Busting myths surrounding weight loss is crucial. Nutrition is a field where scientific information needs to be considered over floating opinions of individuals.

So, is there really a way to melt all the unhealthy fat away in just a few days? Are these methods beneficial for the body in the long run?

Seethalakshmi R, Senior Dietitian at Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, has doled out guidelines for effective weight loss while keeping in mind health factors.

Diet

High Fiber Intake -fiber is a crucial nutrient and should feature in plenty in one&’s diet. One needs to spruce up daily meals with healthy salads, oats, quinoa, whole grains, nuts and fruits.

A Balanced Diet: A colourful plate would ensure that essential vitamins and minerals are consumed in equal quantity. Each colour represents a particular micro nutrient. For example, yellow- orange colored fruits and beta carotene (precursor of vitamin a) have a directly proportional relationship.

No Bulky Meals: Eating small and frequent meals would ensure that digestive juices and regulatory hormones work effectively. Choosing a medium-sized plate instead of a big one helps in keeping a check on the quantity of food eaten.

Healthy Snacking: She added that nuts are a healthy snack option. Walnuts, for instance, are composed of healthy fats that are proven to be cardio protective and good for the brain.

Hormonal Control

When it comes to hormones, the way our brain reacts to the “eat-stop” cycle is unique. Regulatory hormones are controlled by the hypothalamus, and play a crucial role in facilitating weight management. The hypothalamus controls feeding and enhances satiety.

Ghrelin: The dietitian informs that ghrelin or the hunger hormone is the main trigger for a person to start eating. Ghrelin signals the state of low energy in the body. The receptors in the hypothalamus immediately facilitate the process of eating. Ghrelin also triggers the action of another regulatory hormone, neuropeptide-y which is known for being an appetite enhancer.

Leptin: Leptin, commonly referred to as the “satiety hormone” is important to let the brain send signals to stop eating. Leptin resistance is commonly observed in obese individuals. Recent researches have accorded mutation of the leptin receptor to a high fat, high sugar diet.

Hormonal Cycle: Proper functioning of ghrelin and leptin would lead to a proper feeding pattern. Because of faulty dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle the receptors of these regulatory hormones malfunction, leading to the viscous cycle of “increased hunger—eating– lack of satiety–eating.” This cycle eventually ends up in weight gain and obesity.

Lifestyle

Slow Metabolism Not the Only Factor: Lifestyle is also a big factor when it comes to weight loss. The energy that is used up while the body is at rest is called basal metabolism rate (BMR). Contrary to popular belief, a slow metabolism need not always lead to weight gain. Physical activity combined with a balanced diet helps in melting fat from the body.

Exercise Is A Must: A combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises is helpful in order to gain a leaner and fitter body. Climbing stairs is an easy and effective activity as it is a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic mode of exercises. Several researches indicate that as we exercise our nutrient macromolecules are broken down and are eliminated from our body through breath, sweat and urine.

Consistency In Exercise Regime Important: Consistency in the physical activity regime is a must in order to break the body&’s set point. A set point is referred to as the wrong weight conceived by the body due to which even strenuous physical activity has the body saving up on the calories instead of using them. A set point is broken only when physical activity and dietary interventions are continued for a minimum of 8-12 months.

Dr. Seethalakmi summarized by saying that to achieve effective and fast weight loss, one has to set realistic goals for oneself and develop a positive body image. One must pay special attention to nutrition labels on food products and shouldn’t skip meals. She proposed not to view food as a bad thing. A negative connotation to food is going to make weight loss a difficult thing to achieve, she added.

She cautioned against looking for quick fixes or crash diets to lose weight. She insisted that there is only one mantra for losing weight and that is to make the first move and be determined to see it through. Lastly, she pressed upon finishing what one started. She said that when people see a fitter, toned and happier self, they would realize it was worth all the sweat.