How to lose weight without trying too hard


Sometimes, you feel too lazy to work out. Or there could be too much work that is stopping you from going to the gym or following a diet. But your schedule or mood swings should not let you stop from losing weight. Incorporate these easy hacks in your daily life to do it effortlessly.

Portion control
It’s important to stick to limited portions at every meal. Measure the snacks before munching. Pour them in a bowl instead of eating out of a bag. Use smaller plates and say no to second helpings.

Proper sleep
If you haven’t been sleeping for seven to nine hours every day, you are not giving your body enough time to heal. Lack of sleep drains energy and makes you crave for comfort foods throughout the day, which can send your weight-loss goals for a toss.

Meal intervals
Your mom is right. You shouldn’t have huge gaps between meals. Starving yourself for a long period means that when you eventually eat, you end up overeating, which makes you consume more calories than required. Eat meals and snacks at regular intervals to also avoid low blood sugar levels, which can leave you exhausted.

Early dinner
Keep your dinner to about 25 per cent of your daily calorie needs. Have it at least two to three hours before going to bed. Eating too much too late causes indigestion and sleep issues, which make it difficult to stick to your weight-loss goals.

Don’t drink calories
Empty calories and loads of sugar that come with those shakes and colas are making you put on weight apart from causing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Cut down on colas, packaged juices for breakfast, and that large glass of wine for dinner. Instead, stick to water, or water flavoured with ingredients like cucumber, lemon or mint to feel fresh and healthy.


Does Eating Oats for Breakfast Really Help You Lose Weight?


Scientifically known as “Avena Sativa”, oat is a cereal grain that has gained good reputation when it comes to healthy eating. Also known as ‘Jaie’ in Hindi, oats are widely grown and cultivated in the paddy fields of Punjab and Haryana. Rich in protein and fiber, oats are a favourite amongst fitness enthusiasts, not only because they are nutritious but also because you can cook up a variety of things with them. In the book ‘Healing foods’ by DK Publishing, the author credits oats with numerous health benefits. “Oats contain multiple nutrients and  a gummy, water-soluble fiber, beta-glucan, which helps reduce unhealthy(LDL) cholesterol. They are also known to be a natural sedative, and excellent for easing indigestion,” states the book.

Consumed widely for its good quality protein

, oats have been known to help in weight loss. But do they? Macrobiotic Nutritionist Shilpa Arora explains, “Oats are rich in fiber which helps you remain full and prevents binge-eating. Having oats for breakfast is one of the best ways to ensure you lose weight. Oats give you a fuller feeling  as the fiber takes time to digest, thus preventing you from binging on other calorie high food.”

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Oats are filled with dietary fiber which helps in weight loss

Let us help you understand how the fiber in oats can help in weight loss

. Oats contain soluble fiber which absorb the water in your stomach and becomes gel-like. It swells up and thus, takes longer to digest keeping you satisfied and reducing hunger until lunch time. Another reason why oats are great for breakfast is that they are full of protein.While proteins are essential for building your muscles, they also play a key role in keeping your blood sugar levels stable and preventing insulin spikes which may lead to fat storage.

Oats are also low on starchy carbs and are good diuretics which means they help regulate the excess water content in your body. They are packed with other nutrients like Manganese, Thiamin, Magnesium and Phosphorous and are also low in calories, thus aiding weight loss while ensuring good health.

(Also read: 9 Amazing Benefits of Eating Oats Everyday



Oats are low in calories and full of good quality protein

There are multiple variants of oats (which are just grains) and oatmeal (rolled or flaked version of oats) available in the markets, but be cautious while purchasing them. Flavoured oatmeal may contain added sugar and have more calories. In that case, it is better to pick a pack of plain oats and cook it the way you like. You can make a breakfast bowl for yourself with coconut milk and fresh fruits or you can choose to make oats idli or upma if you would like a bigger meal. According to the Book ‘Healing foods,’ the best way to have oats to reap maximum benefits is:

  • Raw and cooked? Oats are said to deliver the best results irrespective of whether consumed raw or cooked.
  • Oat milk: Oat milk naturally contains more calcium than dairy milk. It can be made easily by soaking oat groats in a glass of milk and can prove to be a healthier alternative to dairy milk.

Oats make for a balanced, low-fat and delicious breakfast. So, what are you waiting for? Dig into a bowlful of nutrition for breakfast every day.

Will a late-night snack sabotage your weight-loss regime?

The Question

I eat dinner at 7 p.m. and go to bed at 11 pm. How bad is it to snack at night if I am trying to lose weight? What’s the best food to snack on if I’m hungry after dinner?

The Answer

Eat dinner early. No snacking after dinner. If you’ve been on a weight-loss diet, this is advice you’ve probably heard.

