DIET- A word that closely resonates to PUNISHMENT for many. I used to be a victim of this too until I understood some facts and science. First of all, NO you need not rely on salads and smoothies alone. NO, you need not starve. You can eat healthy choices to your heart’s content and lose your fat.
- I eat Indian food predominantly
- I very much eat white rice, at least for one meal a day
- I eat ghee
- I eat poori and occasionally sweets
- I eat biriyani
- I have dairy and gluten
The right food and the right portions are two key factors you need to keep in mind.
I am no professional expert, I am just sharing what I have learnt by reading and from experience. Please feel free to correct me if needed.
Now there are a lot of varieties when it comes to diet- keto, paleo etc. and also too much mathematics of macros and micros. If I do that much math I end up stressing myself out and release cortisol, then follows emotional eating, hormonal imbalance all that stuff. If you enjoy doing it, then fine. If not, keep it simple.
We all have read about ‘balanced diet’ in our schooldays. So that’s the way to eat. The image shows roughly how your plate should be. As you can see veggies constitute the majority. However, we all focus on dumping ourselves with more carbs like rice/roti to satiate ourselves. Let us just understand the food groups to eat better (Don’t worry…. I AM sharing my diet, but it is better to read this and understand the basics)
Veggies– These are low dense foods, meaning you can consume a larger quantity but still intake lesser calories. These mean veggies of a variety. Do not take potato alone and say this fact is wrong. It is not a tedious task to include variety. Meal prep a bit on the weekends. Bell peppers, carrots, radish and beets are few that can be cut over the weekend and can be included raw or sauted in your meal as a side salad.
Protein: Everyone is running behind this. Why? It definitely keeps you fuller for a longer duration. So you do not feel hungry often and end up snacking. I usually include one egg or half fillet of a fish (pan-seared) and it definitely keeps me so full. It in turn helps me reduce the carbs quantity I consume too. If you are a vegetarian, paneer and Greek yogurt are good choices to include. Dal, all varieties of beans are great sources too, however they do come with a good amount of carbs as well, so control your portions accordingly. I do not drink protein shakes as I am not sure how my body would react with hypothyroidism.
Carbs: The reason why carbs are being avoided is because they breakdown relatively easily. So hunger pangs come in and you end up consuming more calories. I feel hungry sooner if I eat white rice than rotis. Rotis help me stay fuller for longer duration. I have heard this as another reason as to why people switch to brown rice. I don’t like it. I add brown rice, quinoa, oats all of them to Dosa batters in rotation but do not allow them to displace what we traditionally ate.
Fat: Good fats also help you stay full. That’s why I include ghee. Ghee has also been a great contributor in healing my knees as it is good for the joints. If I add ghee to my dosa, I consume one dosa less and it helps me stay full for long. Sources include ghee, nuts and nut butters, avocado, cheese, tofu. You can include them in moderate amounts.
Does all this sound complex and stressing you out? Relax! Let’s make it even more simple. Our traditional Indian food, particularly Thalis (South or North) naturally includes all these varieties. So do not panic. All you have to do is control your portions. Lesser your rice/roti, increase your vegetable intake. For snacks have a cup of fruits or roasted makhana. This itself will help you see a difference. Once you are comfortable, try including protein from the veg or non-veg sources I had mentioned.
My plate here is a sample. I have included only 1 roti. But I had saag and also some sauted paneer & veggies with them. My mom would’ve scolded me for having only 1 roti (she has to…she is mom 😉 ) Trust me I had this meal at 1:30 p.m. and was full until 7 p.m. I had my dinner later at 7:30 p.m. The paneer made me feel so full.
I had made another roti, but did not eat as I did not feel the need for it. So eat only till you reach satiety. Sometimes even not drinking enough water can result in hunger pangs. So stay well hydrated. 2.5 to 3 litres a day is a good bet!
So here is what I generally eat:
Pre-workout snack: 0.5 large banana or whole wheat toast with little peanut butter
After workout and shower, I drink a glass of whole milk if I feel the need to.
Breakfast : 1 cup cooked rice, dal or any curry, veggies. (Yes I eat rice in the morning at least 3 times in a week)/ Avocado toast/1 Veggie cheese omlette/ oats with berries.
Mid morning snack: 1 cup fruits. If you are lazy like me to cut fruits and eat, get a variety of melon a week, dice and put them in an airtight container. I store them in fridge for 3-4 days. Take one cup and place it outside once I wake up for the chillness to go away. Kiwis and berries are other options.
Lunch: Roti or 0.5 cup cooked rice, veggies, curry and any protein like fish/egg/paneer. Sometimes plain curd.
Usually I do not have an evening snack as my lunch is filling. Makhanas are a good option if at all you feel hungry in the evening and looking for healthy as well as low calorie options. Roast them in ghee with little salt and you can store them in airtight containers.
Dinner: I make lots of varietis. Idli/Dosa/Oothapam/Upma/Semiya/Pasta/Poori.
I buy whole wheat pasta and bread. I love traditional millets and include at least one variety in my dosa/idli. I use broken wheat, ragi, green gram, brown rice, quinoa, oats in my dosas on a rotational basis. I add veggies wherever possible. Even in poori I add pureed veggies like spinach, carrot or beetroot and have them with chole instead of potatoes. I control my intake. I used to have 5 pooris before as they’re my favorite. Now I eat 2-3 depending on the size. Enjoyment as well as control.
- If you want to track your calories, I recommend Myfitnesspal . I used it for three weeks, knew how to eat and now can eyeball it.
- Mealprep over the weekends. It saves a lot of time over the week. Write down
your meal plan before buying groceries. You will know what to cook, how to include variety and also won’t shop unnecessarily and waste. If that sounds taxing, just make a variety plan for two weeks and keep rotating until you are bored 😉
- I slice and shred carrots in bulk. Also cut colored bell peppers and keep. These can be added to dosas, pastas, upma, rice and omlettes making them more nutritious.
- Do not eat outside more than once a week. For us Saturday dinners are the usual weekly outing. Rest all home-made until no emergency/celebration.
- Avoid all sugary stuff like cakes, ice creams, sodas, candies as much as possible. They are simple carbs and break down easily making you feel hungry. Reserve them solely for celebrations.
- Eat your meals on time. This will prevent you from food cravings due to hunger. Most of the times it is due to this that we end up having something ready made/to go.
- Try staying active during the day. Even if you have a desk job, ensure to move often. I am quite active all the time with my toddler 😀
- Take care of your mental well-being as it often leads to emotional eating (sugar/junk)
Here is a collage of my colorful plates 🙂
So… that’s all folks. Nothing fancy, that was the simple diet plan I followed to lose all of these 30+lbs. Hope it was helpful 🙂 Share it with your friends if they need.
You can follow me on Instagram @rinis_reflections or my FB page- rinis reflections where I share my journey.