I had gotten addicted to having tea at a local tea shop that has its chain of stores at every mall here. Inevitably, every time I spotted the place, I would saunter in for a cup, whether it was tea time or not. What was special about the tea was that they made it with condensed milk (a fact that my coach would not let me forget for a long time later). Even at home, I switched to using condensed milk for my tea (I had a 10.30am itch for tea every morning) to meet the same standards I so loved. At the shop, I never stopped with just tea. I almost always ordered it with a thick toast slice with dollops of peanut butter on it. By far, that may have been the hardest habit to knock. Occasionally, I still have an occasional tea at my pet tea hangout, but now ask for the non sweetened version (sans condensed milk). As for the morning tea itch at home, I am over it ( after 20 years!). I have begun enjoying flavored (apple, cinnamon, peppermint, orange, peach, strawberry) black tea.
I quit sweetening my oatmeal with honey and began using cranberries instead. A quip on honey that my coach loved to quote every time – A moment on your lips, forever on your hips! My coach recommended that I use agave nectar as substitute for honey when needed.
I topped my oatmeal with flaxseed meal, to up my fibre content – I learnt that having more than one bowel movement in the day is a good sign and not something to be embarrassed about. Tells you that you are eating whole and not refined foods.
I stopped helping myself to unlimited servings of fruit. Any food in excess quantities can cause weight gain. That partly explained why despite my healthy lifestyle, I was piling on kilos!
I stopped including sweet corn in my salads and by extension, also stopped cornflakes from my breakfast cereals. Corn has simple sugars and if your insulin metabolism is not optimal, it can spike the sugar levels in your blood.
I upped my water intake. This may have been the toughest habit to make. I am still working on it to become a habit.
I began including black eyed peas in my meals. Lobia – black eyed peas – is the poor man’s protein ( inexpensive, high protein food – you get the drift). Sanjeev Kapoor’s Lobia rasedaar is a treat to make and eat!
We still ate out on the weekends as a family, but I stopped drinking my calories. Often, we don’t realize that the drink we order with our meal is almost as calorie heavy as the meal itself.
I began to eat exotic fresh salads at lunch. I used quinoa, bean sprouts, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, red pumpkin, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds in my salads. There was never a dull day with the varieties I tried. My coach called me an atypical south Indian who did not miss her rasams and sambars.
For a brief 3 months, I gave up phulkas at dinner. I learnt that the gluten in wheat can inadvertently cause many health problems – I am sure you can google the rest of the details on your own. Instead, I ate whatever vegetable (subji) I cooked with yoghurt. I am still not big on rotis or anything made of wheat and eat it sparingly. I also began experimenting with jowar, bajra and other millet flours as a substitute.
Though it was tough in the beginning, I slowly gave up bread rolls with soup. I still miss the butter croissants that I so loved to sink my teeth into at breakfast. Refined flour that makes these delectable rolls and bread is processed food and my coach is dead against the foods that belong to that category. To make me feel guilty and remind me of its effects, she points to my belly and says that it is covered in layers of maida (refined wheat flour) from the inside.
1) There is more to it than plain old stomach crunches to get rid of your abdominal blubber.
2) The fat around your abs is the last place you lose weight when you eat/workout sensibly.
3) If you start losing inches around your waist, it is almost always, fat loss.
In a few weeks after I tinkered my diet and had begun eating wisely and compounding it with two days of hour long sessions at the gym (what I did there, I will write in another post), I experienced my first reward. I weighed 2 kilos lesser than what I had weighed in a long time. I was high. I had never managed to lose weight on my own without being on some fad diet ( GM diet anyone?) and that temporary loss always came back when I got back to eating regular food.
The two kilos I lost after I had made changes to my ‘regular’ food, never came back and slowly kept dropping. Under all the layers of adipose, I knew it in my bones, that I was on my way to a fitter version of me.
The seventh post in this journey is here.