No discount on discipline

A well-toned body calls for a well-balanced diet and disciplined exercise routine. Starving yourself without exercising or working out yet bingeing on junk will fetch you no results, informs Mickey Mehta.


Health involves being aware about your own body, the way it functions, and the way you live your life. With an understanding of the importance of aahar (the food you eat), vihar (how you exercise) and vishram (rest) in your lifestyle, it is possible to transform yourself into a wholesome, vibrant and energised individual. A corrective eating pattern, rest and relaxation, and productive exercises are the main parameters that work in the long run. 

Listed below are a few diet and exercise myths and misconceptions:
Myth: Very low calorie diets are the best way to lose weight. 

Fact: The correct method is a combination of regular exercise and reduction in calories in a sensible way to bring about weight loss and in maintaining lean body mass. Diets less than 1200 calories or near starvation will only lead to loss of energy, stamina and reduced metabolic rates. 

Fast weight reduction leads to many side effects, such as low energy levels, nutrient deficiencies and chronic constipation. For consistent weight loss and better stamina and energy, eat regular meals at frequent intervals.
Myth: Packaged low calorie/fat-free foods are safe and ideal for weight loss.Fact: Most packaged and processed foods contain high levels of sodium, sugar, flour, fat and starch thickeners to improve their shelf life as well as to maintain its taste. Always ensure you read the labels for the serving size, fat percentage and the number of calories perserving. Avoid overindulgence of such foods and opt for fruits and steamed or roasted snacks instead. 

To lose weight, you must limit the calorie and fat intake and opt for small portions of food throughout the day to help you avoid feelings of deprivation and hunger. Include a few cups of green tea, herbal teas, veggie juices, coconut water and warm water as fillers.
Myth: Fat is best avoided, no matter what kind. 

Fact: Not all fat is bad. There are plenty of “good fats” that are essential for good health and aid in disease prevention. The good fats contain essential fatty acids like Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids. 

The best sources of these fats are flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, olive oil, avocado, fish, and nuts like almonds, cashews and peanuts. Avoid saturated and transfats found in processed foods like baked foods, cakes, cookies, biscuits and fried snacks.
Myth: Sweating profusely helps you lose weight and fat faster.

Fact: Sweating is your body’s way to cool down and does not necessarily mean a measure of how many calories you burn while working out. Working out in hot, humid conditions make you perspire more and the weight loss seen at such times is merely water loss and not fat loss. A good workout with adequate intensity will certainly make people achieve their desired goals. 
Myth: People who exercise daily need not worry about what they eat. 

Fact: Managing your weight is possible only by maintaining a well-balanced diet and rigourous exercising. Keeping track of what you eat, how much you eat, and at what frequency you eat are as important as exercising regularly. 

Together, they lend you good health, higher energy levels and better immunity.
Myth: One has to give up on rice, wheat and breads to lose weight.

Fact: Whole wheat, millets like ragi and jowar, and brown rice have many health benefits. They are rich in fibre and guard against colon cancer. They contain less sugar than refined carbohydrates like white rice and maida, and therefore help control weight. Opt for foods that are unprocessed, unpreserved, and without added colours, flavourings and additives, for better health and weight management.
Myth: Vegetarian diets are poor in nutrients.

Fact: Take note that some of the world’s strongest animals like the elephants, hippopotamus and bulls are vegetarians. A well-planned balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients that you need for good health and vitality. 

Vegetarian diets are generally high in fibre and low in cholesterol and saturated fats. This will reduce the risk of heart ailments and type 2 diabetes. 

A well-balanced diet consisting of whole grains, millets, fruits, vegetables, beans, low-fat milk, tofu, nuts and seeds provide all the essential nutrients required for health and immunity. 

Therefore, supplements are not required, unless the person is suffering from any condition that requires extra nutrition. The only exception is Vitamin B12, which is more easily available in meat and dairy products.

However, trace amounts are found in plant sources like soy milk, tofu, aloe vera juice and spirulina; consumption of these on a regular basis would be good. 
Follow these guidelines for better health and immunity:

n Exercise daily for improved blood circulation, oxygenation, better strength, stamina and immunity.

n Consume wholesome, healthy foods like millets, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts, low-fat milk, seeds and nuts.

n Rest and sleep well. They play crucial roles in rejuvenation and vitality.

n Practise yoga, prayer and meditation regularly to maintain overall wellbeing.
(The writer is a holistic health guru)

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