The secret to fitness is to eat…….Mindfully!

“I love to be fit. It is just that I love my muscles so much, I cover them with a layer of fat” – How often do you say that to cheer yourself up?

One of the many loops of Social Media you can get yourself pulled into is the quick fix or easy steps to a better physique. Why is that, in spite of conscious decisions we make on new year’s, we find ourselves nowhere further from the starting line every year.

The fact is, fitness routines and eating habits do not have a one size fits all for everybody. However, the practices and principles derived from basic science and logic are the same for all.

Reading, ‘Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think’ had debunked myths I had and has explained why, even with regular exercise, my layer of flab that I got when I was 15 is still there.

Keeping science and logic forefront, here are 10 points extracted from the book.

1 – Eat 80%

“You don’t have to eat till you are full. You have to eat till you are not hungry anymore.”

80% of what you normally eat will do just fine. However never deprive yourself of food, because you will pull yourself into the yo-yo effect. Instead, take 20% less every time and slowly work your way up the ladder.

For a rule of thumb, if you consciously reduce 100 calories a day ( the equivalent of half a can of coke), you will be 10 pounds (~5kgs) lighter at the end of the year.

(Number of calories reduced per day/10) = The number of pounds you will be lighter.

2 – See whatever you eat.

If only God gave us a calorie meter attached with our stomachs, a lot would have been easier.

A simple trick would be to take servings on smaller bowls. So when it gets empty, smaller the sooner it gets empty, your mind will know that it is time to stop eating.

Having external cues, like empty bowls, can help you decide when  to stop eating. Did you know that we take on an average of 200 food related decisions per day. So giving some of the work to external cues is a smarter way forward.

3 – Set your table and plate. Don’t be the pampered child.

Serve for yourself.

There is an enemy that makes us eat more. It is the horizontal and vertical illusion. Read it to know more. In short, having taller and skinnier vessels will give you the felling of eating more at the expense of lesser calories. When you do so, make sure you keep point number 10 in mind.

4 – Have some hustle.

Imagine a world where there are no stores that sell ice cream. The only way for you to enjoy a scoop would be to make it at home. In such a world, we naturally would eat lesser ice cream.

Same goes for every comfort food you have on your list (some examples are popcorn, ice cream, cookies, muffins). When you set yourself to work your way through a task to eat what you want, your calorie intake will automatically be lesser.

5 – Don’t get distracted when you eat.

Eat while you eat.

Even after a decent meal, how do you think you can eat the entire tub of pop corn at the cinemas. Try eating the same quantity of pop corn after a heavy lunch at your dinner table today!

With a distracted mind, you will eat more. Make sure you snack or eat at the table.

6 – Great Expectations

We expect maple syrup soaked pancakes when all you get for breakfast is idly.

It is in our genetic code to expect, but high expectations spoil our mood and worsen the joy of eating. To get disappointed or be happy about what you have is a conscious decision your brain is capable of taking. So kids, eat your veggies! No excuses

7 – Convert the comfort foods

A hot soup or a fresh salad can be as comforting as the 4c’s (cookie, candy, chips and chocolate).

Research says that food turns into a comfort food based on your emotions and the people around you when you eat them for the first few times.

Take Pop Corn as an example. Try recollecting every time you had it. What was the occasion and who was around you?

Asking you to replace pop corn with salads while watching movies is difficult, but you can replace some of your comfort foods with nutritious substitutes. With positive visible results, salads will become a comfort food too.

8 – Become your store manager!

Next time when you go out for groceries, replace all the ‘un-healthy’ food(crisps, muffins, cookies, biscuits) with fruits and vegetables. With nothing much left other than fruits and veggies to eat your calories per day is going to drop and your health is going to get better.

Don’t spoil it by ordering pizza online!

9 – Every serving matters

Ten calories are there in 30 ml of coke.

This fact can be handy when you decide to take the extra glass when you decide to give company till the others finish.

Every serving matters. Be it drinks or sides to go with the main dish. “I am full, but I can eat more”. When you reach this level, stop eating.

10 – Eat better.

Have food tradeoffs and food policies.

Foodtrade offs; Having trade offs can be a good check on the quantity and frequency at which you eat your high-calorie foods. An example would be, I have to do x to eat y. I have to do 20 sit ups before I have my serving of ice cream. It can motivate you for better fitness and check on how much you eat.

Food Policy: A simple, straightforward food policy and help you go miles. An example would be, “I won’t have fizzy drinks anymore” By having this policy you reduce caffeine and sugar from your diet. Say you have three cans of coke a week. With this policy in effect, you can be three kgs lighter at the end of the year. A more elaborate policy would be “Eat only veggies and meat. No carbs and sugar.” You can get creative with the policies

Our walk to fitness can be slow and be dreading at times. All the points above are the smarter way of doing it. Couple this with regular exercise, your next to-do task would be to practice the ramp walk! *wink*

After you have framed your food policy and tradeoffs, email them to me. Would love to read them.

To know more visit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/129731.Mindless_Eating

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One thought on “The secret to fitness is to eat…….Mindfully!

  1. Wish you had mentioned that…..We can have days not to be conscious about eating….then get back…you can’t have highway roads everywhere…you need to take muddy roads too.

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