It’s thought that eating late in the evening will slow down weight loss or, worse, pack on a few pounds. But will it?

Many experts say no. Conventional wisdom holds that calories are calories, regardless of when you eat them.

In other words, if your body needs, say, 1900 calories, eating 500 of them at 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. won’t make a difference to your weight. Weight gain is caused simply by eating more calories than your body uses.

Does the timing of calories matter?

Growing evidence, however, suggests that weight gain is not just about “calories in versus calories out.” Weight-loss studies have shown that the timing of meals does influence how much weight people lose.

One trial, published in 2016, found that among 80 overweight women, those who ate half of their daily calories at lunch lost 25-per-cent more weight than participants who consumed them at dinner.

Two other studies discovered that dieters who ate a big breakfast (700 calories) and a small dinner (200 calories) were more successful at losing weight than were those who did the opposite.

The theory that’s gaining ground is that weight control is linked to the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that regulates calorie burning, hunger hormones, digestion and metabolism of fat and glucose among many other bodily processes.

In other words, your body is programmed to burn fat at certain times of the day and store it at others.

Scientists believe that a regular eating schedule – and sleep schedule – is necessary to keep our internal clocks in sync. (We have different internal clocks in every organ in the body.)

Disturbing these clocks by eating late at night, for example, can mess up metabolic function and influence whether consumed calories are burned or tucked away as fat.

Eating more of your calories early in the day has also been tied to lower a level of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and promotes fat storage.

To be fair, we’re not talking about eating an apple or a few nuts after a healthy dinner. There’s no research to suggest that eating a small, calorie-controlled snack at night will impede weight-loss efforts.

In fact, the right late-night snack may even benefit your metabolism.

According to a review published in the journal Nutrients in 2015, eating a protein-rich snack near bedtime can enhance muscle-protein synthesis while you sleep.

That’s a good thing since low-calorie dieting can cause you to lose some muscle along with body fat. Holding onto muscle helps maintain your resting metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories to perform its basic functions.

Extra dietary protein also enhances the muscle-preserving effect of resistance exercise, which I recommend adding to your weight-loss program.

It’s possible, too, that knowing you have a structured after-dinner snack can prompt you to consume fewer calories at your evening meal.

The key, then, is to eat a small snack, not a meal’s worth of calories.

Depending on what time you ate your evening meal, though, you may not need an after-dinner snack.

Know your trigger: Hunger, habit, or something else?

Before you head to the fridge, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Has it been a few hours since you ate dinner? Is your stomach grumbling?

Or, do you want something to eat because you’re bored or anxious? Or are you stressed out and need to eat to unwind?

Are you simply craving ice cream because you know it’s in the freezer? The thought of hard-to-resist treats can bring on a snack craving.

Perhaps your desire to snack at night is driven by a well-ingrained habit of munching while watching television or surfing the Web.

Consider your sleep habits, too. Are you staying up too late and skimping on sleep? Not getting enough sleep (seven to nine hours a night) can drive hunger and cravings by raising ghrelin.

If you do feel hungry after dinner, consider what you ate at that meal, and earlier in the day, too.

Do your meals include protein (e.g., poultry, fish, lean meat, eggs, dairy, tofu, legumes) and fibre-rich foods (e.g., whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables), both which can help prevent hunger pangs before bed?

If your meals are satisfying, you may still get hungry later in the evening, especially if you eat dinner early. If so, plan for a snack. Doing so doesn’t need to derail your weight-loss efforts.


What to snack on

Limit your nighttime snack to 100 to 150 calories, enough to take the edge off hunger. To stay within your daily calorie target, you may need to move some calories from earlier in the day.

Choose protein-rich snacks that help you feel satiated and supply your muscles with amino acids.

Smart choices include plain Greek yogurt with a handful of berries, an ounce of hard cheese and 15 grapes, a hard-boiled egg and raw vegetables, a half-cup of cottage cheese mixed with a quarter-cup of pineapple, or an 85-gram tin of flavoured tuna on two whole-grain crackers.

Or, try 100 calories worth of nuts: 20 almonds, 11 walnut halves, 10 pecan halves or 35 pistachios. (Pistachios in the shell take longer to eat, too.)

Avoid snacks made from refined starches and added sugars such as crackers, pretzels, cookies and cereal bars. These foods spike your blood sugar and insulin and, quite frankly, don’t fill you up.

Don’t snack out of the package. Measure your snack and put it on a plate or in a bowl. Doing so will prevent you from mindless eating and overeating.

To stay on track, don’t keep tempting treats in the house. Sooner or later, those bite-size brownies or salt-and-vinegar chips will call out your name, likely when you’re tired or stressed, and your defences are down.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto.