Weight Loss Part 1: Metabolism

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How is it going? I am sure, all good.

A few days back, in my Instagram stories, I ran an #ama (ask me anything) and all the questions I received on it, were about weight loss or about protein. We will come to protein some other day but let’s discuss the fundamentals of weight loss, today and in the next few posts. It is important to understand these basics of weight loss if that is your current goal.

Here is my Instagram link, in case you wish to join me there:

https://www.instagram.com/healthcoach_smita/

Weight loss and weight management are both not easy tasks, for anyone. Here, I said it. Let me also complete the paragraph by saying that it is not that hard either. A body achieves what a mind believes, isn’t it the truth?

However, it’s not as simple as losing weight through crash-diets or low-calorie diets or… long-hours/days of fasting coupled with binge-eating. Actions have consequences (good and bad) and what we eat (or not eat) impacts our health in a big way.

When we crash-diet or go on low-calorie diets, our body adapts in a lot of different ways and not all of them are positive. Our best bet is to lose weight slowly and steadily, in a healthy way – so that we can have a control over sagging skin, sunken eye’s/cheeks, hormonal irregularities, mental health concerns, slow metabolism, nutritional deficiencies, sustainability and so on…

And that is why I am starting today with first explaining a few terms that one needs to understand before undertaking a weight-loss journey, for it to be:

  • healthy
  • sustainable for life
  • bringing more positive changes as a bundle, rather then just unhealthy weight loss which would anyways make its appearance back soon, trust me

Let’s begin. Today’s post is about a word that we hear (and use) on a daily basis with ease however, if someone asks us to describe the word, I am sure most of us would not know how exactly to describe it. We know it, we are aware of it and yet, what it exactly means is not clear to most of us.

The word and topic of today’s blog is ‘Metabolism’. We use the word every day, in so many different contexts such as – “I need to boost my metabolism”, “I have a slow metabolism”, “this is good for metabolism” and “this boosts metabolism”, “she/he must have good metabolism, she/he never puts on any weight” and the kinds.

Let’s see what actually this mysterious metabolism is. To me, it seems that if we can figure this metabolism thing out, we can find solutions to many of our problems.

What Is Metabolism?

Simply put, whatever we eat or drink, is converted into energy for the body to use. The whole process of this converting food into energy is called metabolism. It is not a single-step process.

And we do need energy for everything that our body does – whether we run or rest. Body also needs energy for all the body functions that we don’t even see happening e.g. beating of our heart, circulation of blood, constant repair work inside cells, digestion and what not.

The very basic energy we require for our body’s basic functions is also called as Basal Metabolic Rate. This generally remains constant for a person and it takes considerable effort to change it. It also varies from one person to another due to many factors, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Body composition
  • Body size

Metabolism, to be honest, on its own has very little to do with weight loss per se. Shocking, right! It is true. So, unless one suffers from hypothyroidism or any other medical problem which actually affects metabolism, we can’t blame metabolism for our weight gain.

You see, weight gain happens due to lot of factors such as:

  • Energy disbalance e.g. you eat more than your body burn
  • Diet composition – means that even if you eat less or okay in terms of calories but the composition is not optimum for you
  • Physical activity
  • Sleep quality
  • Stress
  • Hormonal profile
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Genetic

Then Why Worry About Metabolism?

If it is not important why do we even worry about metabolism?  No point doing any sort of physical activity also if metabolism can’t be changed, right?

Wrong. Metabolism is important. In a way you probably never even looked at. Remember what I said when we began this post. The factors that affect weight-management. Recall the third point or scroll up. Right, body composition! And then, there is diet composition.

I have thrown probably two news terms at you today and may I say, of utmost importance. These are:

  • Diet composition – what our diet is made of or macronutrients (and even micronutrients) such as carbs, protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, minerals etc.
  • Body Composition – what our body is made of. Muscles or fat? What is their percentage? How much are the bones?

Now that you started to get it, let’s stop here today. Let it get absorbed. Think about these two words, their meaning and see where do you stand in both these terms.

Now, what to do about these terms, would follow in the subsequent posts and I will also keep sharing little nuggets of info (and motivation – super important, if you ask me) to work on these in my daily Instagram stories.

Hope you find what I write, useful and that it helps you in your goals and lifestyle modification efforts. All the best 🙂

Love, Health & Peace

Belly Fat 101

Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you all?

Thank you everyone for sending your love and feedback on my last post “Kanyadaan“. On another blogging-platform where I share these blogs a few days later, I got a couple of negative comments too. A few women criticized me for doubting my traditions to sound cool and modern.

