Written By: Samrudhi Patil, First Year, Fergusson College
Our human body needs nutrients to live and it needs them in proper amounts to live a long and healthy life. These nutrients help in the smooth functioning of the body which is why they are classified into two groups namely, macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are the default energy source for a human body. They comprise of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The three macronutrients have their own roles and functions to play and hence, help the body grow, develop and repair it. Fats are not always bad instead they are an essential part of a diet and should account for about 15-20 % of the diet. They help in improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the organs and help in absorbing the vitamins in foods. Protein helps in repairing the damaged tissues and cells. They control the manufacturing of hormones and the healthy working of the immune system. Carbohydrates are small chains of sugar in which the digestive system breaks down into glucose to later use as an energy source. Carbs should take up 45-65% of a diet.
Micronutrients are not needed as much as macronutrients but they are equally important. They work in harmony with macronutrients to keep the bodily functions running smoothly and help in maintaining energy levels, metabolism, cellular functioning. They comprise mainly of vitamins like Vitamin A, B, C through to K and minerals from magnesium to zinc.
To manage these nutrients in your diet, try these things to keep you off from exceeding that scale on your weighing machine.
1. Fight against cravings: Make sure to fight against cravings for artificial sugar-containing foods like artificial fruit juices, packaged cookies, biscuits, etc. Instead try to opt for foods that make you feel full like fiber, proteins, whole grains and vegetables and fruits. These nutrients are healthy as well.
2. Avoid temptation: Temptations in the earlier stages are normal because your body is new to the diet. Try not to fall for the temptations. Do not completely cut off desserts from your previous diet but limit yourself to one small bowl of ice cream instead of a tub of it. If you’re craving for something sweet go for a piece of dark chocolate instead of ice cream. Make sure not to fall prey to your weaknesses.
3. Drink water or other calorie-free beverages: Many a time, thirst can be confused with hunger. Before going to get a bag of chips, drink a glass of water. Even after drinking water if you feel hungry go for refreshing drinks like green tea, black tea of black coffee. These contain fewer calories and are healthy for health and can act as a substitute for other sugar-containing beverages.
4. Eating mini-meals during the day: Maintaining your diet by eating fewer calories is an easy task but if you feel hungry then the calorie scale might go up. For this, you can fix your daily intake of calories and plan your meals accordingly. It is advised by experts to take small 4-5 meals during the entire day (dinner is the last meal, of course).
5. Measuring the food you consume: Studies show that people who measure their proteins, fats, carbohydrates before consuming any meal are more successful in managing their diet. It is not necessary to carry a scale everywhere which is why you can plan your meal according to the plate, which is known as the ‘plate method’.
6. Don’t skip your breakfast: It is a common misunderstanding among people that the less you eat, the less weight you gain. Of course, this does not mean that you skip your meals. Breakfast is the important meal of the day, which skipped, will result in weight gain. Skipping breakfast leads to feeling hungry and so you tend to eat more.
7. Include fiber in your diet: Fiber aids digestion prevents constipation and can help with weight loss. For an average human being, 25 grams of fiber is needed every day. One can get these through oatmeal, beans, whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
8. Lose weight slowly: Set realistic goals to lose weight. You may lose your hope if you don’t see the scale dropping down. Don’t get discouraged if you are not reaching up to your destination on time. Losing weight is a gradual process. Make sure you lose at least 2-3 kgs per week. You’ll start seeing the results of a healthy body after you’ve lost 5-10% of your weight.
9. Add minutes to your exercise: Engage yourself in some physical activity like walking, jogging, or some sports. Walking for around 30 minutes a day for five days a week helps in boosting your weight loss. Or you can burn a similar amount of calories by doing some other physical activity.
10. Celebrate your success: If you’ve lost some weight, celebrate! Give yourself that favorite pair of shoes or that shimmering black dress you’ve always wanted. Or perhaps take yourself out for a movie but never celebrate with a medium pizza or a tub of your favorite chocolate ice cream. This will keep you encouraged and managing your weight becomes an easier task.