Weight loss is a topic that has intrigued a majority of the population for a long. The quest to look good and achieve ideal weight is not restricted to a particular geography and is one of the most searched topics the world over. There have been countless researches, books, and articles already available, so an obvious question arises: how different will this article be? Well, the piece is different three significant counts :
1) The concept is explained in detail along with the other related terms, which you must know, before embarking on this journey,
2) We are not talking about crash dieting, but a sustainable, balanced diet which an average person can follow and stick around,
3) I have personally followed this process and seen the results coming through.
The process being shared here is the one that has worked for me in terms of a favorable outcome over the years. To give a background, like an average Indian, I am also a foodie who relishes paranthas, puris, chole bathure, pizza, etc. I also tend to put on weight, just like the rest of us(excluding a lucky few who struggle with putting on weight instead of losing it).In my view, if I can do it, then anyone can. So let’s get started and see for yourself what’s in store for you.
- The science behind weight loss
- Weight loss principle
- Understanding the Key terms associated with Diet and nutrition
- 5 Step Process for losing weight with example
1.The science behind Weight loss
Before jumping the gun and starting the weight loss journey, it’s essential to understand the science.
Weight loss is primarily a function of two broad parameters-Diet(80%) & work-out(20%).What this means is that what we eat is much more important than what kind of physical activity we are engaged in. This is also contrary to the myth that if you are working out or regular in physical activity, you can eat anything. For better clarity, we would be segregating the article into two parts. Part one will cover Diet and related aspects, which would be around 80% of the total. In the second part, we will cover the workout options, which would comprise 20% of the total coverage.
2.Weight loss Principle
The basic principle of weight loss is to consume fewer calories than we burn during the day. It doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself. You may lose weight by starving, but it won’t be sustainable and has its side effects. What we are talking about is mindful eating rather than emotional eating, which can be decided by answering three basic questions:
1. What is the daily calorie requirement of our body?
2. How much to eat and What to eat?
3. How to create a calorie deficit?
As we move along, we will be dwelling on various aspects to answer these questions finally.
3.Key Terms associated with Diet & nutrition
What is a calorie?
A Calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and dietary terms, it specifies the units of energy that an individual will gain on consuming a particular food item. In simple terms, the human body requires energy to function, which is measured in calories. The input source of this energy is food; hence the nutritional value of the food is referred to or measured in calories.
What are nutrients?
Nutrients are compounds in foods essential to life and health, providing us with energy, the building blocks for repair and growth, and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes. There are six primary nutrients: Carbohydrates (CHO), Lipids (fats), Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, Water.
What are the macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy and are required in large amounts to maintain body functions and carry out daily life activities. There are three broad classes of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
What is Body Mass Index(BMI) ?
Body mass index is a standard tool for deciding whether a person has an appropriate body weight. It is the ratio of a person’s weight with respect to their height.
BMI=Weight in Kg/Height*Height(In meters)
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- A BMI of less than 18.5 means that a person is underweight.
- A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal.
- A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is overweight.
- A BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
What is BMR?
BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate)-BMR is the minimum number of calories required to perform essential functions while the body is at rest. Anything that increases your metabolic rate will increase your BMR. This includes exercise, stress, fear, and illnesses. Your BMR is relative to body mass, age, weight, and height. It is also affected by your gender, as it is widely regarded that men need more calories than women.
There are 2 formulae used to calculate BMR, in [kcal / 24hrs] for men and women respectively:
- BMR for Men = 66.47 + (13.75 * weight [kg]) + (5.003 * size [cm]) − (6.755 * age [years])
- BMR for Women = 655.1 + (9.563 * weight [kg]) + (1.85 * size [cm]) − (4.676 * age [years])
An ideal daily intake of calories varies depending on age, metabolism, and levels of physical activity, among other things
What is Maintenance Calorie?
The daily calorie intake required to maintain your current weight is referred to as maintenance calories.
Once you’ve calculated your BMR, this is then put into the Harris-Benedict Formula, which calculates your total calorie intake required to maintain your current weight. Maintenance calorie requirement depends on your daily physical activity level and is calculated as under:
- Little/no exercise: BMR * 1.2 = Total Calorie Need
- Light exercise: BMR * 1.375 = Total Calorie Need
- Moderate exercise (3-5 days/wk): BMR * 1.55 = Total Calorie Need
- Very active (6-7 days/wk): BMR * 1.725 = Total Calorie Need
- Extra active (very active & physical job): BMR * 1.9 = Total Calorie Need
What is Ideal Body Weight?
Ideal body weight is the optimal weight associated with maximum life expectancy for a given height. Before using BMI to quantify obesity, TBW above 20% of IBW was defined as being obese.
The formula for Ideal Body Weight Calculation
Ideal Body Weight for Men=50+(0.91*(Height in CM-152.4))
Ideal Body Weight for Women= 45.5+(0.91*Height in SM-152.4)
Having understood the key terms, it’s time to go through the step-by-step procedure for Weight loss with the help of an illustration.
