Are your eating habits responsible for your weight-gain?

February 2, 2016

Diet has often been counted as the most important factors while studying the gain of weight in an individual. There are several factors in play while considering a change of diet to aid a change of weight- it could be losing or gaining a few pounds. One of the first few things that have a profound effect on the method you gain weight is the rate of your metabolism. The basal metabolic rate is what determines the amount of time your body takes to assimilate and convert food into energy. The excess calories you partake are converted into glycogen and fat, and stored in the adipose tissues of your body. The body does so in preparation for starvation or to provide for emergency energy requirements.

The first step in modifying your eating habits to ensure the energy you need is equivalent to the calories you intake is to make a note of what consists your diet on a regular basis. Try to focus on your diet in terms of food groups- carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, micronutrients. Once you know what you consume and how much, you can go ahead and change the quantities. Never omit a food group in entirety since each nutrient plays a critical role in maintaining the body’s equilibrium.

Next, make a note of the involuntary habits you might be performing while eating. Some of the common errors are eating while standing up, chewing too quickly, skipping meals, always eating desserts, or eating mid-meal snacks rich in sugar. Eliminating these habits can bring you a step closer to a healthy life, if not your goal weight.

There are certain lifestyle traits which trigger your brain into thinking you are hungry. As humans, we are trained to follow the basic instinct of feeding ourselves when we think we’re hungry. Identify these triggers and try to train your mind into believing otherwise. Things like watching food programs on TV, seeing your favorite snack every time you open a cabinet, walking past a coffee machine, the smell of freshly baked cookies- any of these could be your trigger(s). For the cues that you cannot seem to avoid, think of healthier alternatives to satiate your urge to binge.

Keep reinforcing your new habits. Do not allow yourself too many cheat-days. Follow a diet routine, since your body is more likely to stay in shape if it receives energy packets at regular intervals. This steadies the metabolic rate and therefore, makes it easier for you to predict your pattern of hunger and gain in weight.

Inculcating healthy dietary habits in children is a must to ensure they do not suffer from obesity in future. A sedentary lifestyle due to the flood of gadgets that cut down previously obligatory movements such as even walking these days (since hover boards have become a reality) can have grave consequences. We tend to get our children hooked to sweets and sugary food right since they are toddlers by coating their pacifiers with syrups or just handing them a candy when they throw a tantrum. Pediatric dentistry has long stressed upon the harmful effects of feeding your infant milk right before they sleep for fear of early childhood caries, but as a long term consequence, it also helps in inculcating a healthy diet and thus, prevents weight-gain indirectly in children who haven’t been exposed to unnecessary dietary sugars.

Recently the focus of the weight loss industry has been on exercise, but some studies have shown that the key to losing weight is more about our dietary habits. Eating a healthier diet is linked to faster weight loss that is permanent if the dietary changes are adopted for the long term. Although exercise does have numerous benefits, losing weight doesn’t seem to be one of them. For example, a long job for 20 minutes can only burn enough of calories contained in one large burger. Considering the amount of food we eat everyday, even constant rigorous exercise won’t help us achieve the slim body we desire.

Academics and nutritionists across the world recommend a diet high in fiber and nutrients. The best example of this is the Government of Brazil’s healthy diet recommendations that encourage people to adopt lean meats like chicken and fish over red meat, more fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich leafy greens in every meal consumed throughout the day. A good diet is well balanced and doesn’t leave out any major food group altogether. It is also essential that you control the portions you eat at any given time. Smaller snacks eaten more frequently throughout the day are more likely to help you lose weight than a single heavy meal taken once.

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