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Which Comes First: A Meal Plan or an Exercise Routine?

When it comes to following a weight loss plan, most of us get confused as to where to begin. The question we are going to focus today is, when it comes to weight loss, which comes first, the meal plan or the workout routine?

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Weight loss is a process influenced by lot of factors including: dietary habits, lifestyle, stress, physical activity, quality/quantity of sleep, etc. But let's just understand the significance of the two primary weight loss elements first:

Workout:


Cardiovascular activity helps to burn more calories than we consume. While strength training helps in building the lean muscle mass which in turn speeds up the metabolism and tones up the body, thus making the weight loss process a lot easier.

Dietary Modification:

Aims at getting rid of the empty calories from sugary and fried processed foods and replenishing the existing muscle mass with natural and wholesome foods. The key is to eat a balance diet consisting of fruits, veggies, whole wheat carbs and good quality proteins like yogurt, beans, nuts, fish and eggs.

These two aspects go hand in hand. Meaning, working out on a daily basis will help increase the caloric output negating the requirement to count your caloric intake. So instead of concentrating just on the dietary aspect and incorporating workout later on, try to combine both these aspects together and make it your lifestyle. Our primary goal should be not just to lose weight but also tone up our body at the same time.

Below are some lifestyle modification tips for a healthier weight loss strategy

1) Keep a food log (like the one of FitDay!) and track your cheat foods/behavior. For example, instead of stopping for a latte every morning, go for a low-cal alternative like a low-fat sugar free drink or just make conscious efforts to grab a bottle of water instead. Work on it till it becomes your habit and move on to a new goal.

2) Eat every 2-3 hours. It keeps your metabolism up and also helps curb unhealthy cravings.

3) Drink 8-10 glasses of water everyday. It will manage your appetite and also replenish your lean muscles.

4) Cut down on processed foods, snack on wholesome natural foods like nuts, fruits, veggies, yogurt, etc. Processed snacks like chips, cookies, etc are loaded with either sodium or sugar or chemical preservatives.

5) Have a 7-8 hours of sound sleep at night. Insufficient amount of sleep makes stress hormones go high during the day time, making you crave junk food.

6) And lastly, keep yourself active. Taking the stairs instead of the escalator, parking your car far off and taking a small walk to the destination, all these little steps do make a lot of difference in the long run. Incorporate a workout that suits your lifestyle. If your gym is far away from your place, and getting there is a task, then chances are you will quit it sooner or later. Get some home gym equipment and workout at home instead.  

Make realistic goals. You did not gain weight overnight, dropping huge amount of weight every week is not the right way to lose it. Steady, consistent drop is the ideal way to go. Don't get obsessed with the scale number, its not always a good indicator; if your clothes fit better and you feel good, you know you are on the right track!

Prachi Baxi has a double masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition, she is a Nutrition Specialist certified by the American College of Nutrition and a Certified Yoga Instructor. Her immense experience in the field of Ashtanga Yoga coupled with her Nutrition knowledge she helps people who need to and want to change their way of life, become fit and discover their newer selves. She is a Fitness Counselor who has a passion for life and teaches yoga with intent and compassion. Prachi can be reached via email at prachii.baxii@gmail.com.


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