Let’s Talk About Mindful Eating

How do you have your breakfast? While reading a newspaper? While scrolling through news apps on your phone? While watching TV? Or, just running out of the house in a rush with either grabbing something like an apple or nothing?

How does your day proceed? Stressful mornings? Skipped or late lunches? Half of the time forgetting if you ate something or not?

If you have nodded a yes for any of the above questions, this article is for you.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a Buddhist concept that helps you in understanding the value of the food you eat and what that food is doing to your body and you. Mindful eating is like meditation but to appreciate the goodness of what you are eating.

Irrespective of who we are and what we do, our lives have become a constant hustle to make end meets. This hustle is all about earning a living to be able to fend for ourselves and ironically, that’s what we overlook while getting caught in this vicious circle of hustling!

Mindful eating is a practice that makes you aware of the food you are eating and what your body is demanding by understanding your hunger cues and pangs.

Every time you feel a hunger pang, you don’t need to fill yourself up with food. More often than not these hunger pangs are due to reducing water levels in your body. Are you amazed? Well, this is what practicing mindful eating teaches you about your body and digestive system.

Why Mindful Eating?

The everyday hustle has reduced eating to a thoughtless activity. People are so busy running according to the clock that it has become a mechanical act to fill their bodies with food during lunch breaks or tea time in offices. People are so pressed for time that eating has become a rushed activity. People have mastered the art of finishing a meal in less than 10 minutes! Have you ever stopped and wondered that this is what you keep hustling for and you don’t even spend 30 minutes in a day to appreciate what’s on your plate?

This rushed and mindless eating has grave repercussions on the human digestive system and the body. A rushed meal means faster deglutition which results in overeating or binge eating in a majority of the cases. The faster deglutition means you are not chewing your food properly which ends in the inefficient absorption of nutrients from what you are eating.

During office lunch breaks, have you felt that you have eaten too much or too less? It takes 20 minutes for the brain to understand that you are full. If you have a rushed meal you either end up eating more than your capacity or indulge in binge eating every half an hour.

By practicing mindful eating you slow down the deglutition thereby making yourself and your brain aware of what you are putting inside rather than just dumping it in. Slowing down the eating process makes it an intentional act instead of a forced activity. It helps you in distinguishing between the actual and false hunger pangs along with making you aware of your bodily requirements.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

Practicing mindful eating can do wonders to your health and body. Some of the benefits of mindful eating are, it:

  • Improves digestion
  • Helps in better absorption of nutrients
  • Makes the metabolism healthy
  • Aids in weight management
  • Reduces over-eating
  • Reduces food cravings
  • Can help with depression
  • Felicitates healthy eating
  • Prevents binge eating
  • Makes you enjoy your food 

How to Practice Mindful Eating?

Practicing mindful eating can be a little tough in the beginning but it is absolutely doable. Here are a few things that will help you in following mindful eating:

  • Turn off from all sorts of distractions while eating. No TV, no laptop and no phone.
  • Concentrate on what is on your plate. Make yourself aware of the food you are eating.
  • Don’t eat in a rush. Sit down properly at a table and chew your food slowly.
  • Take at least 20 minutes to finish each of your big meals.
  • Enjoy the flavour and taste of the food you are eating.
  • Get aware of hunger and when you begin to feel full.
  • Stop eating the moment you start feeling you are full.
  • Focus on your meal.

These might seem simple to follow or adopt, but when you start practicing mindful eating, you will realize that it isn’t as easy as it seems. However, don’t give up because, once you start practicing it, the results are amazing. Start with one meal. Eat that one meal mindfully every day and when you feel you have mastered the art of mindful eating with that one meal, you will automatically inculcate the habit of mindfully eating your rest of the meals.

 

The 5 New Popular Diets You Need to be Aware of

The moment we hear the word ‘diet’ we associate it with weight loss. This phenomenon has become so prevalent that there are times when people use weight loss and diet as synonyms!

Over the years, nutritionists and physicians have insisted on following a diet in order to lose weight. Well, that’s not all a good diet does. Besides keeping a check on your weight, it promotes overall good health and well-being.

Following a fancy diet has become a fad and everybody wants to jump on the diet bandwagon without understanding the importance and implication of these diets. Each body is different, and so are its requirements. No two people can gain from the same diet. Apart from losing weight, people follow a rigorous or strict diet to gain weight, build muscle, increase stamina, improve immunity, and to stay fit.

