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ImageIf you find yourself wondering why your diet has stopped working midway, use these handy tips from macrobiotic expert Shonali Sabherwal and start losing those kilos again

It's a great feeling when you see that weighing scale veering to the left after a few months into your diet. But then suddenly, your weight just refuses to reduce. Don't fret. Here's an excerpt from macrobiotic expert Shonali Sabherwal's upcoming book, The Beauty Diet which will help you break through those roadblocks you have been experiencing even though you are following your diet to the tee. Excerpts:

You restrict your sweets and then crave them even more:
Diets naturally imply restrictions, so if you cut out sweets you will want them even more. Sometimes, it's the that sweets you binge, which often win. The thing we don't know about sugar is that you simply end up craving more sugar. It's a vicious cycle.

Handy tip: Include vegetables which are sweet in your diet daily - sweet potatoes (low on the glycemic index), cabbage, carrots, pumpkin (bhopla/lal kaddu) and onions. If you just can't seem to give up that cake, then bring it down to once a week and eat fruit on the rest of the days. Build in snacks at frequent intervals like early evening or before going to bed (with a gap of 45 minutes to bedtime), this will ensure you have steady blood sugar levels, making you less hungry and prevent you from overeating.

You eat out 80 per cent of the time and never plan your meals:
This is the worst roadblock if you are trying to lose weight. You may think that going out to a restaurant and sticking to salads and the other health foods is great, but you don't have control over portions. Also, you have no way of knowing what their kitchen is actually using as oils and flavourings (like MSG, for example, bloats you up or high corn fructose, which has more calories than sugar and makes you more hungry). You may even end up eating way too much bread or bread sticks, waiting for your meal to arrive.

Handy tip: Take five minutes of your day to plan both your meals and snacks. Take another 10 minutes to pack them in boxes and keep them ready to go with you the next morning. Instead of eating the bread, ask for an appetizer. Something with greens, vegetable or soup, which is a good way to prepare for the meal. If the portions are too large, split the meal with a friend.

You workout, but that gives you the licence to eat even more:
This happened to me recently. I started a fantastic and very intense form of exercise called Crossfit, and naturally felt I could now eat a little more than I normally do. Essentially what happens is you are burning calories while working out, but putting double the amount on by doing eating. Most people end up eating after a workout. This is the time that most make the mistake of eating a snack, and equate it with the amount of calories they have burnt during their exercise routine.

Handy tip: To lose the weight, you need to exercise and stop the excess eating and snacking - your mantra should be exercise and eat healthy. So you need food that will nourish you - specifically good sources of protein and high-fiber carbohydrates. That's the kind of snack you should plan after a workout. I now carry my vegan protein smoothie to my workout and have it after I finish - better than bingeing on something unplanned or eating much later when you will be far hungrier and overeat.

You think the best way of keeping the weight down is to only eat salads and soups as you think they have less calories:
While having a salad may sound healthy, the ingredients that are used to make the dressing, out of a bottle or eating a salad at a restaurant, will most often have hidden fats (like butter, other refined oils or dressings that would have sugars and artificial flavourings). Salads and soups are not a balanced meal composition and does not provide you with the nourishment that aids weight loss. To lose weight you need whole grain, vegetables and protein components (whether it be a bean, legume, fish, chicken). They work together synergistically to help you lose weight.

Handy tip: If you tend to eat at restaurants, you can start by making a simple salad dressing at home and carrying it with you to pour over the salad. If that's an issue, ask for the salad dressing on the side and mix just half the portion, on your salad. Make sure you always have a balanced meal format: a whole grain (brown rice, roti); beans, legume, fish, chiken; and vegetables; you can choose to eat the whole grain at two meals and keep it out at one.

You buy anything and everything that says "low fat" and "diet":
In a quest to lose weight it's very easy to get into the trap of eating stuff labelled "no fat" and "diet", while it is these very foods that possibly carry the most amount of trans fats which will cause you to gain weight. So while your roasted soya and nachni chips may scream soya and nachni, they are full of trans fats as most times hdrogenated oils have been used to make them. Most packaged products are also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup - this product will cause you to eat more and there goes your commitment to losing weight.

Handy tip: Stay away from processed and packaged foods. However if you want to buy them, then always read food labels and watch for trans fats, saturated fats and corn syrup and high corn fructose, if these products are made with these ingredients, then stay away from them.

By Mumbai Mirror

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