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Updated on: Friday, May 31, 2019, 04:16 PM IST

The mind and the diet plan

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All diet plans begin with a wish in the mind: the wish to become slimmer and look better. Then comes the belief: “If I lose so many kilos, I will become slimmer”. Then comes the knowledge: the way to lose weight, is to eat fewer calories. And so, the battle, the tug-of-war in the mind starts!

There are some high calorie foods and there are some low calorie foods. The high calorie fattening foods are oily, fatty, sweet foods – the foods that most of us love to eat! The lower calorie or lesser fattening foods are the natural healthy foods: veggies, salads, fruits, natural cereals etc.

The problem is how to eat fewer calories. We find that people follow three ways of doing it. (I am not recommending all the methods. I am discussing them because different people are already following them.) One way is to starve – simply eat less. Another way is to eat only high calorie, tasty foods and eat very less of the lower calorie, healthy foods. The last way is to avoid the high calorie foods and eat the lower calorie or natural foods. Which method do you follow?

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The main culprit is an intense wish to eat lots and lots of tasty, high-calorie foods. And the point of battle is when you see that tasty dish on the table that everyone is eating. How to win that battle, that moment?

I always say that the best exercise to lose weight is ‘to repeatedly move the head from right to left’! You might wonder how this small exercise can help to lose weight. The key is that this exercise should be done when you find tasty, fattening food on the dinner table! That is, say “No”! All of us educated people are aware what we are not supposed to eat. The problem is not lack of knowledge. The problem is controlling that desire – even while seeing the dish on the table.

People are always looking for magical diets prescribed by exotic dieticians. It is important to realize that the diet plan is on paper. It doesn’t work unless the craving in the mind to eat tasty, fattening food is controlled.

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One way to win this battle is to ensure that fattening food is not present on the table! But this isn’t always possible. There may be other people in the family who like those foods and can afford to eat them e.g. young children. So the foods are made for them and the dieters fall prey!

One other strong view is that if we are going to give up the pleasure of eating tasty foods, then what’s the point of living. One practical solution to this is to eat only a small quantity of that food. The wish to experience the taste is fulfilled. And at the same time, we have consumed few calories. People who get satisfaction only after eating lots and lots of that dish, put on a lot of weight. Observe your mind: how much quantity of that tasty item you have to eat before you get satisfied. The solution is: fill the stomach, satisfy the hunger with other lower calorie foods and then relish the taste of the tasty dish by slowly eating a small portion of it! So you get the best of both the worlds: enjoy the taste but ingest fewer calories.

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The other method that some people follow is the method of starving. If the wish to look better is intense, it can overcome the hunger wish. People start ignoring hunger pangs. But it is not a wise thing to suppress this basic instinct. Food is not poison. It is necessary for healthy living. You may feel that this is such an obvious thing, so why am I stating it. Nowadays, we see many cases of over-successful dieting! For many people, the word ‘dieting’ meaning ‘eating less’! We come across many people, especially teenage girls, who have an intense wish to lose weight at any cost. So they start eating less and less – to the extent that they become underweight! And even at that point of time, they have the fear of becoming obese! What is happening in their minds?

The wish to eat less becomes so intense and ingrained, that these girls are unable to give it up – even after they have become underweight. The second problem is the irrational fear that if they give up starving and start eating normally, they will suddenly go from underweight to obese! They forget that they can closely monitor and maintain a normal weight. And meanwhile, because of starving and depriving the body of essential nutrients, they fall prey to illnesses such as tuberculosis or hormonal disturbances.

Thus, if you understand your mind, that diet plan will really work for you.

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Published on: Saturday, April 16, 2016, 05:17 PM IST
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