Friday, October 16, 2015

The biggest weight-loss mistake you are committing!

How many times have you complained "I've tried everything but the scale won't budge!"

Ok, so here is something you or your dietitian might completely overlook. Before getting befuddled with the calorie counting, the macro/micro nutrients in the food, the detox or paleo diet or the 100 other names that have recently swooped into our everyday lives, we might have to consider starting with the basics of weight loss. Most celebrities including the likes of Oprah Winfrey or even Akshay Kumar would swear by the idea of having early dinners. Yes, you heard me right! It is as easy as it sounds- early dinner. Now, let’s add one more word to this magic formula- 'early light dinner'. 

Most of us are in the habit of skipping breakfast altogether, a quick convenient lunch and dinners of epic proportions loaded with fat. We starve through the day and binge through dinner, thinking that we actually earned it. We unknowingly end up exhausting or exceeding our daily calorie intake limit in that one single meal, thereby making dinner the biggest meal of the day. Add alcohol and dessert to the concoction and we have a recipe for disaster. Now, what's even worse is that most of us go to bed soon after the heavy dinner session with a bloated stomach. This vicious cycle continues, day after day, week after week. We are not entirely at fault here. With working parents, busy schedules and school going kids, dinner times are family times when the whole family comes together to relax and have food. With the boom of restaurants/take outs and the home delivery options, more and more people are starting to consider eating 'outside-food' a more convenient and cost effective option, as compared to making food at home from scratch. Even while preparing homemade meals, we resort to heavily processed foods for making things easier. Because we tend to be more active through the day, the food we eat get metabolized easily. On the contrary, the food that we eat at night is more likely to be converted and stored as fat.

Weight gain is just one of the unwanted effects of our late-epic-dinner time culture. Most of us complain about unexplained post-nasal drip, cough, asthma and difficulty swallowing. These could be signs of acid reflux.  So, if you are in the habit of eating late at night and especially if you tend to overeat or eat heavy foods that are high in calorific value and then lie down soon after, you might end up having acid reflux. 

So what is the optimal time for having dinner? Anywhere between 7 or 8 PM is good. That being said, the rule of thumb is that one should eat 2 to 3 hours before bed. This in turn gives your stomach ample time to digest the food. You might also want to eat light, clean unprocessed home-made food as much as possible. 

What if you are one of those people who don't have the option to have an early dinner due to work timings or other unavoidable circumstances? As long as you eat smaller portions of less oily food and manage to stay within the calorie limit (ideally between 325-350 calories), things should be just as good. 

And of course, post-dinner snacks are a big no. If there is no way you can keep your post-dinner cravings at bay, then snack on fresh fruit. They are a far better alternative to chips or sugar laden treats. Give this a try and trust me, the scale will budge..!