Popular Diets

 It’s always wise to understand what you are feeding to your body. Your body becomes what you eat. Here is a peek into some of the popular diets doing the rounds at present:

  1. Blood Type Diet

Did you know that your blood type can play a pivotal role in deciding what you are eating? This particular diet focuses on the person’s blood type. This type was formulated on the basis of various researches that have shown the importance of a person’s blood type on their health. You might know people who lose weight quickly and some who try every possible trick under the sun and, yet, their weighing scale doesn’t move an inch. The blood type has a significant role to play in this as well. Studies by researchers have ascertained that people of different blood type react differently to factors like stress, physical strain, certain food items, viruses, etc. Some blood types are more prone to diseases as compared to others. So, if you are suffering from chronic ailments or clueless about why your current diet is not making you healthier, you might try this particular diet.

  1. DASH Diet

Dash diet has been in the news recently in the US for being the best diet to combat depression. The researchers believe that people following DASH diet had shown improvement in their mental health. This diet is based upon natural food products like fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats. This diet lets you keep a check on your blood pressure as well. If you are suffering from depression or blood pressure issues, then you can give this diet a shot.

  1. Primal Blueprint Diet

Also called as Caveman diet, it was introduced around mid-70s. The primary motive of this diet is to eliminate grains from your gastronomic routine. This diet emphasises on eating like the cavemen that include consumption of meat, fish, nuts, and raw vegetables. There are neither specific portions to adhere to nor any intervals to keep a check on. Eat when you feel hungry and eat to your heart’s content.

  1. Flexitarian Diet

As the name suggests, it is a flexible diet that allows you to shift between vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. It is aimed at reducing the meat intake without completely excluding it from the diet. This diet encourages you to eat more veggies. As the name suggests, this diet is all about flexibility – it not only helps in weight loss but also helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

Contrary to the belief of eating at often regular intervals, this diet promotes eating in long gaps. Indians have been following fasting as a ritual since times immemorial. This diet is just that – fasting. You can opt from various fasting intervals depending upon the need of your body and physical activity. The variations that you can choose from include:

  • 20 hours fasting called as the Warrior Diet
  • 16 hours fasting meant for lean gains
  • 36 hours fasting which is Alternate day fasting
  • 24 hours fasting once or twice a week

Those following this diet have experienced better productivity, improvement in mental and physical health, muscle gain, and fat loss. Of course, intermittent fasting has to be properly combined with regular exercise and right eating.

Every diet plan is meant to cater to a specific body. You need to first understand your body and know what you need and require from your diet before starting on any diet plan. It is advisable to check with your nutritionist or physician before starting any particular diet.

Diet Myths You Always Believed

It is the universal truth that is seldom acknowledged that everyone secretly aspires to have an amazingly toned and healthy body. While it has been proved beyond a shred of doubt that achieving that takes time, patience, discipline, combined with exercising and a healthy diet – sometimes we tend to take desperate measures to get to the results quicker. However, not everything you read about dieting is true. Some of them are just tales to make you think you’re helping yourself whereas; you might really be putting yourself in terrible danger.

Here are some diet myths that you always believed to be true but sadly are not –

Crash diets help in weight loss

It has never been a good idea to suddenly stop your regular diet and start eating as little as possible. We have written in the past about how fad diet is the worst solution for weight loss. Crashing dieting only makes you lose the water weight and sometimes you would gain more weight than lose it. It also leads to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. A healthy diet is often misconstrued as eating less but your doctor and your nutritionist will tell you otherwise.

Not eating at night helps

Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. Period. Blood sugar tends to dip due to not consuming food, and when you wake up the next morning, you would be craving food that is loaded with carbs and sugar. It is better to be following a controlled and balanced diet than trying these rather harmful to health ideas.

Bananas make you fat

A lot of people believe that bananas are fattening. But the truth is, bananas are low in fat and are packed with potassium. To be precise, there is only 0.5g fat and 95 calories in a banana! It’s an excellent pre-workout meal and, no, when eaten in moderation, it does not make you fat.

Protein bars and shakes help you lose weight

Unfortunately, the advertisements for protein bars and shakes are completely wrong. Not all of them follow all the health protocols and sometimes it is just better to invest your time and energy in a sit-down meal. Some of the popular protein bars might be using bloat-causing additives like carrageenan and be using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. It is best to do your research before you purchase any protein bars and make sure you are not allergic to any of their ingredients. As for protein shakes, it is better for you to make those at home with a selection of fruits and vegetables that are good for health. Besides, homemade beats store-bought every time!

Eating big portions of healthy food wouldn’t affect you

Ever heard the saying that too much of anything is bad? It continues to be true in the case of healthy food as well. The idea of a healthy diet is to make sure you eat right and eat the amount that is filling. If you stuff yourself up like a Christmas turkey, you will end up feeling that way!

Coffee can help you lose weight

The myth is that the caffeine in coffee would act as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. However, the truth is, too much coffee intake would only lead to sleeping disorders and anxiety. If you plan on getting your coffee from your favorite coffee shop, remember that the add-ons would only lead to more calories. Drinking a cup or two of coffee or tea a day without cream or sugar, however, would be perfectly fine for your health.

