Dietitian Namita Panagaria is a Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition. She also has an ADND (Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics) in Nutrition and Pediatric Nutrition, from AIIMS, New Delhi. She has an experience of over 8 years in Clinical Nutrition.
In an exclusive conversation with Zotezo, Dt. Namita has spoken about the importance of an intermittent fasting & balanced diet in weight loss.
Team Zotezo: What are some of the top ways you would suggest for someone trying to lose weight?
Dt. Namita: Weight Loss is not a very simple process. There is not just one single way of losing weight. It is basically an amalgamation of diet, exercise, and sleep. Diet constitutes 80% of your weight loss process. All diets are not suitable for everyone. Every diet has to be individualized since it varies from one individual to another. One has to understand their body and their metabolism before starting any kind of a diet. The top way for a weight loss plan is to start with a balanced diet, correct the lifestyle, consult a qualified dietitian and trainer. A diet and exercise should be combined properly so that affects the weight in a positive way. One should stay away from any kind of FAD diets.
Team Zotezo: What would you suggest as a sample balanced diet for Indians who are interested in weight loss?
Dt. Namita: There is no one thumb rule diet that can be followed for every person. Every person, their bodies and their metabolisms are different. If we consider the population of sedentary workers who are moderately obese and want to shed some kilos. Then we can start with the history of the daily diet and routine that a person is following. Then identify what needs to be changed for weight loss. An ideal balanced diet can be the following keeping in mind a person eats for every 2 and a half hours.
Morning: A glass of lukewarm water, followed by a cup of green tea/ black tea/ coffee without sugar and milk.
Breakfast: It should be king-sized like a glass of milk, an egg white and a bowl of Dalia, Oats, poha, multigrain bread, and any seasonal fruit.
Lunch: A plate of salad, 2 chapatis(made of multigrain or millets), a bowl of green vegetables, dal and a bowl of curd.
Mid Afternoon: A cup of tea or coffee with dry fruits.
Dinner: The lightest meal like a beggar which can constitute of a bowl of salad or soup
Team Zotezo: Is exercise important while fasting or following a diet for weight loss?
Dt. Namita: Weight loss is a combination of diet and exercise. Exercise will boost up your metabolism. If one has a proper regime for a diet, then they should have a proper regime for fitness also. Everything from the number of days of strength training to cardio must be fixed so that it does not become monotonous. And you are covering muscle buildup, utilizing the protein and carbs you are eating. Along with this, one must do cardio to keep the heart healthy good and every body part is utilized to expedite the weight loss process.
Team Zotezo: What is intermittent fasting and why should we do it? Are there any major benefits OR side-effects of this practice?
Dt. Namita: Intermittent fasting is what our ancestors used to follow. This concept has been for a very long time. Our ancestors never used to eat dinner after the sun had set. They would complete dinner at around 6 in the evening. Their next meal would be at around 5 or 6 A.M when they used to wake up. There was no scientific name at that time. Nowadays, after research, this is coined as intermittent fasting. Basically, there are cycles between the period of eating and fasting. It can be in a 5:2 ratio where you eat for 5 days and fast for the rest of the 2 (continuous or alternative). Another one can be eat stop and eat where we are alternatively eating and fasting. The most popular one is 16:8 where you have a window of 16 hours eating and fasting of 8 hours. It can allow you to eat almost every food of your choice because there is a period of 8-12 hours that you are gonna fast so the calories can be utilized. Side effects only occur when there are long hours of fasting where hunger, fatigue, tiredness, irritability, lower energy is experienced. One can reduce the hours of fasting or consume fruits, nuts to combat the effects of fasting.
Team Zotezo: How does intermittent fasting affect our bodies, why is it a popular weight loss practice?
Dt. Namita: Intermittent fasting helps to boost our metabolism. since we are fasting for a period of time and eating healthy for a particular period of time. It is easier to follow when done on an hourly basis. One is able to select the food of his or her choice. Our bodies usually adapt to this kind of diet easily.
Team Zotezo: How should we follow an intermittent fasting program?
Dt. Namita: For starting an intermittent fasting program, one should make a routine for fasting and eating. They should consult a registered dietitian for this. Since they will be able to give you the exact calorific (protein and nutrient requirements) details that are best suited for you.
Team Zotezo: Which is a better alternative? Following a balanced diet for weight loss or an intermittent fasting program?
Dt. Namita: Rather than making them as alternatives, combining them together will be a better option. You get the benefits of both the balanced diet and intermittent fasting as well. Include all the nutrients, vitamins and healthy fats for yourself. The anxiety to have food reduces since one has had a proper meal during the eating window.
Team Zotezo: What advice would you like to give someone trying to lose weight?
Dt. Namita: One takeaway message for someone who is trying to lose weight is healthy eating, hard work and a lot of sleep. Go for an experienced person, who can give you the best possible information and guidance regarding weight loss. Stress-free sleep is also very important since it can replenish your body with nutrients, build-ups muscles. Minimum 7-8 hours of sleep is very important for your body to heal. Compliance with your eating patterns and exercise is very important.