I always believed that fitness was all about working out. One fine day, I was working out in the gym, with an aim to lose body fat. I was losing my breath as I ran on the treadmill. An instructor walked up to me and asked what was my fitness goal. I told him that I wanted to lose weight and get my body fat percentage into a healthy range. That was when he gave me one of the best advises I have ever received– what you do in the gym is a supporting act to what you eat at home.
I had never thought about fitness that way. I had been exercising at the gym for a little over a month and honestly, I hadn’t made much progress in terms of my weight loss goals. Finally, I decided to take matters in my own hands and came up with a diet plan for myself.
When people hear the word ‘diet’ they usually imagine people starving themselves all day long. That’s far from reality. With intermittent fasting, portion sizing and nutritional diets in place, it all comes down to what you want to achieve with the diet. My goal was simple – reach a healthy body fat percentage of about 10-12% in a quarter of a year. I finished my goal in my decided timeline and it was largely because of what I ate.
There are more options to go for but these are the five vegetables that were a part of my regular diet:
Lately, all my salads have become some form of inclusion scheme for cucumbers. Cucumbers are great for you if your goal is weight loss. The key reason behind it, is its calorie content. 100 gm of cucumber contains only 15 calories. Have a few cucumbers for a filler meal and you are feeling fulfilled, without having to think about excess calorie intake. In addition to the low-calorie count itself, cucumbers help your body stay hydrated. They also contain a good amount of proteins, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Usually, they are referred by dieticians because cucumbers act as great antioxidants for your body.
I have had a funny association with spinach. My four-year-old son is a big fan of spinach, thanks to Mr. Popeye. In my house, it is usually known as ‘Popeye’s veggie’ and enjoyed by everyone. I particularly like spinach because it is rich in Vitamin C. Just one cup of spinach a day helps me take a third of the recommended daily Vitamin C intake! Coming from the leafy family of vegetables, spinach is a great antioxidant and is very rich in iron and calcium. There are many ways to consume it as well – you can make great soups, salads, curry and even chutney.
I am a vegetarian. Hence, keeping up with my daily required protein intake while still maintaining my calorie count was not easy. This was until I started using beans. If you’re a vegetarian on a weight-loss mission – you have to have beans in at least one of the meals for your day. The best thing about beans is that it contains a very good amount of protein and fibre, while having a disproportionate calorie count. This means, that if you’re having beans in your meals the protein will keep you energized while the fibre will make you feel full. Naturally, after this, you will not be up for anymore binge eating. On top of this, you can use beans in salads, sandwiches and several other cuisines.
If you’re thinking about carrot halwa right now, stop thinking about it. Yes, it’s tasty but that is not what we are looking for! Unlike other vegetables on the list, the carrot is a great complimentary vegetable for in salads. Close to 90% of a carrot constitutes of just water and that is what makes it a very light vegetable for daily consumption.
I was a bit concerned when I started dieting. My concern was that I might lose the sheen of my skin since I would be cutting down on the portions of my daily calories. Broccoli came to my rescue. First and foremost – broccoli deserves your special attention because it is very rich in Vitamin K. Eating only 100 gm of broccoli in a day will give you Vitamin K well beyond the daily required limit. Additionally, it is a great source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, all of which help you keep your skin in its naturally perfect condition.
I am a big fan of vegetables over fruit juices since they give you a lot of freedom to cook with. Mix them, boil them or just wash them and eat them raw – these five vegetables will take care of your nutritional needs while you focus on achieving that healthy body fat percentage! Happy dieting!2