Example:- Mohit is a 20-year-old man with a height of 5.6 inches(167 Cm or 1.67 meters). His Current weight is 73 Kg(161 pounds). He is a student in DU and currently preparing for CAT exams. A sedentary lifestyle and lockdown due to COVID-19 have further compounded his weight problems. He wants to lose weight but is not sure how to go about it.
Let’s help Mohit to lose weight following our method as under.
4.Five Step process to Weight Loss
Step 1: Determine the Ideal Body Weight for Mohit, using the formula mentioned above
per the above formula, Ideal Bodyweight for Mohit is 63Kg, which means Mohit s overweight by 10 Kg(73 Kg-63 kg).To reach the ideal body weight for his height, he must lose 10 kg
Step 2:Calculate the BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate)
Using the above formula, the BMR for Mohit works out to be 1771 calories at his current weight of 73KG. However, for an Ideal Body Weight of 63kg, his BMR is 1633 calories
Step 3: Calculate the Maintenance calorie requirement
Referring to the formula in the section above, the daily maintenance calorie requirement for Mohit is as under
At a current weight of 73kg (Assuming little or no exercise): 2125 calories
For ideal Body Weight of 63 Kg(Assuming little or no training): 1960 calories
Step 4: How to create a calorie deficit?
Having determined the daily calorie requirement for achieving the target weight of 63 kg. Nxt step is to create a calorie deficit so that he can start losing weight. This will be done in two parts:
1. Designing a balanced diet as per the target calorie requirement
2. Physical activity to burn the stored fat
1. Designing a balanced diet as per the target calorie requirement
Since we have arrived at the daily calorie requirement, the next step is to work out the macronutrient break-up to design the Diet accordingly. The recommended composition of macro-nutrients for a Balanced Diet and sustainable results is as under:
Protien-30% ;Fat-20%; Carbohydrates-50%
This means that the combination of food items in your daily diet should be done so that 50%of calories are derived from carbs, 30% from protein, and 20% from fat.
For Mohit, using the enclosed calculator, Diet composition works out to be as under:
Daily Calorie Requirement: 1960
|Daily Calorie requirement||1960|
Sample Diet Plan
I am sharing the sample diet plan, which I used during my weight loss process. Since I am a vegetarian, hence the program has been prepared accordingly. However, you can prepare your customized diet plan basis the information shared above and ensuring the Diet has required a combination of protein, fats, and carbs.
Recommended food items to be included in Diet are shared in the healthy guidelines section towards the end.
|Early Morning||7:30-7:40||Lime juice/Aloe vera Juice(1 glass) AND soaked almonds(5 no)|
|Bed Time||8:00-8:15||1 cup Milk Tea AND 2 digestive biscuits|
|Breakfast||8:45-9:00||One glass fruit smoothie[1 cup chopped apple blended in 1 glass of low-fat milk] AND 2 pc multigrain toast with sliced cucumber and mint sauce|
|Mid-morning||11:00-11:30||1 cup green tea AND 1 Fruit|
|lunch||13:30-14:00||2 multigrain phulkas AND 1 cup rajma/whole dal AND 1 cup green vegetable cooked in 1tsp oil AND 1 cup white radish-cucumber salad|
|Mid after Noon||16:00-17:00||1 cup green tea AND 1 cup roasted jowar puff-makhana mix|
|Pre-workout||18:30-19:00||1 Fruit AND 5 walnut|
|Post-workout/Dinner||21:30-22:00||Veg oats (1.5 bowls; add carrots, peas, beans) AND 1 bowl of herb salad|
2. Physical Activity to burn the stored fat
After having fixed the Diet, let’s understand how many calories he needs to burn daily.
0.45 kg of fat=3500 calories, which means a daily deficit of 500 calories will help lose 0.50 kg in 1 week. Our target is to lose 10 Kg, so it will take 20 weeks(5 months) to achieve the goal at this rate.
Recommended activities for losing burning 500 calories/day
Walking 10,000 steps daily. By walking 10,000 steps daily, you can burn approx 500 calories. It will take nearly 1 hour and 40 minutes and is equal to 8 km. The schedule can be split into morning and evening sessions of 50 minutes each.
Since walking 1 hour 40 minutes is time-consuming, hence next best option is cycling for 1 hour at a moderate pace; it can also help in burning a similar number of calories.
Option 3: Body Weight Training at Gym or Home.
Bodyweight training increases the heart rate and is very effective in burning the fat, even after the workout session.
|Toe Walk||3||20 Times|
|Heel Touch||3||20 Times|
|Frog Jump||3||20 Times|
|Push Up||3||20 Times|
|Bench Dips||3||20 Times|
|Dragon Walk/Spider Walk||3||20 Times|
|Jump And Floor Touch||3||20 Times|
|50 Skipping n 5 Jump Floor Touch||5||50 Times|
Option 4 :Weight Training at Gym
For Gym lovers, there is nothing better than hitting the gym and pump the iron. Bodyweight training also increases the heart rate and is very effective in burning the stored fat.