As it goes, I am at the point in life where I have decided to believe in what I say/write. I do not mean to insult anything/anyone but if some traditions are against gender-equality or humans-equality, they need to go. It would be a long way but it would end, the sooner the better. And I certainly am not going to debate my beliefs with anyone, offline and online. No one ever won those arguments, have they?

Coming back to today’s post, this one is about something that everyone wants to lose.

I have been telling one of my clients to start gym for some time now. She is a busy mom of 2 and wants overall health with a toned body as well as a flat tummy. Definitely achievable, if you eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. If someone tells you it’s not possible after two C-secs, maybe you would like to show them yourself by starting soon! 😊

Till you do it yourself, do join me on Instagram where I keep posting stories on nutrition/health tips, workout ideas and my own flat tummy, muscles and abs! Work in progress still but, a proof nonetheless! 😀

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

So, she went yesterday and was told by a floor-trainer that she looks fine and doesn’t need to lose any weight. The trainer was right but he gave half information. She needs not lose much weight yes, but definitely a good amount of fat especially around her tummy. And not just for aesthetic reasons.

Did you know, the ‘’around-your-tummy’’ is the worst kind of fat for our health? Did you know it is of a different kind than the one around our hips and thighs? Oh yes, not all fats are created equal! And location does matter.

What Is Belly Fat?

This excess weight or fat that gets deposited around our tummy/abdomen, over a period of time – is called visceral fat. It is stored in our abdominal cavity and surrounds our internal organs like liver. It is also called active fat. There is also a term called abdominal obesity for it. You can call it beer belly also.

The little softness that we feel if we poke our tummies is subcutaneous fat (which is relatively better) and the visceral fat sits deep inside our belly. Visceral fat negatively impacts almost every organ of our body by causing major hormonal imbalances and triggering unhealthy chemical reactions.

Visceral fat can’t be seen from outside and only an MRI or a CT scan can tell us the accurate measurements of visceral fat in our body. Since these are expensive and not generally done for this purpose solely, there are various other ways for us to roughly determine it.

One good and simple way is to measure your waist, at navel. For men, more than 40 inches and for a woman, more than 35 inches mean excess visceral fat.

The main causes for visceral fat deposit are:

  • Unhealthy eating
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Menopause – due to lack of oestrogen hormone
  • Imbalance in gut bacteria population
  • Genetics – ( but let’s not make it our excuse, rather make it our motivation as genetics also can be changed to a lot of extent)
  • Inadequate sleep

The best way is to notice how your pants/jeans fit. If your size has increased majorly or keeps increasing, you need to start worrying.

Why This Fat Is The Worst Kind?

Because it can cause major health problems very quickly. People with normal weight and BMIs can also accumulate excess belly fat and be at risk for health concerns. It:

  • clogs arteries and raises blood pressure
  • increases insulin resistance leading to type II diabetes
  • increases risks for heart attacks and other heart complications
  • and for strokes
  • and for cancers such as breast, colorectal etc
  • results in low metabolism and increased risk of metabolic syndrome

How To Get Rid Of Visceral Fat

The good news is that visceral fat is not that stubborn and with its reduction, many diseases caused by it can be reversed/halted/improved. How?

  • Exercise regularly (30 minutes a day at least). This needs to include cardio as well as strength training, both
  • Eat well. A healthy, well-balanced diet is very important and no, it doesn’t include just salads or starving yourself. You will be amazed by how much you can eat in a healthy, well-balanced diet. In fact, I advise my clients to never skip a meal!
  • Avoid junk food, processed foods and sugar as much as possible. None, if you can!
  • Avoid stress – easy said and done but reducing stress levels can work wonders and of course, regular exercise helps in stress-management tremendously. Meditation is another way to reduce stress
  • Limit alcohol intake and quit smoking
  • Sleep 6-8 hours a day

Hope the post today helped you in decoding the belly fat mystery and provided some solutions for it as well. If there is something else that worked for you in a significant way, do share 🙂 Best way to get in touch with me if you don’t have my phone no., is to DM me on Instagram.

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Never A Bad Time To Start

Hi friends, happy Friday! How is it all going?

Hope you all have finally adjusted and settled down somewhere between the pandemic-related anxiety and the courage to re-start the life, though of course, with due adaptation to the new normal.

I have, I guess. Though we still take care to sanitize everything, to wash hands frequently, to wearing the masks when out, we still order most things online and the online-schooling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I am sure. However now, the kids go down to play, the office is open and client-meetings have started in person!

A fresh breather came in the form of me starting my gym-routine again, finally. Though, it has been hard starting from ground-50 (I totally made that term up!)…once again sweating, panting, pushing, pulling…gradually increasing the reps and weights…even if at half the strength and endurance.

