I feel hungry all the time. How can I control my weight?
I think that’s a common conflict. You must have been told a countless times that in order to lose weight you must learn to control your hunger. This advice is the surest way to a failed weight loss programme. The truth is, you cannot follow a diet that keeps you hungry. It goes against your most basic instinct.
The answer lies in choosing foods which counteract hunger. Eat fibre-rich foods such as jowar, bajri, wheat bran, nachini, oat bran, brown rice, vegetables (not overcooked), raw salad, fruit, whole pulses, etc. Such foods satisfy your hunger. Refined foods such as chocolates, pizza, burgers, white bread, noodles, and pasta trigger your appetite. Avoiding such foods will help keep your belly full and tummy flat. As an added benefit, the high fibre food that you consume will prevent constipation.
What is the normal amount of weight gained just before the onset of menstruation?
Due to hormonal changes, around menstruation one tends to gain about one to two kg of water. If you’re gaining more, it could be related to sugar craving and eating excessively. Women with PMS (premenstrual syndrome) have a strong food craving for sugar, starch and chocolates. One would imagine that a high sugar intake would help satisfy the craving. On the contrary, such foods cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels and worsen the problem.
To avoid weight gain before the menstrual cycle, eat adequate protein in the form of tofu, paneer, soyabean, whole dals, almonds and peanuts, which help reduce the sugar craving and increase fibre in the diet by eating more fruits, vegetables and salad. Fruits provide fibre and reduce a sugar craving. In addition to this, reduce your intake of salt as it adds to water retention. Exercise regularly as it will help you stabilise your body weight and reduce the bloating.
Read on to know about measures to control weight, problems related to weight increase during menstruation, things to be kept in mind while travelling to stay slim and healthy.
I travel a lot. What should I keep in mind while eating out if I want to stay slim and healthy?
Many people complain that most restaurants do not offer healthy eating choices. But you can eat healthy no matter where you are. For instance, meal options could vary from steamed idlis followed by fresh lime juice or a fruit juice, to dry tandoori items such as barbequed vegetables, tandoori paneer, chicken tikka, fish tikka, steamed prawns, stir fried vegetables, and grilled mushrooms. Request the waiter to cook your portions in less oil. Most big hotels have a variety of salad to offer.
You could avoid the dressings or choose light dressings such as vinaigrette, tomato salsa, yoghurt dressings or just lime salt and pepper. They also have terrific clear soups with shrimps or fish and vegetable soups with lentils. A whole wheat bread sandwich along with salad and clear soup should complete your meal. You could eat fruit for dessert.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.