So which diet is wrong and which one is right?
Why can’t I have French fries?
If eating on time is all I need…
How is it different for you and me?
Where does the word diet come from? Did someone suddenly stop eating and invent the crash course of dieting for all major occasions in our lives? Thereby, making the hourglass figure for women and 8-pack for men gold standard? And then came the dawn of Yoga maestros from the Himalayan tribes – who insisted that pure cardio workouts are just not enough, it’s the age old ‘Suryanamaskars’ that are purely most effective to the body and mind. Yet, if you ask any of these experts – gym trainers, yoga teachers or nutrition counselors, DIET is most important. It constitutes to 70% of your health plan. Direct most of your efforts towards what you eat and get in enough activity on most days…and you are on the right track!
The understanding of proper eating and fitness matters a lot because they are crucial factors behind the diet one plans today. ‘I would like to eat a salad because it has fewer calories or let me do 30 extra lunges – because I ate French fries at the movies last night.’ – is simply no longer good enough!
Some factors that a Diet depends on
- Age: Calorie needs peak at about age 25 and then decline by about 2 percent every 10 years. The aging body replaces muscle with fat, which burns fewer calories than muscle does. Staying active and doing muscle-strengthening exercises keeps muscle mass intact.
- Your DNA: The metabolic rate that you inherit from your family in part determines the number of calories that your body needs to function, and you can’t change this. Inherited metabolic diseases, specifically those that affect your thyroid, can cause you to burn calories very quickly or very slowly.
- Your workout routine: When you’re active, you burn calories. And if you burn (or expend) more calories than you eat, you lose weight. The kind of exercise you choose, and how long and how intensely you do it, determines exactly how many calories you burn. Some types of workout even help your body burn calories after you stop exercising (the “afterburn”)— a great bonus!
- Your metabolism: A living body needs a minimum number of calories to maintain vital functions, such as breathing and keeping its heart beating. This minimum number is called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
‘Diets, like clothes should be tailored to you’ – Joana Rivers.
There isn’t one! Everybody is unique and have to plan according to their eating habits, work schedule and other factors into consideration. Getting an expert’s opinion does help a lot, but the most crucial bit is not blindly follow the harshest norms available. It is important to take time out to get the information, try and analyse what works best and suits your body and lifestyle.
Food is fuel, not therapy
Our Principal Genetic Counselor Pooja Ramchandran mentioned, “We see that sometimes, people use food to cope with stressors. This can result in unhealthy eating behaviors as food gets inappropriately incorporated into one’s idea of coping and self-image. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an effective approach to rewiring thought patterns and associated behaviours. Reaching out to a therapist or a good friend rather than comfort food will go a long way in creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Eating disorders begin as inappropriate psychological associations with food; self-awareness and honesty is key to staying healthy.”
A word of caution!
Shaping up is not just about losing extra pounds from your body – an increase in lean body mass must be achieved for long-lasting weight management.
Aim for functional fitness. If an average day is broken down into buckets of activity such as “household chores”, “stuff for the kids”, “the office”, “personal errands”, “social events”, etc., your energy levels need to be on the higher side to accomplish the former and have some reserve energy, too! Work towards improved body composition (muscle and fat ratio) by adapting to a diet chock full of nutrients.
Moral of the Story
Wellness is a balance of nutrition, exercise and psyche. Be the best version of yourself by remembering the following – “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet!!” (quoted by every fitness expert).
Let’s celebrate this ‘NO DIET’ day by giving ourselves a break, not by forgetting the healthy aspect of it, but by ensuring that we understand the true meaning of the term, banishing the stigma and scary memories related to it. A diet is just what you eat, it’s not a monster that tells you what not to eat 🙂
What does your DNA say about your diet?
Mapmygenome offers genetics-based solutions to help you move to a healthier lifestyle.
- Genomepatri Fit is a complete lifestyle planner with diet and fitness solutions. Whether you are aiming for a fitness goal or training for a marathon, this test can be of great value to your diet and fitness plans.
- SlimGene is for weight watchers. Understand your risk to obesity, your eating habits, and your fat storage & absorption potential in order to get to the most suitable diet plan.
- Counseling: Our expert genetic counselors and nutritionists can help you in planning and execution of a customized diet plan that suits you the best.
Sounds interesting? Call 1800-102-4595 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About the author
Dr. Pallavi Jain is part of the Scientific Team at Mapmygenome. She has a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry with Genetics and a PhD in Molecular Medicine (UK). She recently completed an intensive course in IVF from Origio, Mumbai. She enjoys swimming and reading.