SELF HELP RESOURCE - Wellness / Lifestyle

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We have heard the old adage of eating healthy- Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Queen and Dinner like a Pauper. With busy schedules, heavy traffic making our commute increasingly daunting, deadlines, home responsibilities…... the list goes on, do we actually take time to think about our meals? Meal timings and healthy food choices are two things we commonly neglect. Life is too fast paced to be bothered about the diet of Kings, Queens and Paupers!

But ongoing research suggests the benefit of maintaining regular meal timings and not without good reason. Consider the obesity epidemic that is steadily gaining momentum along with various lifestyle diseases. Doctors and Dietitians in lifestyle clinics are never without a steady stream of clients looking to 'lose weight'. Books, blogs, magazines and articles on dietary advice are being written by the experienced and inexperienced alike. Then why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off? Why do people cringe at the words 'exercise' and 'diet' and why is healthy eating almost always equated to being 'boring’? 

Do things have to be this complex and mind boggling? Not really.

Making simple everyday changes is all that is needed to get one's health back on track. Things like not skipping breakfast, not overeating at meals, healthy food choices, getting the right amounts of exercise and sleep can help pave the way for a better and healthier tomorrow.

Due to hectic schedules, most often the meal that is missed is breakfast. A study done by F Nafis et al., (1) was conducted among adolescent children. This study found that almost 33.8% of adolescents do not eat their breakfast regularly, and therefore is a point of concern, as breakfast is one of the most important meals that an individual takes.

Working long hours can also lead to stress and skipped meals. Come evening, and the body is famished. It craves energy and these food cravings are usually unhealthy. Evening snacks comprised of calorie laden, deep fried refined foods are at our beck and call. Sadly, our cafeterias at work are stocked with options like puffs, biscuits, mayonnaise laden sandwiches, samosas, chaats and other unhealthy options. We have a snack and head back to our desks. By the time, we are done with work, we go back home tired, and hungry. We dig in at dinner, which is usually a heavy meal in Indian households. After the meal, being too tired to do anything we either zone out in front of the TV or with our phones (and maybe a dessert like sweets, chocolate or ice cream) and after a while get ready for bed. The next day the whole routine repeats itself. This is just wrong! Our evening meals are large and run into one another. And yet as a generation we wonder why we are at 'risk' for lifestyle diseases. As Katherine Tallmadge (M.A., R.D., author of "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations) says, "evening and night eating is not just an isolated problem but the convergence of a host of lifestyle issues — stress, exhaustion, loneliness, disorganized eating and hunger."

What can be done?

•    Eating at regular times throughout the day and avoid long gaps between each meal
•    Meal patterns should be the same on a regular basis
•    This means having Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, with 1-2 light snacks in between meals every day.
•    This helps one have a positive association with food and not overeat at any single meal.
•    It also prevents ‘starvation’ eating later on in the day. 
•    If you have been skipping breakfast on a regular basis, your body may not be ready to have a full meal. Gradually start to change your body clock. Start with a small bowl of fruit/ a small idli with sambhar or a small chapathi roll.
•    Make time for meals on a regular basis. This could mean waking up earlier to have time for breakfast. At work, this could mean leaving your desk in time to go and have lunch or scheduling meetings that do not coincide with meal times.
•    Keep some healthy on the go snack and meal options that are not too messy and can be eaten on the go. This ensures you are not missing on your meal time. 

Options can be- roasted channa or a fistful of nuts for a healthy snack. A chapathi roll (made with whole grain or multigrain flour) stuffed with vegetables and roasted paneer can be a quick and healthy lunch option

•    In case you miss a meal or snack, try and get back on track and have the next meal on time. Do not let a missed meal or snack become a habit. 
•    Since you are eating at specific times, you need to regulate your portion sizes. Depending on your age, gender and physical activity, a Dietitian can help you with this. You can reach out to our Dietitians through the following link- -https://1to1help.net/wellnesscoach


References:
1. Breakfast skipping and proposed effects of breakfast on obesity: A school based study in adolescents in Aligarh, India. Faizi Nafis, Khan Iqbal Mohammad, Amir Ali, Azmi Suhail Ahmed, Ahmad Anees, Khalique Najam Year: 2014 | Volume:  7 | Issue Number:  1 | Page: 43-47
2.Obesity Society. "Eating dinner early, or skipping it, may be effective in fighting body fat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161103091229.htm>.

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