From what was a hard-earned good level of strength-training for me, to falling back and beginning again from ‘mid-way’ levels – has been almost disappointing. Oh no! It didn’t take me by surprise, I anticipated it but still.

Nonetheless, I am happy to be back. Not complaining a bit! I am not starting from ground zero and I am making quick progress. The hard-work hasn’t gone all waste!

So, why am I saying all this to you? How does it matter to you what happens with me?

Let me tell you why. I would be a super-rich woman if I get 100/- for every time someone told me that the reason that they don’t go to the gym (or do anything for health/fitness, for that matter) is because they “know” that the moment they stop, it all comes back…the weight usually!

They say it because they haven’t figured it out, yet! They say it because they haven’t started, yet!

If they ever start, they would learn the truth quickly. And the truth is that you never go back completely…your hard work is never wasted…your recovery the next time is much faster. And it’s never a bad time to start!

Once you get used to any fitness regime or eating healthy foods, you can never go back. Your body won’t let you!

It pays tremendously to be fit and healthy! You would not only feel less tired but calmer mentally! The joints would pain less and the back would be stronger. You would be able to run with your kids/dog much more and the sleep would be more peaceful. Not to mention the BP, sugar levels and osteoporosis…all under control.

So when are you starting? Someone who is at least making an effort or has started…is already way ahead of someone who is still busy finding excuses. Do start soon. And do join me on Instagram for little tips on health, nutrition and motivation, everyday.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

The Very First Step To Health: BMI

Hi Friends, happy Friday!

How are you all? Hope all healthy and happy.

As for me, it has suddenly become a little more hectic (never thought it could become any more hectic but hey, what do we know?) because of my nutrition classes. I swear I have started having serious time-lapses on weekends now. When I am studying, I don’t even realize where the three hours went by and once I finish, it’s like I am three-hours behind everything! I stay disoriented for a long time and it’s not exactly pleasant!

The first thing we learnt in our first class, was how to assess a person’s current health before we start a diet and fitness regime for her/him. The first tools are BMI and body fat content, among a few others. Most of us have at least heard of the term BMI. Today’s post elaborates upon it some more and if you didn’t know about it, here we are.

What Exactly is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a way to measure body fat based on certain factors – such as weight and height.

Though not an absolute indicator of health and fitness, BMI still provides a good insight into it. For a normal adult person, male or female, BMI gives a good enough start to assess the health and risks associated with non-normal BMI ranges.

Why is BMI important?

BMI is a useful indicator and tells us whether we are at risk for many diseases. Once we understand the risk, we can work on our nutrition and lifestyle to lower the risk. We can consider BMI as a “risk-forecast” for our body and health!

BMI, waist circumference (to assess abdominal fat content) and assessment of various risk factors such as smoking and concerns related to obesity…combined together, can give us a fair idea of what’s wrong with our bodies, how we can prevent any further damages as well as their management, even reversal of a few!

Risks of What?

Type 2 diabetes (high blood glucose), blood pressure (hypertension), arthritis, cholesterol issues (high LDL and low HDL), cardiovascular diseases and many other obesity-related diseases as well as certain cancers.

Worldwide, people with BMI equal to or higher than 30 are considered obese and these people need to immediately start working on lifestyle correction including weight loss. Same goes with overweight people (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9). They also need to work on weight management to lead a healthy and active life, free of obesity-related complications.

Did You Know?

For Asians including Indians, the indicators are different as we are more vulnerable genetically, to cardiovascular and obesity-related diseases and disorders.

What Can Be Done?

Even a little weight loss means a lower risk of contracting diseases related to obesity. With a calorie-appropriate diet and some physical fitness activities included in the lifestyle on a regular basis, one can work on lowering BMI and other parameters. Consistency is the keyword here.

The ideal would be to stop ourselves and take a control of our health much earlier. Don’t wait, use the adult calculator-link below and a get an estimated BMI for yourself, right now. If it falls in a normal/healthy range, you can work on keeping it that way. If it falls in any other slab, start immediately on preventing any further damages to your health. Do note that for kids, the calculator is different.

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html

Please consider consulting your doctor or dietician in case you get a non-normal BMI read today.

Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

Is Transformation Your Goal?

Hi friends, happy Friday! How have you all been keeping?

Life has, to a lot of extent, returned to a less panicked state, hasn’t it? Whether it’s due to better survival rate nowadays or to the fact that we are adapting to the new norm of masks, sanitizers and social-distancing, knowing that there is no other way any time soon. Doesn’t mean I am not hopeful of a vaccination this year only. I still am!

And after experiencing this pandemic and seeing how important, more than ever…it is to stay healthy and have good immunity, what better time to start than now?

