Fat free

Turn your body into a lean, mean calorie-burning machine

By Sujata Mukherjee
  • Published 20.02.19, 3:04 PM
  • Updated 20.02.19, 3:04 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Food was scarce in prehistoric times. Whenever humans ate well, a portion was stored as fat to be used in times of starvation Shutterstock

Would you like to turn your body into a fat-burning machine? Then even if you did put on a little weight, it would melt right off you. And no, you don’t have to follow any extreme diet or exercise regime for that; just a few simple instructions.

First, you have to figure out why your body stores fat. In prehistoric times, there was no guarantee that humans would get food every day. Whenever they found an abundance of food (an animal hunted down, an orchard of fruit), the body stored the extra calories as fat — especially in the abdominal region — to use in times of starvation. These days, of course, the stored fat is never broken down until there is an acute calorie deficiency.

The only way to avoid fat deposits is to eat only as many calories as you can burn. If you do not want to restrict your diet, make sure you take enough exercise.

Diet dos and don’ts

Carbohydrates: Avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugar, sweets, maida, soft drinks and fruit juice. Keep a tab on starchy food items like rice, chapattis, bread, pasta and noodles. Brown rice, brown bread and unpeeled potatoes are friendlier carbs. A healthy, moderately active adult needs about 150g of carbohydrate every day. As staples you can have about 100g rice, chapattis or bread. In addition, have 50g lentils, 500g vegetables, 300g fruits and a cup of milk.

Don’t have starchy food after sunset if you don’t move or work hard after 6pm. It’s better to have low-calorie items such as green vegetables, salad, clear soup, fish, chicken, paneer or lentils for dinner, which you should have by 7-8pm. Take a walk or do light household work after dinner to allow the glucose in your food to burn. Go to bed at least two hours after your meal.

Fats: “If you want to get rid of flab, you don’t need to give up fat altogether,” assures Priyanka Rana, a consultant nutritionist in Calcutta. “Just give up food that is fried, processed and categorised as fast food. Such foods are loaded with trans fat that not only aids deposition of fat in the body but also leads to a host of diseases. Eat nuts, avocados, whole eggs, oily fish, non-skimmed milk, butter and olive oil in salads or sauteed vege-tables.” Fatty foods keep you full for longer, helping you restrict your calorie intake.

Proteins: If you eat enough protein, you don’t feel hunger pangs and are energised. Also, the processing of protein burns loads of calories. If you are a moderately active adult, you can have as many grams of protein as your ideal weight in kilograms. For instance, if your ideal weight is 65kg, have 65g of protein. You can increase the amount of protein based on how rigorously you exercise. There’s about 20g of protein in 100g of fish, meat or lentils. In 50g of egg, you’ll get about 6.5g of protein and 100ml of milk or curd has 4g.

Fibres: You need 12-14g of fibre a day, which you can get from whole grains (brown rice, lentils, chapattis) and green vegetables. The fibre keeps you filled up, enabling you to eat at least 10 per cent less calories. If your diet does not have enough fibre, you can have 2-3 spoons of isabgol two times a day.

Fluids: You can have coffee or tea without milk and sugar 3-4 times a day. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. If you can tolerate chilled water, have a few glasses daily. Every glass of cold water forces your body to shed a calorie to bring the water to body temperature.

Focus on exercise

“If you have been doing a lot of exercise, don’t think that you can gorge on food, especially food that is fried or processed. Be careful about oil, ghee, alcoholic drinks and starchy food. Also, you must focus on those work-outs that burn a lot of fat. However, don’t start an exercise regime until you have consulted a doctor,” says Ashok Das, a bodybuilder and fitness coach.

You must work out under the guidance of an expert for at least five days a week. Never exercise on an empty stomach. If you have half an hour in hand, eat two egg whites and a boiled potato. If it is 45 minutes, have oats. In case you have had a heavy and fat-rich meal, you must wait for at least two hours before you work out. You can have a cup of black coffee before you start your workout routine.

Warm yourself up in 5-10 minutes through walking, running or cycling before the workout. After light stretching, do weight training for 20-40 minutes. Then do core exercises, which should be followed by a cardio workout for 30-40 minutes. This helps burn a lot of fat. Then do cooling exercises and take some rest. You can also take a shower in hot water.

“If you follow this schedule, you will not only burn a lot of calories and fat but strengthen your muscles. Strong muscles help shed calories when you rest (resting calories). This will prevent deposition of fat and aid in burning calories,” adds Das.

Last but not the least, get enough sleep. It helps prevent the deposition of unhealthy fat.