Growing up, I was never fat. The concept of being over weight didn’t even arise probably because I was very active and a picky eater. All of this changed when I turned 25-26 years of age. I started drinking a lot more and really started enjoying my food. This change in lifestyle soon made me put on over 12 kilos, which for someone who’s always been fit was a very big deal.
I tried going to a dietitian, a pretty prominent one in Delhi and honestly it just didn’t work. The Doc was quite expensive and the results weren’t that great. Plus half the time I felt like I was starving myself. All the weight I lost with him (just a few kilos) came back and his diet was just too restrictive. On his diet, I started contemplating the meaning of life and was it worth my while to deny myself the pleasures of good food. That’s how much I missed eating my favorites.
It was only after this that I started researching on how our body works and how to maintain our weight in a healthy way.
First off, it is very important to calculate your TDEE; which is your ‘Total Daily Energy Expenditure’. There are loads of websites online that can help you do this. This calculates your height, weight and the amount of exercise you do and tells you how many calories per day you should eat to maintain your weight. One easy way to lose weight is to eat 300-500 calories below this level and you should start losing weight. It is however important to have an app like ‘My Fitness Pal’ to monitor and write down everything you eat so you know exactly how much you’re putting in. Once you start noticing that a small cheese pizza is 600-700 calories, you will hopefully start making better choices. On this calorie control diet, you aren’t denying yourself anything you love; you just have to make sure you balance out your calories. So if you really want to eat a piece of cake then you might want to stick to salads for the rest of the day. This obviously won’t work if you’re eating cake everyday as the type of food you eat also makes a difference. But at least you have some room to play here. This diet is pretty simple and effective.
Alternate Day Diet:
Another diet I tried to speed up my progress was the alternate day diet. Here I would eat at or just above my maintenance calorie level and on alternate days or just 2 days a week (non-consecutive) I would eat only 500 calories. This diet works quite well, though on the 500 calories days I would usually get quite hungry. But after a few weeks you get used to it. This is also a good way to maintain your weight once you’re at the level you want to be.
After trying the above two diets, I actually lost all the weight I had gained. But due to some emotional troubles I was going through, I ended up putting on a few kilos again. This wasn’t an overnight weight gain, but a gradual increase. Every vacation I took, I eat a little more and instead of curbing the issue right then and there, I became complacent. It is very important when trying to maintain a healthy body that you do some form of exercise or you monitor your weight from time to time. I stopped my yoga, started binging during the wedding season and holidays and soon I was unhappy with how I looked.
I didn’t wanna spend a year trying to get back down to the size I wanted. Plus it wasn’t like I was over – weight. When you only have a few kilos to lose and are very close to your ideal body weight, it becomes very hard to move those last few kilos and this is when I decided to try the Keto Diet.
I have always loved my carbs… not roti or rice but breads and pastas… I usually eat toast everyday and pasta at least 2-3 times a week. So for me this was a big adjustment especially the first 2 weeks.
The Keto diet is a diet in which your body goes into ketosis (not to be confused with Keto acidosis). Normally our body’s energy is fueled by carbs and sugar and in ketosis, since you’re cutting out the carbs, you’re forcing your body to use the stored fat in your body for energy. This diet has actually been great, I didn’t feel hungry at all during this diet and in the last 2 months I am down at least 2-3 dress sizes. In order to get into Ketosis, you need to divide your food as follows – 5-10% carbs (about 20g of carbs per day), 30-40% proteins and the rest healthy fats. Healthy fats include nuts, butter, cheese, avocados etc.
It takes about a week to 10 days to get into Keto and the first week you might notice a big water loss as well; Post that you will steadily lose weight, about 1 kilo or more per week depending on your body type. One thing to remember is that the weighing scale will trick you. My weight hasn’t really gone down much but all my clothes fit me. So it is better to see how your clothes fit before you start your diet and then a few weeks into it. You can perhaps try on your skinny jeans and see if they go past your thighs!
Most people on Keto say you can eat whatever you want as long as your carbs are low, but my advice would be to again eat at your maintenance level or just below it. It is also important to understand that everything has carbs including eggs (1.1 grams of carb). So if you have to keep your intake below 20gms, you must monitor everything you eat. It is advisable to not drink during any diet, however I often drank vodka with soda or Whisky – water on this diet, as they are very low in carbs.
My usual diet would consist of eggs with cheese in the morning, prawns in butter garlic and broccoli for lunch, avocados and salads for dinner. Burgers without the bread, Shawarma with just the meat and hummus etc. can all be eaten on this diet. I discovered a wonderful Youtube channel called – ‘Headbanger’s kitchen’ hosted by my friend Sahil, that showed easy Keto recipes. You can make cauliflower rice, cauliflower bread, Almond and even coconut flour bread if you missed your sandwiches too much.
Just remember, once you reach your ideal weight, go a little further and only introduce carbs back into your diet slowly. Start with whole wheat breads and brown rice. Just remember that there will be a little weight gain when you add the carbs back, but it won’t be fat (unless you’re wolfing down chocolate cakes everyday), it will mostly be water weight and nothing to worry about.
At the end whichever diet you choose, just remember to be patient and not get discouraged. You didn’t put on all that weight overnight so obviously it won’t come off that quickly either. And once you reach your ideal weight, it is important to continue monitoring what you eat. This doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy all the delicious goodies out there, but that you maintain a balance.
Here are some links for reference: