I am happy to announce that I am finally done with the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ve posted all 100 recipes on the blog as well as the facebook page so you can check and be assured that I am not cheating. If ever you’re stuck and want some ideas or inspiration for a healthy recipe, hop on over to the blog or the facebook album. You will find that my list of healthy recipes includes biryani and curd rice and noodles and everything in between. Honestly I do not believe healthy food needs to be un-interesting or skinny. In my world healthy food needs to make you happy all over. That means biryani has to figure in the list.
One of the best things to come out of this challenge is that I naturally gravitate towards healthier alternatives these days. I feel hungry less often. I feel more in control of what I am eating. Combined with intermittent fasting, I’ve been able to lose about 3 kilos during this period. I exercised very irregularly during this period. So I wouldn’t really attribute any of my weight-loss to that. A more disciplined person would have probably lost more weight.
My definition of healthy is very expansive. Except desserts and deep-fried foods, everything is fair game. So my healthy food list includes thali meals, biryani, schezwan noodles. tawa fried fish and chipotle rice bowls. The one constraint I placed for myself was to make sure every meal was homemade. So you’ll find smoothies, grilled chicken recipes, easy tiffen recipes, curries, roast vegetable recipes, rice varieties, traditional breakfasts… just about every kind of dish. To access the day wise recipes, head over to the 100 days of healthy eating challenge page.
Here’s the list of things that you’ll need to keep in mind when you want to eat healthy.
- When you’re trying to eat healthy or go on a diet, the entire world will conspire to sabotage your attempts. Unknown relatives will get married during that time and will have their reception during your fasting period and your so-far-indifferent family and in-laws will on that particular day goad you to eat. Your friends will shamelessly stuff themselves with samosa and fries. You’ll get invited to birthday parties, booze parties and outings all involving lots of eating. Everyone will urge you to eat. “It’s just one day, one meal”, “This cutlet is very good”, “You’re missing all the fun”, “You live only once”. Bullshit. They want you with them as a permanent member in the gundu club. Don’t give in. Imagine yourself being slim. If that’s too difficult or like me you don’t know what that looks like, think of your favourite slim person.
- Homemade food is your best bet when you want to eat healthy. Eating homemade biryani is way healthier than eating a sandwich at a restaurant. Restaurant food is usually too greasy and loaded with a ton of sauces, sugars and preservatives that it is far more calorie dense than we’d imagine it to be. I’d urge you to stock up on your favourite ingredients and staples so you can always whip up something at home. It could be eggs, paneer, sweet corn, shelled peas, chicken, bread, tortillas, readymade rotis, dosa batter, chopped veggies, yogurt, mangoes, bananas, oats, anything. Just make sure you have enough of your favourite stuff at home.
- Since I included everything under healthy foods, portion size was critical to the equation. I let myself eat biryani but only a half plate. I have thali meals but restrict rice to one cup.
- Intermittent fasting is a wonderful way to lose weight without punishing yourself. The idea is very simple. You eat within an 8 hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. During your fasting period, you will feel very hungry initially. Drink lots and lots of water. I also like to drink green tea or hot lemon water with a pinch of salt. Sometimes I drink buttermilk. Even if you’re not following the intermittent fasting approach, drinking fluids is an effective way to keep hunger away.
- When you’re living with fellow offenders, it’s not just your self-control that matters. Your control over them also matters. Like most things in life, you’ll have no control over anyone. I am talking about Jagan and kids and my mother and in-laws and maid. So you may end up accompanying some of them to a restaurant one of the days or ordering pizza some night. Don’t kill yourself over it. Remember to stick to reasonable portion sizes and remember to bounce back to your routine from the next meal onwards.
- Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see immediate weight-loss. You’ll feel lighter and your metabolism will get better. Your food choices will tend to lean towards the healthier options. You’ll see that you eat more consciously now and your capacity has gone down. Your hair and skin will look better when you’re drinking all that water. You’ll feel healthier.