Q: Dr, how can one reduce on weight? Or what is the diet that one can follow in order to reduce on weight or burn our fats?
Q: Doc, I want to burn fat and have a flat tummy. What can I do?
A: This question has been coming up very regularly. And so, despite the fact that I have answered it several times over, I thought to write on it again and perhaps give more tips. So here goes…
The simple answer is simple….but quite long 😀 It’s diet and exercise.
Diet should focus on what we eat, how we eat it, how we cook I and the portions we eat.
What should we eat?
All food groups: Don’t fall all those ‘don’t eat fats’, ‘don’t eat carbs’ diets. Every food group is important. Just ensure that you take only the right portions.
• Proteins: focus on white meats (fish, chicken), plant proteins like melon seeds
• Carbohydrates: focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grain wheat bread, oat meal (made as porridge or used as swallow food to go with local soups), beans etc. White carbs as found in pastries cause your blood sugar to yo yo (go up and down) because soon after you’ve eaten them, you feel hungry wanting to eat even more. Clearly, this cannot help any weight loss program 😀
• Fats and oils: Use healthy oils like Olive oil, Canola oil etc and use sparingly. Generally oils that are solid at room temperature are full of unsaturated fats which are not healthy for you.
• Vitamins and minerals: Load up on fruits and veggies and make sure you have them with every meal. They are full of vitamins, anti-oxidants and other nutrients that help your body fight diseases.
Sea salt is touted to have a lot of minerals that are good for you, but make no mistake about it…sea salt contains as much sodium chloride as common salt or table salt. For anyone to get the benefits of the extra minerals they contain, they must be taking a whole lot more salt that what they need in a day. Remember that excessive consumption of salt leads to high blood pressure.
• Water: Drink sufficient amounts of water daily to keep your joints supple, encourage proper excretion, prevent dehydration etc
How should we eat it?
Slowly. Take a moment to eat and chew your food. Appreciate the texture and really taste it. The virtue in this is that signals from your stomach which take about 15 minutes to get to the brain, would have enough time to do their job before you over-eat.
Cooking of food should be done bearing healthy cooking methods in mind. Poach, grill, steam, boil etc.
Portions: Even if you do all the above but we take excessive amounts, then we will pile on the weight. What are the right portions? First, reduce plate size and then ensure that half the plate is filled with fruits and veggies, a quarter is filled with carbs and the last quarter with protein. Remember the tips we’ve given above and focus on picking the right foods from the mentioned classes.
Now don’t go piling your plate high while staying within your portions 😀 That’s an absolute no!!!
Breakfast: Remember to eat like a king’
• Wheat bread with peanut butter and a glass of fresh juice (or fruit slices)
• Or Oatmeal with fruit slices
• Or a slice of wheat bread with an egg and a glass of juice
• Or a smoothie
• Or A wrap of moi-moi with oats or pap and some fruits
Lunch: Eat like a prince
• Vegetable soup with fish and oatmeal (remember that the vegetable soup should be half the plate, the fish a quarter of the plate and the swallow should be normal height 😀
• Or local rice with stew (please no sign of floating oil should be seen :D), grilled chicken and veggies. Again I feel compelled to explain that the veggies should be half the plate, the rice and chicken should take up a quarter of the plate respectively
• Or Bean pottage with vegetables and fish. If you choose to have some plantain with it, just understand that the beans and plantains are struggling for a quarter of the plate which MUST NOT be crowded 😀
• Spaghetti (pasta) with sauce, salad and fish/chicken. Again, no mounds please!
Dinner: Eat like a pauper
• Boiled sweet potatoes with vegetable sauce and fish
• Or a (small) bowl of salad with a wheat bread roll
Now for exercise or activity, as I like to call it, be sure to get at least 150 minutes every week. This can be broken into 30 minutes on 5 days of the week or 1 hour on alternate days. During work hours try to get as much activity as you can.
• Pack your car farther from the office entrance as you can and walk the rest of the distance. If you take public transportation, stop at a farther bus stop than normal and walk (be sure that it’s safe)
• Get up whenever you get a call and jog on the spot.
• Walk to the bank to use the ATM
• Walk over to the copier to pick reports rather than call for them’
You can add to this list with other innovative ideas for exercise at work.
Remember that exercise should focus on general workouts including cardiovascular exercises, strength training and tummy exercises. A combination of all (and not focusing on just one) with a good nutrition plan will lead to sustainable weight loss.
Guys, there are no quick fixes here…it’s sheer hard work and grit 😀
Finally, remember that stress causes the release of a hormone that leads to deposition of fats around the organs leading to big tummies and increased risk of heart diseases. So, kick the stress 😀
Have a great night y’all 😀