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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

10 healthy habits

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 13, 2012
First Published: 17:00 IST(13/5/2012) | Last Updated: 02:54 IST(14/5/2012)

Oscar-winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed an interesting secret behind her slender figure. No, it wasn’t some magic diet or rigorous ab crunching. The 39-year-old mother of two said that chewing her food 13 times actually helps her maintain those envious curves. The Hollywood star also admitted that she never opts for a strict diet as she wants to enjoy life to the fullest. So, if you too want to indulge in those small pleasures yet want to have a fit body, here goes!

Weigh yourself daily: Daily weighing can actually work wonders, as several days of no weight loss actually motivates one to try harder. “Weight fluctuates every day, even during the day, so monitoring is important, and don’t get discouraged if your weight goes up a bit from one day to the next, it’s natural,” says Dr Deepika Aggarwal, senior dietician, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Always take the stairs: We understand that you have a packed working schedule with no time left to work out, but you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator. “Taking the stairs is an intense exercise that increases our heart rate and improves our cardiovascular fitness, and shapes our most common problem areas like calves, thighs, buttocks and tummy,” says Dr Aggarwal.

Chew your meal: For good digestion, it’s important to break your food into small parts, and since your stomach doesn’t have teeth, you must chew your food instead of gulping it down. “There’s a satiety centre in the brain that takes about 20 minutes to taste and feel the goodness of food. Chewing enhances the taste, lets the food register in your satiety centre and you also don’t end up overeating in a hurry,” says gynaecologist Dr Nikita Trehan.

Order a la carte: When options are limited you will eat less, but when there’s a big buffet spread out it’s natural that you will end up eating more. “By ordering a la carte, you can choose exactly what you want, while keeping with the restrictions. If you only want a salad, or dessert and a coffee, the a la carte menu will let you do that. If you want to skip the appetiser and only want a main course, you can do that too,” says Dr Aggarwal.

Avoid mealtime distractions: Keep your smartphones, laptops and ipods away when eating, and switch off your TV. “When you don’t pay attention to what you are eating, your brain doesn’t register the experience. This leaves you less satiated and you end up overeating,” says Dr Trehan.

Have an early dinner: Have your dinner at least three hours before you go to bed. “Your body doesn’t digest food while you’re sleeping, so, if you eat right before you sleep, all the food will just stay in your stomach without getting digested as your metabolism slows during sleeptime,” says Dr Aggarwal.

Laugh your heart out: A study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that laughing for 15 minutes each day can help burn up to 40 calories. “Yes, laughing does burn a lot of calories because when you laugh, there is energy expenditure in your body,” says Dr Shivani Passi, dietician, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute. Well, we know you have deadlines to meet and projects to handle but how about taking a 15-minute break from those tough Excel sheets and cracking a joke or two?

Have a small meal before partying out: Yes, you read it right. We are asking you to have a small meal before you head out with your friends for a late night party. This will not only keep your hunger pangs under control at odd hours but you will also not overeat the unhealthy party junk.

Sleep well: Well, there’s surely no strict time to go to bed or wake up, but the creator of the universe has made a day and a night, and isn’t that an indicator enough? “The hormones are at their peak between 6am to 9am so that’s the time to start your day’s activities, and after 9pm your hormones are comparatively less active, and it’s an indication that your body needs rest,” says gynaecologist Dr Nikita Trehan.

Reward yourself: Once you’ve been through a strict diet regime, don’t forget to treat yourself to something sinful. It’s perfectly okay to indulge once in a while, say doctors, so go ahead an indulge in your favourite ice-cream.

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