Also, a big thank you everyone, for your overwhelming response over my last post on Instagram which was me doing one-handed handstand, against the wall. I hope one day, I’ll be able to do that without the wall support 🙂

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Today’s post is just a short one! I simply want to stress on the fact that it is very important to stay healthy, have a balanced diet and lead an active life. We all know it already. Much has been said and written already. By me and countless others.

Many of you have recently asked me about my diet chart etc. I wish I could give you one formula but I don’t have one. I have again and again said that one need to combine diet and a basic fitness regime for overall health and strength. Either of this combination alone, would not take you where you want to be.

And weight management is just one factor in the whole health equation. Though it is perfectly alright to start with that motive and any motive is good enough 🙂

Nutrition is a very powerful tool, no doubt. But it isn’t easy! It needs a strong willpower where one could think of food in terms of neither punishment nor entertainment but in terms of nourishment. It is entirely possible to eat what you want but with modifications and moderation.

And if one says that they have done all they could in terms of diets and still reached nowhere, I would still  understand. I have been there.

For starters, it is not the same for everyone. And second, if you reached nowhere, you haven’t done it either right (for you)…or enough! In my case, I did not do it at all! Till I started, I did not know what I was missing out on.

Let’s say you started on a journey which means to take 6 months. You started enthusiastically but stopped after 3 months…would you still reach your destination? Obviously not! You stopped mid-way. You stopped walking!

One thing is for sure, if you gave it 6 months, you would never want to go back! Neither in terms of diet modifications nor in terms of physical fitness. The success, the transformation would keep you coming back for more! It would become a lifelong habit, trust me. Do you remember the golden 21/90 rule? If not, do read this previous post here.

All you need in this journey is to show up…every time you are supposed to. Whether you work on your own or take external assistance, consistency is the key. Even if you make no special efforts, you are sure to move ahead…just by the virtue of showing up. All you need is 1% a day after all!

There is another issue that many of my old friends have come up with and I will write about it in my next post. It is more specific to women than men but all the men who read my blogs, need to read it too 🙂

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Weight Management With Mindful Eating

Hi friends, hope all is good at your end! happy Friday!!

This is the second and last part of ‘Mindful Eating’ series. Mindful eating can also be called meditation with food, and rightly so. It’s not very complicated and far, far easier than actual meditation. And definitely, more delicious for one! Do read the part one here, in case you missed it.

I too have binge-eaten a lot in past. If I was eating a packet of cookies, I’ll finish most of the packet in one go. If I liked something, I ate multiple servings of it. It was for the taste and probably the addiction to sugar. I had a sweet-tooth and sweets, desserts, cookies, ice-cream, thandai, flavoured milks and other baked delicacies were my weakness.

It happened automatically to me but thankfully, I noticed the changes. With house in chaos always, with two little ones running and fighting and the Other Half fond of running TV debates on high volume, I eventually resorted to eating in my kitchen, for some quiet time 😊

It helped – eating in peace, I mean. I paid attention to my food.

Mindful eating is definitely achievable and is way better than any fad-diets which are never sustainable, in longer run. What makes mindful eating even better is the fact that it coordinates mind and body, just like a good meditation session.

Mindful eating is eating with awareness so that we understand what our body is craving at a point of time and to eat accordingly. To understand when to stop eating and to realize what really satisfies us when it comes to food. And to truly enjoy each bite of our food.

How?

It Involves

  • Eating in quiet, peaceful surroundings, without external distractions
  • Eating slowly
  • Understanding body’s hunger cues – knowing when to eat and when to stop eating
  • To dissociate food with anxiety and moods
  • Thoroughly enjoying each bite and to feel various texture, smells and flovours
  • Knowing what we eat is how we feel
  • Being grateful for the food and the health it brings

Benefits

  • Once you start practicing mindful eating, you start understanding your body better and once you understand your body better, you start understanding the value of nutrition
  • You get a better control on your eating habits
  • And this in turn, not just provide assistance in weigh issues, eating disorders etc but also makes you feel better

It is not about a diet or even diet-control. This one is all about eating and the pleasure of it, in our bodies and mind! To see which foods make us happy and healthier, both! At times, we all overeat and then feel like crap, bloated and unhappy for a long while…wishing we never ate that junk or at least ate in control, don’t we?

To realize that itself, is one level achieved. To realize what we eat affects our feelings and our moods, is a lot of progress already.

What could be better than being able to manage weight issues and eating disorders, WITH eating? We just learn to listen to what our body is telling us and eat. The main thing here is to listen. Not easy but not hard either.

Did you like today’s post? Share with your family and friends. Do join me on Instagram for regular stories, nutritional tips and a healthy dose of motivation to keep you on track.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health and Peace