Drastically cutting down on calories helps

As discussed before, drastic measures never end well for anyone. If you cut down your calorie intake drastically, you might lose weight, but you will end up gaining it back again. Psychologically, you cannot change your diet overnight. In fact, you would end up feeling deprived and hungry if such were the case. The best thing to do is consult a nutritionist and figure out a weight loss plan that works best for you.

Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight

This is far from true. If you don’t eat breakfast, chances are you will be hungry throughout the day and try to compensate by eating rather unhealthy meals. Whereas; eating breakfast helps you manage your hunger better. Opt for healthy food items such as oatmeal with fresh berries for your morning breakfast.

You don’t need a controlled diet if you work out

There is an idea that if you hit the gym often enough, it doesn’t matter what you eat. However, people forget that exercise is not a punishment for what you just ate. It is more of a celebration about what your body can do. In the long run, if you continue with an unhealthy diet, it won’t matter how long or how fast you ran on the treadmill. Besides, sometimes the calorie counter on the machines are off and might give you misleading records of your health.

There are plenty of other myths floating around the internet too. If you are planning on changing your diet, then consult your doctor and nutritionist and figure the perfect diet for you. Doing crazy things to get faster results often backfire and you might end up doing permanent damage to your health.

Your Most Common Nutrition Questions Answered Here

Staying fit and healthy is not an overnight task. It is a lifelong commitment. Exercising and eating right are two peas in a pod. A good exercise regime has to be backed by a good eating routine and vice versa. In today’s changing lifestyles and fast-paced lives, we often relegate health to the bottom of our need’s pyramid only to pay heed when the body reminds us, not so subtly, of lack of nutrition and healthy routine.

The most important ingredient for healthy living is eating right and consuming a nutritious diet. Inadequate intake of nutrients can cause various health issues like stringing aches in various parts of the body, fatigue, weak bones, poor concentration, etc. Most of the people think consuming nutritious diet comprises of going on a strict diet and ditching their favourite foods forever. But, that’s not the case. With so much of information available on the internet, one is bound to get confused.

Here are some of the most commonly asked nutrition questions that beginners often have:

  • I am new, where should I begin?

The question that muddles every beginner is where they should begin from when it comes to eating right. The first and foremost thing to do is to understand your body’s nutrition need. Each body has a different requirement depending upon their physical work, weight, height, age, and gender. As they say, an excess of everything is harmful. Any nutrient in excess can lead to harmful consequences. One needs to understand the right quantity of nutrients to be consumed for their body type. Don’t blindly follow something that a friend or acquaintance of yours is following. No two bodies work in a similar pattern. Something that worked for you might not work for a friend of yours. Always take guidance from a certified nutritionist before adding or cutting down anything in your diet.

  • Which diet should I follow?

Following a diet doesn’t mean starving yourself. Starving is the worst thing one can do to their body. A healthy diet comprises of foods that take care of the essential nutrients and minerals required by your body. There are various diets like Keto, Low Carb Diet (LCD), No Carb Diet (NCD), No Sugar Diet (NSD), Low Sugar Diet (LSD), Liquid diets etc. Choose a diet depending on your body and fitness goals. For example: If a person with low blood pressure opts for a NSD i.e. no sugar diet, she is bound to suffer fatigue and dizziness. Hence, it is essential to understand your body before trying out any diet. Consult your physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet.

  • How effective is high protein diet?

A high protein diet should be backed by a heavy and rigorous workout regime. Proteins take time to break down and digest. A heavy workout helps in faster ingestion of proteins in the body. If a person is not working out and consuming high protein diet, he is bound to feel lethargic as body’s maximum energy will be consumed in digesting the protein intake.

  • Should I opt for the no carbs diet?

Every nutrient is essential for a fit and sound functioning of the body. Completely eliminating any nutrient from the body is not advisable. Carbs are the main source of energy for your body. Moreover, following a no carb diet gets a little tough to keep up with. Completely eliminating carbs from your diet is a herculean challenge. A no carb diet will leave you drained out than usual. Don’t go for it unless it is specifically advised by your nutritionist.

  • How important is it to keep calories count?

Counting calories can be confusing in the beginning with various food items/dishes cooked and prepared in different styles. It is difficult to give a universal calorie count for any particular dish. On the other hand, when consuming fruits and nuts, you have a definite calorie count. If you are overweight to obese and looking forward to cutting down some weight, keeping a check on your calorie intake can be helpful. By counting calories, one is able to strike a balance between the calories consumed and calories burnt ratio thereby initiating faster and healthier weight reduction process.  You can take help of some smartphone apps for this.

  • What is nutrient timing?