Sharing the sample workout plan for a week, which I had used during my weight loss journey.
Sample work out a plan for a week
|Note:Super Set between Two Exercises||Day 1 and Day 5|
|Stiff Leg Dead Lifts||6–8|
|Seated Calves Raises||3||20|
|Standing Calves Raises||20|
|Note:Super Set between Two Exercises||Day 2 and Day 6|
|close grip lat pulldown||6–8|
|Dumbbell Military Press||3||6–8|
|Note: Super Set between Two Exercises||Day 3|
|decline dumbell press||3||6–8|
|incline smith press||6–8|
|Chest press machine||3||6–8|
|Decline bench sit up||3||12|
|Plank weighted||1 min|
|Dumbell side bend||3||12|
|Side planks||1 min|
|Note: Super Set between Two Exercises||Day 4|
|Alternate dumbell curls||3||6–8|
|Incline dumbell curls||3||6–8|
|Note: Rest Between Each Sets 90 Seconds|
|After Weight Training 30 Min of low-intensity Cardio|
Any of the above methods or a combination can be used for working out. It all depends on your interest, what you enjoy, and most importantly, what you can do consistently daily.
My recommendation would be an active lifestyle which involves around 45 -60 min moderate-intensity workout and 30 minutes walk in the evening after dinner.
Step 5:Monitoring Mechanism
The famous saying goes, whatever gets measured and monitored gets done. It is imperative to track the results to ensure that things are proceeding on the right track and timely course correction can be done (if required). The question arises, how often should the measurement be done? I would recommend tracking every week. Before starting the program, take a note of your waist and weight on a notepad or chart or diary or whatever you are comfortable with.
Do mention the date while capturing the measurements to track and record the weekly progress.
A Word of Caution
Initially, results would be faster since the body will be in a state of shock due to changes in the daily regime. However, later it might slow down, so don’t get disheartened, be persistent. Once you hit the plateau, increase the intensity of the workout. For example- Increase the pace of walking or running or cycling, lift slightly heavier weights or increase the number of reps if you are doing weight training.
The objective is to push the body out of your comfort zone and keep surprising it so that you get better results.
You may aim to lose 0.5kg per week for the initial two weeks and increase it to a max of 1 kg/week in later weeks by increasing the workout duration depending on your strength and fitness level.
General Dietary Guidelines
- Choose wholegrain foods that contain fiber like Bajra, Jowar, Wholegrain Wheat, Oats, and Ragi.
- Use more whole pulses and legumes like Green moong dal, Black channa, Chickpea (Choley), Kidney Bean (Rajma ), Black urad, and whole masoor.
- When mixing cereals with pulses flour or oats bran/wheat bran for chapatti, use in following proportion- (4 parts cereals +1 part Pulse)
- Use De-starch or brown rice instead of white rice.
- Oil intake has to be 2-4 teaspoons per person per day. Opt for any of the following oil:
- Canola Oil, Rice bran Oil, Mustard Oil, Olive pomace oil.
- It is advised to change and use all the oils mentioned above after every 2-3 months.
- Eradicate cream from milk and use toned/double toned / Slim Milk.
- Increase water consumption up to 2 -3 Lt/day.
- Avoid refined cereals like refined flour( maida ), cornflour, and its products.
- Avoid intake of fried foods and bakery products.
- Avoid Red meats like meat mutton and egg yolk.
HIT Dietary Guidelines
- Always have Pre-workout and post work out meals 30 min before and later to work out.
- High Protein intake is recommended. Have more protein-dense foods like pulses, soy and soy products, low-fat milk and its products, Egg whites, fish, and poultry.
- Take vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, sprouts, etc., to aid and stimulate muscle growth.
- The recommended intake of water is up to 3 lt/day.
- Include green leafy vegetables like Spinach( Palak), Bathua, Fenugreek (Methi), Mustard Leaves Or vegetable Greens, and bright color vegetables with lunch and dinner as salad, raita, etc
- I prefer taking fruits over juices.
- Have almonds and walnuts, Flaxseeds, Fenugreek seeds (methi dana ), and Seasame seeds
- Use peanut butter and avocado as healthy fat sources.
- Prefer white meats like egg white, chicken, and fish.
- Replace tea with green tea.
- Replace salt with lemon, herbs ( oregano, parsley, thyme, etc.), and spices to flavor foods.
- Avoid extra-sugary products like jellies, jams, candies, cold drinks, packaged juices, soda, and alcohol.
- Avoid cashew nuts, pistachio, raisins.
- Avoid the use of salt shakers and salty items like pickles, papad, chips, snacks.
- Avoid intake of fresh, dried coconut and groundnut and their chutney.
Thanks for reading till the end.I know its a long article but I am sure you would agree that it’s a comprehensive one.
Do share your feedback in the comments section.
Disclaimer: The details and content shared in this article are for general information based on my personal experiences. In case of a specific health condition pls consult your physician. We will not be responsible for any adverse effects or side effects that may arise due to the content shared in this article