We live in times of food confusion. For simple questions like ‘how can I stay healthy?’, ‘what should I eat?’ there are tons of complicated answers, most of them contradicting each other.
Health is not an instant revolution. Any diet plan or fitness routine that aims to make you healthy must be effortless, common sense and organic, so that you can make lasting changes to your life.
Rujuta Diwekar, India’s leading nutrition expert, is a vocal champion of using common sense and un-complicating the act of eating and staying healthy. Her #12weekfitnessproject became an instant hit. You too can benefit from this public health project which helped more than 1 lakh people transform their lives. The 12-Week Fitness Project is now available as a book.
Rujuta Diwekar’s 3 golden rules for good and sustainable health are:
Weight Loss ≠ Good Health
Most diet trends focus only on weight loss. Such diets ask you to compromise on water, muscle or bone density. Which is why you get weaker, sicker and much more irritable with weight loss.
The things that really matter when it comes to well-being usually can’t be measured on a weighing scale. Do we sleep well at night, do our energy levels stay good through the day, do we suffer from acidity, bloating and indigestion, are we able to comply with exercise plans, do we have painful PMS and periods, etc.?
In scientific terminology, these parameters are surrogate measures of metabolic health. They give an indication of how well your hormones are behaving, how your heart health is, how diverse your gut bacteria are, whether your blood sugar is well regulated, and so much more.
Losing weight cannot be at the cost of metabolic health. If you want to be healthy shift your focus to metabolic health.
All Of You, Not Just Parts
For the whole of us to stay healthy, a wholesome approach to health is necessary. No diets which come with a tag line – no exercise necessary, just walk; no exercise regime which says eat anything, just burn it all; no lifestyle which doesn’t account for the need to sleep and recover.
Food, activity, exercise and sleep together make for an all-round approach to sustainable health. A health plan that does not take into account all of you will never be a success. Similarly, daily constraints of life, that is, your work, travel, family responsibilities, etc., have to become part of the solution and any diet or exercise pattern that doesn’t account for them will not work.
No Short-Cuts, Think Long-Term
Every time you make a food choice or a decision to follow a certain diet trend or lifestyle, the first question you should ask yourself is – can I continue to do this for the rest of my life and am I happy even for my children to eat like this? If that sounds too much to comprehend, what about the next 15 years or even five years?
If not, you should really rethink why you want to do this. Quick weight loss is not worth the long-term trouble it will bring along.
The human body is not designed to respond well to short-term measures, even though our brain, finds it very difficult to comprehend long term and is more interested in immediate rewards. Quick results, usually used as proxy for quick weight loss, can and mostly do lead to slow deterioration in the body, sometimes irreversible. We usually don’t make the connection between that month-long liquid diet we did five years ago and the damage to the liver that shows up now.
Learn about the 12-Week Fitness Project here.
Read more from Rujuta Diwekar here.