Nutrient timing is all about what you are eating and when you are eating. Every nutrient has a different absorption period and until and unless you allow your body the time to absorb the consumed nutrients, it’s futile. You will only end up adding calories by not paying attention to the nutrient timing. One must be aware of the foods to eat before, during and post a workout. For example – Consuming proteins prior to workout helps in initiating faster and proper digestion since proteins take longer to digest and the rigorous body activity helps in speeding up the process.

  • How many meals a day should I eat?

More than the number of meals, the proportion of your meal matters. Eating small portions is the best practice to follow. Longer periods between meals make you feel hungrier and by the time you start eating, you end up binging and putting much more than what your body requires. This meddles with your metabolism leading to slower digestion process and bloating of the stomach. It is healthy to have 5-7 small meals in a day. By meals, we don’t mean full meals. Create a proper balance between your nutrients intake by adding a different kind of food products in your five meals of the day.

  • What should a healthy diet comprise of?

A healthy diet doesn’t mean completely cutting down on carbs and fats. There are good and bad fats. Before cutting down or adding anything in your diet, it is essential to gain knowledge about how the nutrition cycle works. For example – Cheese and ghee fall under good fats and are required by the body. But, it is important to know what quantity one is supposed to consume. Anything beyond the required quantity is going to create trouble for the body.

Again, when it comes to nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all. Eating right is a lifestyle and one must adapt to it to stay healthy. Gain knowledge, talk to experts, and you will be able to make the right eating choices without necessarily cutting down on anything.

 

What You Must Know About Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a procedure through which obese people lose weight by reducing the stomach size with the help of a gastric band or by removing a portion of the stomach or by re-routing small intestines to a small stomach pouch.

Owing to the fad of being small-sized, people feel bariatric surgery is done only to lose weight. However, that’s not the case. It also helps in recovering from Type II diabetes and minimizing cardiovascular risks thereby reducing the mortality rate. As per the U.S National Institutes of Health, bariatric surgery should be performed for obese people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at last 40. But recent researches suggest that bariatric surgery can be performed on any patient whose BMI is higher than 30.

Bariatric Surgery Procedure

There are three procedures through which bariatric surgery is performed namely:

  1. Predominantly Malabsorptive Procedures: The success rate of this procedure is derived from creating a physiological condition of malabsorption.
  2. Predominantly Restrictive Procedures: As the name suggests, this procedure is based upon restrictive measures like reducing oral intake by limiting gastric volume. The risk of metabolic complications is reduced with this procedure.
  3. Mixed Procedures: In this, malabsorptive and restrictive procedures are combined.

Following are the bariatric surgery procedures commonly performed in India:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery

In this procedure, the stomach is divided into two pouches. The upper one is made into a small sized pouch and the remaining part becomes the larger pouch. The upper part of the stomach is separated from rest of the stomach by stapling and the small intestines are rearranged to allow connection of both sections of the stomach. This results in lesser food intake. 

  • Lap-Band Surgery

This procedure is also known as Adjustable Gastric Band. In this procedure, the smaller pouch is created placing a silicon rubber on top of the stomach. It is performed laparoscopically. Lap-Band surgery is touted to be the safest procedure of bariatric surgery.

  • Gastric Sleeve Procedure

Also known as Sleeve Gastrectomy, in this process, a significant portion of the stomach is reduced by creating a major curve. This is a permanent/irreversible process unlike Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass. This process is also performed laparoscopically and is generally recommended for highly obese people. 

Postoperative Rehabilitation

After undergoing bariatric surgery patients are put on a clear liquid diet for a couple of days after which they are shifted to a liquid diet for two weeks. The patient follows this diet until the recovery of gastrointestinal tract. After complete recovery, the patient can shift to normal diet but since the intake of food reduces due to the reduction in the size of the stomach, doctors prescribe a diet rich in proteins and lower fats.

While bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet for weight loss, by following the right diet and lifestyle, most of the patients are able to maintain their weight after the surgery without any issues.

Need vs. Fad

The obsession of losing weight and reducing size has made bariatric surgery a fad. The body undergoes major altercations after undergoing the surgery. The post-surgery life isn’t as easy or simple to lead on. There are permanent dietary changes that the patient has to adhere to. If you fail to do so, the consequences can be serious. The surgery isn’t a permanent solution to weight issues. People feel that once they go under the knife, they can live the rest of their lives enjoying eating and no exercising. This is a myth. One needs to have a healthy and regular exercise routine else the weight is bound to return.

Being overweight or obese has serious health issues. People should opt for bariatric surgery for medical conditions rather than aesthetics. The health issues such people face range from hypertension to cardiac arrest and diabetes.

Take into consideration the overall factors before undergoing such a drastic step until and unless your doctor has suggested you to take this route due to your health concerns. Consult a reputed bariatric surgeon to help you know the needs and effects of the surgery on your body.