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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

8 mistakes healthy Indians are making

Are you slashing sugar but forgetting about salt? Working out so hard, you could be risking burnout?

ht-weekend Updated: Jun 24, 2019 13:01 IST
Vanessa Viegas
Vanessa Viegas
Hindustan Times
(Getty images)
         

Do you eat right, work out, encourage others to do the same? Pat yourself on the back, but you’re not out of the woods yet.

Cracking down on sugar but ignoring salt 

There is of course the table salt you use, but more insidious are the hidden sources you may not know about, or choose to ignore — like packaged chips, papad, and ketchup.

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Cutting all carbs

Carbs are a dietary fiber that boost prebiotic growth in the gut. If you’re too focused on the weighing scale, you will likely go through periods when you cut all or most cards, and you think you’re getting it right because the numbers on your scale dip. What you aren’t seeing is that your gut health is suffering as a result too.

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Linking acidity to a particular food

Acidity works in mysterious ways, and it’s most likely not the samosa or the chai. Think about it… for decades, the foods that now ‘give you acidity’ did no such thing. Acidity develops over time. So, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, what has changed in recent years? Chances are its stress, smoking, excessive drinking, not enough water, late dinners, erratic sleep patterns, or all of the above.

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Overdoing it with the fruit

Fruit is best absorbed on an empty stomach, in the mornings, or as a snack between meals or before or after a workout. Fruit contains natural sugars, and there is such a thing as too much of that. If you’re juicing your fruit, you’re also losing the fiber that could help neutralise some of that sugar. Eat too much whole fruit, and you could end up burdening your digestive system, which means your body wouldn’t even be able to properly absorb the nutrition from the fruit.

Doing the same exercise every day 

Your body is smart, and quickly adapts to patterns. And the one thing it’s really good at is finding ways to conserve calories. So if you keep lifting the same weights and performing the same exercises, you’re not going to get the best results—especially if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’ve done some intensive circuit training today, allow your body to recuperate with a light session of yoga the following day. And vice versa.

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Putting cardio over everything else

Would you check your car engine regularly and never retread the tyres? Of course not. And that’s in a simple car. The body is an extremely complex mechanism, with numerous interlocking and interplaying sub-systems. Don’t race in place on the treadmill and ignore weight-training, or core exercises. Don’t expect to eat junk every day, go for a run and get away with it. Your fitness regime must be about the body as a whole, with a focus on different workouts designed to suit the different areas that needs exercise. And weight-training thrown in for good measure, to help keep your metabolism ticking over nicely.

Exercising but not resting

The trifecta of a healthy fitness regime is nutrition, exercise — and rest. Sleep is one thing. But ask yourself, when was the last time you really rested — with no screens, no activity, in a stress-free environment? Want to make a start? Set aside 10 minutes for breathing exercises. An important part of creating optimal fitness is recovery from exercise too. No pain, no gain might have a motivational ring to it, but when it comes to holistic health, it works better if you don’t push your body to the brink of burnout.

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Tracking weight but not body fat percentage

So you feel fit, stepping on the scale makes you happy, your clothes fit. These are good things. But you need to check body fat percentage if you don’t suddenly want to be surprised by cholesterol, glycemic level imbalances and other key health indicators that are increasingly common among the seemingly healthy. Tracking the right metrics can help you set the right goals, so that any gains you make are long-term and not fleeting, and so that your weight and wellness go hand-in-hand.

(With input from sports nutritionist Ushma Chheda and nutritionist Munmun Ganeriwal)