Fitness is a ballgame of 80% diet and 20% exercise. As the famous adage goes “We are what we eat.”

Fitness is more than the mere absence of disease with a few diet tricks and exercises thrown in: it encompasses mental, physical and emotional well-being. Most of us equate fitness with being a certain weight or shape, but, believe me, weight is only one of the criteria for fitness: While healthy weight and Body Mass Index are desirable in the normal range, remember that athletes and most bodybuilders would be in the ‘over-weight’ category if measured by the conventional scales.

Overall fitness has little to do with weight: Can you carry out your daily activities, run around all day and not feel miserable by the end of it? How far can you run? Do you feel guilty for the extra laddoo you ate in the office today? Thin people are not necessarily healthy-your friend could pack in a full plate of biryani and still be skinny-but she could still be clogging her arteries and setting up her body for disaster. Everyone will leave you alone in your old age-make sure your body doesn’t. The foundation to a great future is being laid right now. Drop the subway sandwich/ pizza/ burger/ fries you have in your hand right now and go grab an apple!!Remember, fitness is a lifestyle, and diet constitutes a major part of it.

With everyone claiming to be a nutritionist these days and enough internet jargon out there, how do we make our food choices? Here are a few key points you could focus on:

  • Stick to whole, unprocessed, raw foods including fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and salads. Salads sometime before meals really help to limit your food intake and provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Say no to artificial sugar, sweets, desserts, ice creams, packed food, fried food, all junk food including samosas/pakodas/jalebis, all sugary drinks, artificial juices, and sodas. Even deep-frozen foods are forbidden since they have preservatives. Remember, in addition to piling up waste calories, your internal organs and arteries also get damaged.
  • The combo of sufficient carbohydrates and proteins with lots of greens and salads is ideal for meals as the carbs will provide enough energy and the fiber will keep you fuller for longer.
  • Do not ever skip meals. It’s outright dangerous and unhealthy.
  • Check your smoking/drinking habits. Try to limit and stop them altogether.
  • Limit tea/coffee intake. 1 to 2 cups a day with little sugar is fine. But please do not have tea empty stomach first thing in the morning.

You could maintain a FOOD JOURNAL for a while to keep track of what you eat and how much which will help you cut out the waste foods.

How to eat?

  • SIT DOWN: Do not, I repeat, do not eat anything till your butt is firmly planted in a chair or the couch, even if it is only for 5 minutes. No more picking at food: a bite here, a bite there. If it is not served on your plate, it should not go in your mouth!
  • INHALE: Take a few, deep long breaths before your meal to boost metabolism by turning on the parasympathetic response which allows for better digestion, absorption, and assimilation.
  • THANK YOUR FOOD: Take a moment to thank your food, and being aware of what you eat. It releases stress and makes eating enjoyable.
  • SLOW DOWN: Rushing through your breakfast or meal, watching television/reading a book while having it is guaranteed to make you gain pounds because then you will not pay attention to the trigger inside the body that says one is full, resulting in overeating.

The “SITS” principle has to be applied on a regular basis to reap its benefits.

Try incorporating fruits and nuts as snacks in your routine as they are high on energy and low on calories, and include plenty of green vegetables. You should eat when you are moderately hungry and stop when you are 80% full. Remember, food should satisfy you and not stuff you. Do not go hungry, do your body a favour– and get moving.

Keep your mind free of stress and unwanted thoughts. Keep working to get better-but start off by accepting & loving yourself. Above all, stay focused, be disciplined and keep your eyes on the goal- to get fit.

To wrap it up,”We are all human beings, and we all have insecurities, but it’s about being healthy and happy with yourself. I’m not perfect, and I will indulge in pizza and sweets on occasion. The goal is to make the majority of your decisions good for your body. So listen to your body, and treat it like your temple.”- Jacqueline MacInnes Wood