A low-calorie diet can speed up your weight loss when done correctly.
Learn why a very low-calorie diet is not only unhealthy but sabotages your weight loss efforts.
Check out the recipe I included for a quick and delicious lunch or dinner.
Everyone wants to get in shape. Not only do we look better when we are at a healthy weight and our body is functioning optimally, but we feel better, we age more gracefully, we cut our risk for various diseases. Even just a 5-10% weight loss benefits our cardiovascular health.
The best and healthiest way to achieve weight loss is not to cut calories, but rather to boost your metabolism which you can do by avoiding processed foods, adding spices to your food, and doing HIIT and weights/resistance training amongst other things. Even just moving around more can help, there are small things that you can do to achieve a faster metabolism.
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But sometimes, you want more immediate results. That special occasion that is a few weeks away or you want to look great for summer and it is only a month away. A low-calorie diet can help with this provided that you do it correctly. Otherwise, it can sabotage your weight loss efforts and even worse, your health.
Why a Very Low-Calorie Diet is Bad
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is a lifestyle change. You should be able to keep eating the way you are eating and exercising the way you are eating otherwise the weight just piles back on. When you eat too few calories, you are starving your body. This is not sustainable at all.
You see, we each need a certain amount of calories (energy) which we get from our food simply to stay alive. This includes keeping your heart beating, your lungs working, maintaining body temperature, etc. This would be your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
Women should never eat less than 1200, and men should never eat less than 1500. You can easily do a few tests on Google that involves entering your height, weight, and age to get an approximate idea of what your BMR is. Add in your activity levels and you will get an approximate idea of how many calories you need to maintain your weight.
Even if you are eating enough to cover your BMR needs, if you keep cutting calories below maintenance over a long period of time, your body will slow your metabolism down in order to keep you alive. Your body believes that it is starving.
How to Correctly Follow a Low-Calorie Diet Plan
If you do decide to cut calories, you should never cut more than 10% of your calories. For example, if you need 2000 calories a day to maintain your weight, you should not cut more than 200 calories. If you have started working out without taking maintenance calories into account, you could already be burning 100-600 extra calories.
This could put your body’s energy stores dangerously low on top of cutting calories from food. A 5-10% cut in your calories is enough to speed up your fat loss without losing muscle in the process. The body is meant to burn fat for energy in the absence of carbs, but if you do not eat right and if you cut your calories too much your body may use the protein from your muscles instead.
Do not be afraid of muscle. Your body was not designed to become big like a man’s or look extremely muscular. Strong muscles help to support your bones and joints, prevent injuries, and keep your metabolism fast.
Cutting your calories by no more than 10% will also ensure that when you start eating enough to maintain your weight again, your body will not start accumulating fat again in fear of the next time you “starve”.
When it comes to low-calorie foods that are full of nutrients, veggies are the clear winner. Seasonal vegetables are packed with nutrients and can help to keep you full, provide you with your carbohydrate needs as well as fiber, especially when you are keeping your grain intake low which is recommended as grains cause inflammation, bloating and over time, hormone imbalance.
Be sure to include them in every meal. Three cups a day is best. 1 cup of greens like spinach and broccoli, 1 cup of colorful veggies like peppers and carrots, and 1 cup of sulfuric veggies like cauliflower and cabbage.
Limit nuts, dried fruit, junk foods, and seeds as these tend to be high-calorie foods.
Low-Calorie Indian Foods (Delicious Recipes)
There is no need to resort to imported foods and supplements to lose weight. You can eat Indian foods to get a flat belly. You also do not need to cut out full-fat foods. In fact, fat encourages your body to burn fat for energy. Stick to healthy fats like coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil. If you use mustard oil, make sure that it is safe.
These are some of my favorite dishes to make:
1. Spicy Chana Salad With Olive Oil Dressing (329 calories per serving)
140 g chana(chickpeas) (boiled)
1 small onion (chopped)
1 small tomato (chopped)
½ a cucumber(kheera) (chopped)
½ a small capsicum (chopped)
3 tbsp of coriander leaves
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp zeera powder(cumin seeds)
Pomegranate seeds extracted from ½ pomegranate
Salt as per taste
OLIVE OIL DRESSING
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp black pepper powder
Lemon juice extracted from one medium lemon
1tsp of Palak´s plain Apple cider vinegar (available on amazon.in)
Soak the chickpeas overnight.
In the morning drain the water, wash chickpeas thoroughly with fresh water.
Pour the chickpeas into a pressure cooker.
Add some water to it.
Pressure cook the chickpeas until 5 whistles.
Take out chickpeas of the pressure cooker once they are done.
Transfer them to bowl.
Add jeera powder and chaat masala to it and toss it well.
Add chopped cucumber, capsicum, onion and tomato to it and toss it well again.
Garnish with some pomegranate seeds.
Add salt and the olive oil dressing to it and toss it thoroughly one last time.
2. Idli with sambhar Daal (approx. 250 calories per cup)
3. Cauliflower rice with Bowl of Yogurt (approx. 240 calories per serving).
There you have some great meals to try. Remember that an active and well-fed body is at its best and will work as it should, including keeping your metabolism revved high. As soon as you reach your goal weight, return to eating enough calories to maintain your weight and make sure the food that you eat is whole foods, not processed junk.