5 elements of weight control advise you to balance your calories, watch your portions, get physical, nurture your family, and set realistic goals.
What is obvious most times is that anytime you say ‘diet’, people look at you with four pairs of eyes. Then think you are probably on the brink of deprivation and starvation. However, the truth of the matter is that eating a little less, making more nutritious choices, and getting our bodies active more often, can help us tip the scales back in our favour. Find below 5 elements of weight control you should consider:
Balance Your Calories
When it comes to losing weight, or not gaining it, eating right is only part of the solution. Another consideration is how we use the calories we consume. We each have a personal energy equation, and that is the basis of any weight-control strategy.
Diets come and go, for example, high-carb, low-carb, high-fat, low-fat, high-protein, or low-protein. There is always a ‘new and improved’ one on the market. But the bottom line is that calories count. And it does not take too many extra calories a day to make a difference, for better or for worse. It helps to understand what calories do. Calories measure the energy in the food we consume. Eventually, this incoming energy must be used as fuel for our bodies or stored as fat.
Each of us has an individual energy equation, with calories consumed on one side, and calories expended on the other. In other words, when energy from food is equal to the energy expended through physical activity, you maintain your weight. However, when your energy from food is greater than energy expended through physical activity, you will gain weight.
Watch your portions
In order to reduce the ‘calories in’, you need to be careful about portion sizes. It is easy to pile on the food without much thought to what you are really taking in. Even if you have taken time to read carefully the package for nutrition facts, the calories you take in could be much higher. This is due to the fact that your actual portions are more generous than the labeled serving size.
3 foods to watch
- Ice Cream is about 160 calories per half-cup serving. For most people, however, the minimum serving of ice cream is more than one cup or 320 calories. And typically more like two cups or 640 calories!
- Pasta is a low-fat food, with only about 90 calories per half-cup serving. But a typical serving of pasta is about three cups or a total of 540 calories, and that is without the meat sauce.
- Salad is an excellent low-calorie option. With its crunchy, nutritious, and filling raw vegetables. However, salad dressing adds about 120 calories per two-tablespoon serving to our ‘low cal’ salad.
Nurture A Healthy Family
As the obesity epidemic reaches the youth, parents look for dietary help. But imposing a portion-controlled diet is not the answer for most children. Despite the old rule about ‘cleaning their plates’, children need to recognise their own internal signals to both hunger and satisfaction.
Healthiest habits to develop at home
Since parents are extremely influential, it is always best to lead by example. This is because the healthiest habits are developed in homes where:
- Children are gently encouraged to try new foods. It can take up to 15 tries before a child decides to accept food.
- Meals and snacks are scheduled at regular times.
- Families share meals, and children help with food preparation.
- Food is eaten, as often as possible, at the table. And as seldom as possible on the settee, in the bedroom, or in the car.
- Eating is accepted as an enjoyable, health-enhancing activity, not as a reward or punishment.
- Physical activity is enjoyed, encouraged, and built into the family schedule.
Pay Attention To What You Eat
Food is one of life’s great pleasures. Only a few people really savour the flavour of food. For many people who only eat to suppress hunger, the tendency is to grab anything that becomes available. Hence, eating has turned more into a habit than a pleasure. This is not good. The solution is to develop meals that deliver maximum flavour and nutrition. This is can be done by using ingredients that are available locally. And then cooked in ways we normally don’t cook them. That is simple, swift, and with great taste.
The pleasure principle
So, if you are ready to lose weight, but not willing to lose the pleasure associated with food. Choose meals with added local flavour, plenty of lean proteins, and just enough fat for taste and more fibre for extra satiety. These meals should be: First, quick, and easy to prepare. Second, offer delicious flavors and textures. Third, fill the plate with appetizing aromas. Fourth, make you forget that you are watching your calories. Fifth, very versatile, and ideal for you whether you are at home or out.
Getting more active is an essential part of the 5 elements for weight control. This is obvious since physical activity helps you burn more calories. Although it does not necessarily have to take hours of exercise to accomplish this. Therefore if you are a little out of shape, no cause for alarm as you don’t have to rush to get up to speed.
Instead, set moderate goals and gradually work your way up. You can embark on light activities such as cleaning the house or playing golf. Or moderate activities like walking, cycling, gardening, dancing, and basketball. Or strenuous activity like jogging, playing football, or swimming. Or it can be a very strenuous activity like running, playing lawn tennis and squash.
Physicals to try anywhere
Whatever you decide to do, the great thing about physical activity is that opportunities are everywhere, not just on the treadmill or in the gym. For example, below are great ideas to try.
- Park and walk. Park at the far end of the lot and burn extra calories on the daily walk to the door.
- Be a stair-blaster. Bypass the elevator and lifts. Take the stairs instead for a quick 10 calories per minute.
- Keep moving. Clean the yard, mow the lawn, paint a wall, wash the car, walk the dog, play with the kids. These activities boost our ‘energy out’ equation.
It is well known that those who succeed at weight loss tackle both sides of the energy equation: they cut calories and add physical activity. There are three ways increasing physical activity pays dividends. First, it helps improve both mood and appetite control. Second, when exercise becomes a regular habit, we build muscle, which is not only more attractive than fat, but also more active. It revs up our metabolism, so we burn more calories even when we are sleeping. And third, many who win at the weight-loss game report that it only gets easier to add exercise. For the reason that a body in motion likes to stay in motion!
Set Realistic Goals
It is essential to set realistic goals for yourself and measure your progress. If you do not see that progress immediately when you step on the scale, you may be tempted to drastically cut calories. This can actually be counterproductive. Without enough calories, our bodies lack sufficient energy. Our metabolism slows down to preserve, rather than burn, the fat we hoped to lose. We grow discouraged, slide back into old eating habits—and watch the weight pile on.
4 ways to measure success
- Make your goal behavior-oriented rather than outcome-oriented. For example say: “I will walk 30 minutes at least five days a week” instead of “I will lose 4 kgs.”
- Set a target date for your goals. And then re-evaluate: “I will eat one extra vegetable serving every night for one month.”
- Post your goals as reminders where you will see them every day: on the fridge, mirror, calendar, etc.
- Get on the scale. By weighing yourself often, you will see your energy equation working. It is highly motivating.
5 elements of weight control emphasised that the right foods balanced with a proper amount of physical activity can make a huge difference in how you look. However, more importantly, how you feel. Therefore, by utilising these five elements of weight control, you can lose weight or maintain your current weight without sacrificing taste, starving yourself, or spending a fortune.
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