Are your clothes getting tighter? Is fitting into them no less than an uphill battle for you? Putting on weight can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are sweating it out on the treadmill almost every day. But here’s a bitter pill for you to swallow. You won’t lose or maintain your current weight if you keep eating an unhealthy diet. It’s a no-bargain deal – doesn’t matter if you keep exercising for hours.
But why isn’t exercise alone helpful in weight management?
To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. This means you must burn more calories than you consume throughout the day. Likewise, to maintain your current weight, you must eat at maintenance, i.e., burn a similar number of calories that you are taking in.
Exercising is helpful, but it is not sufficient alone as you need to create a deficit or eat the maintenance calories. To keep it simple, you burn calories throughout the day, not only when you are exercising. So, even if your workout session burns 400 calories, you may eat more than 400 calories in a single meal.
But this doesn’t mean you resort to crash diets
A calorie deficit is important, no doubt about it. But if you create a deficit of 500+ calories by following crash diets, you will not be losing weight healthily. The moment you begin to follow your signature diet after you achieve your ideal weight, you will put back the weight. You cannot always keep crash dieting, it’s not sustainable.
Moreover, you will also face the repercussions such as dull skin, low energy and low immunity.
So, what to do then? The key here is to follow a balanced diet.
But why a balanced diet? How does a balanced diet come into the picture?
A balanced diet provides the body with the right mix of nutrients it needs for optimal function. It consists of a variety of foods from different food groups in appropriate proportions.
As mentioned before, weight management is fundamentally about energy balance. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. A balanced diet helps you strike this equilibrium. It allows you to control your calorie intake while ensuring that you receive the necessary nutrients to maintain your health.
Here is how a balanced diet is beneficial:
Sustainable Weight Loss:
Quick-fix diets often lead to rapid weight loss followed by equally rapid weight regain. A balanced diet promotes gradual, sustainable weight loss, which is more likely to be maintained in the long run.
Eating a balanced diet can help improve your metabolism, allowing your body to burn calories more efficiently.
Enhanced Nutrient Intake:
A balanced diet ensures that you receive all the essential nutrients your body needs, reducing the risk of nutrient deficiencies that can result from restrictive diets.
High-fibre foods in a balanced diet promote healthy digestion, reducing the likelihood of digestive issues that can hinder weight loss.
Here’s what a balanced diet includes:
Fruits and Vegetables:
These are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. They are low in calories and can help you feel full, making them essential for weight management.
Lean sources of protein like chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes are essential for muscle growth and repair. Protein also helps you feel satiated, reducing the urge to overeat.
Whole grains like chapati, brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread are great sources of fibre, which aids in digestion and provides a feeling of fullness.
Dairy or Dairy Alternatives:
These provide calcium and other essential nutrients for bone health. Opt for low-fat or non-fat options to manage calorie intake.
Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are essential for various bodily functions. However, they should be consumed in moderation due to their high-calorie content.
What else do you need to ensure?
One of the most critical aspects of a balanced diet is portion control. Even healthy foods can make you weight gain if consumed excessively. Learning to recognise appropriate portion sizes can prevent overeating.
A balanced diet focuses on nutrient-dense foods, which provide a wealth of nutrients relative to their calorie content. These foods help you meet your nutritional needs without consuming excess calories.
Steady Energy Levels:
A balanced diet provides a steady supply of energy throughout the day. This prevents energy crashes and the urge to consume unhealthy, calorie-laden snacks.
You must also bring strength training into the equation
If your goal is to lose fat, rather than weight, you must consider doing strength training. Strength training helps you burn more calories even after your workout, at rest, all day long. It also builds muscle mass, the more muscle mass you have, the faster you will burn calories.
The closing thoughts
Following a balanced diet, keeping a check on portion sizes, and doing strength training will make weight management a sustainable and joyful ride.
Remember, weight management is a lifelong journey, and a balanced diet is your reliable companion on this path. By focusing on nutrient-dense foods, portion control, and macronutrient balance, you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight while nourishing your body. Remember that achieving a healthy weight isn’t just about looking good; it’s about feeling your best and optimising your overall well-being. Embrace the power of a balanced diet, and it will reward you with lasting results.