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Healthy Weight Loss without Dieting or Pills

Updated on January 28, 2013

Healthy Weight Loss

Are you one on the millions who resolve to lose weight at the start of every year New Year and arrive at the end still carrying the same weight or more? Do you experience the ‘Yoyo’ effect where you shed some and then it creeps back on? Weight loss has become a common obsession for most people and there is a genuine reason why. Obesity is a silent killer as it can lead to life threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and even heart attack. Statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, (2009-2010) indicate that 2 in 3 adults fall into the category of overweight or obese; sadly the trend is on the up and up (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/index.htm).

How it all started:

Like many people, I also resolved to lose weight New Year after New Year but to no avail. Finally, my realistic weight loss journey started with the documentary, Forks over Knifes, followed by a little soul searching and positive psychology. I psyched myself up to believe that even if I couldn’t cut meat out of my diet completely, I could at least trim my portions and become a minimalist. Resisting the carnivorous urge to sink my teeth into something meaty did not come easy, but denying my taste buds those whims yielded long sought after results. I lost a total of 13 pounds within a year, but the best part is that I’ve kept it off for two, and though I no longer crave meat though I reserve the right to indulge occasionally.

After countless years of fighting a losing battle, what it finally took was a slight lifestyle modification to get me where I’d always fancied myself to be...........on the lighter side. I continue to maintain a healthy eating habit and keep up with a moderate walking and aerobic regime.

If this story resonates with you, don’t hesitate to try my strategy as it is a healthier approach than dieting, and cheaper than weight loss pills. The strategy’s success for the most part depends on mental fortitude, and those who are able to withstand the challenge will reap results, it’s that simple.

1. Watch Forks over Knives (Documentary available on Netflix). This movie focuses on the health benefits of plant based diets and will set you thinking. It is a great documentary for our times; it is mind blowing and has the potential to set you thinking about your food choices and eating habits (negative ones that is).

2. Search and compile recipes that use beans, chick peas, lentils, tofu etc. These will provide all the protein your body needs (they’re easier on the digestive system too). Seafood and tofu recipes also provide protein. I also use mushrooms as a substitute for meat; the farmers market has a wider variety of mushrooms than the grocery stores do.

3. If you’re a rice eater, move away from rice that contains too much starch and invest in parboiled or natural rice; the later takes getting used, but is definitely healthier.

4. Experiment with the vegetarian recipes you’ve found, vegetable stock enhances the taste of vegetable dishes so stock up!. For me, it is more economical to buy vegetable cubes and make my own stock. Ready to use stocks come in big cartons and must be used quickly once opened (I ended up discarding too many of these leftovers).

5. Stock up on ingredients for the recipes you like and continue experimenting to expand your choices. If you like Indian flavors then a good book to invest in is Vegan Indian Cooking by Anupi Singla. I love this book because it has tasty yet very easy to make recipes. Though she calls for vegan ingredients, you can opt out of that unless you really want to keep it vegan (I don’t). The point here is to simulate her dishes without necessarily restricting yourself. Her book however is a worthwhile addition to your cookbook collection if you intend to stay with a no meat diet.

6. Set a date when you’ll take the plunge and try going completely without meat for the first few days unless you’re one of those people who must have their meat. In this case select a much smaller portion than you’d normally eat because even if you do not do away completely with meat, reducing your intake over the long haul is sure to help you shed some of the weight (it’s all about portion control). Keep it up religiously and you’ll begin to experience a lighter ‘you’ before long............but that’s only if you maintain the new found lifestyle religiously.

7. Make leafy salads a regular side at mealtime. A good way to make them really filling is to add cooked, cooled soy beans called Edamame. These are available in the Frozen vegetables section of most grocery stores (choose the bag that spells out ‘shelled’ on the package, you want the beans that are out of the shell).

8. The final trick here is to exercise regularly. I walk and do light aerobics but you need to do what feels comfortable to you. Consistency is paramount to this process which requires a combination of healthy eating, light exercise , and drinking lots of water.

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