by eating all three main meals of the day (don't skip any), and when they do strike - learn to wait. Usually they pass soon enough.

28) Mind the sugar sweetened beverages you keep gulping minus any thought - they are a calorie mine.

29) Restrict the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol drinkers tend to have thicker midsections, and their hip-waist ratio gets skewed. Both are big risk factors for heart disease.

30) Eat more home-cooked food. Cook more - and see the difference (both on your wallet and weight).

31) Change the way you cook at home. Stick mostly to grilling, baking, broiling, steaming, microwaving and roasting.

32) Never under-eat please, not only does it lead to huge nutrient loss, but the metabolism also dips, leading to weight gain instead of loss.

33) Keep your liver happy; do citrus cleansing every day. Have half a lemon freshly squeezed in a cup of warm water the first thing every morning.

34) Avoid weekend weight gain but making sure you watch what you eat.

Also read: Why we must eat makhanas when it is monsoons

35) Always keep a healthy snack (dried apricots or almonds or cashews) in your bag to avoid grabbing some junk from the street when hunger strikes suddenly.

36) Go for a 15 to 30 minute walk after lunch; the midday walk and sun exposure will give your mood and health a boost by burning calories and delivering vitamin D.

37) Get enough sleep each night to score a trim waistline. Sleep debt, besides making you fat, can also prime you for multiple lifestyle disorders.

38) Stretch in the shower; warm water will loosen up your muscles, will help release stored tension and help you begin the day relaxed, and at peace.

39) Don't begin the day on autopilot. Say a quick prayer. Focus on your day ahead and picture yourself moving through it happily. Auto suggestion is a very powerful tool.

40) Consciously quit worrying/stressing 24X7. Because when you are stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate the appetite, dip the metabolism and encourage fat storage in the abdomen.

41) Look for every excuse to move. People who are constantly in motion - crossing and uncrossing their legs, stretching and pacing - burn more calories.

42) Every now and then try a new sport. If you stick to one exercise only (say walking everyday) your body will eventually adapt to its pace and burn fewer calories.

43) Stay hydrated at work. Air conditioning and central heating systems can make you seriously dehydrated, leading to constant fatigue and headaches.

44) Keep moving. Sitting at a desk for long hours can lead to build-up of tension in the body, particularly in the back and shoulders. Move about at least once every hour.

Also read: How running changed my life

45) If you have a long commute ahead (office to home), refuel yourself before you leave to avoid reaching home famished; think yoghurt, buttermilk, some nuts, or a low-fat sandwich.

46) Add some fun to your day. There are people doing silly things all day long… watch them minus judgement; it'll help lighten your day, and you can also learn from their mistakes.

47) Add some humour to your day. Create a laughter first-aid kit - humorous videos, tapes, books and cartoons; laughing enough is a sure shot way to stay healthy.

48) Start maintaining an exercise log (like an eating diary). Keep jotting all the exercise you do and also note fun and interesting exercise ideas you come across, to refer to later.

49) Don't feed your mood as that can lead to steady weight gain. So whenever you are angry/upset, instead of attacking food (junk usually!), get moving and burn off calories.

50) Keep it quiet when on a diet. Don't draw others' attention to your eating. When you announce you are on a diet, people automatically urge you to eat, and make sure your diet derails.

51) Create a food-free reward system. How about a new workout outfit, or that short black dress/ear phones? You deserve a reward when you reach your goals.

52) To keep yourself on track, place motivating quotes (like round is not a healthy shape) in strategic spots, specially where you might need some motivation, like on the fridge, TV, or near the laptop.

53) Done with dinner? Go brush your teeth and gargle with a minty mouthwash - when you have a fresh, clean mouth, you don't want to mess it up with unnecessary night-time snacking.

Also read: Heartburn signals you're doing (eating) something wrong

54) Invest in a mini blender to churn up a smoothie in a jiffy for a quick breakfast or midday snack. Keep it handy at the office desk or pantry too.

55) Get a pet dog; taking your new pooch for daily walks is the perfect reason to pull on your sneakers.

56) Make a note of your overeating triggers, as well as the time of day they tend to occur. You'll notice repetitive stuff that'll help you curb stress eating.

57) Turn off that television set and laptop this weekend and spend time playing some football, or borrow a cycle to ride around the neighbourhood. Get up from the couch.

58) Plan a vacation around an activity that requires movement such as hiking, skiing, canoeing or white-water rafting.

59) When it comes to exercise, think like a kid: they are always on the go, ready to climb any wall, run, swing, play, jump over hedges, cycle, fight.

60) Try to have dinner completed by 8pm, at least four to five days a week. And if you must eat dinner after eight, then eat a light meal, and that too at least two hours before you hit the sack.

61) Stuck in traffic? Use the time spent bumper-to-bumper to develop your buns of steel: squeeze your derrière each time you tap the brake, holding for 10 seconds. Shoot for 10 to 15 squeezes a trip.

62) While you brush your teeth, alternate standing on one leg and then the next (every 30 seconds). Balancing develops your core muscles and is good for your brain too.

Also read: Why is an Indonesian restaurant serving food in toilet shaped bowls?

63) Do chores during the commercial breaks in your favourite TV show. Pop up to do laundry, empty wastebaskets, gather dirty dishes, or wipe countertops to add up a lot of activity minutes; plus you'll save hundreds of calories by not snacking instead.

64) Carve out some time in your busy lives for fun, via sports, craft and other creative stuff. When we play, we relax, we feel silly, we rejoice - and we also get in better shape.

65) Stress can shoot up blood pressure to dangerous levels and push the pulse rate up as well. Meditation can reduce the "chatter" and noise in your life.

66) Preventive health measures save life. That's a given! This includes immunisations and undergoing yearly specific tests and screenings.

67) Smile a little more every day to live longer. When you smile, you release more serotonin and endorphins, the happiness hormones, which improve your energy levels and immune system.

68) Get more sunlight every day to trigger the necessary chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, deliver restful sleep and also make the much-needed vitamin D in the body.

69) Stair-climbing is not difficult to incorporate; it's easy to weave it into your day and make a habit of it. And it can prove to be your best ally for getting fit.

70) Finally don't go to bed without a shower or bath; it'll cleanse you both physically and mentally, rinse away tension, leave your body pampered and your mind free.


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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