Here's what you need to know about nutrition, diet plans and cheat meals

Updated: Oct 22, 2019, 10:54 IST | Soumil Kamat | Mumbai

In an interview with mid-day.com, Anupama Menon tells what nutrition is all about.

This picture has been used for representational purpose
This picture has been used for representational purpose

Nutritionist and food coach Anupama Menon runs 'Right Living' which was established in 2012. It is a nutritional counselling and education entity that offers some of the most ingenious food and lifestyle plans. Anupama Menon's customised food pyramids allow three cheats a week, with a focus not just on weight and fat loss but also, an in-depth understanding of supplemental science, correcting the body's balance, healing and therapy that eventually curtails the process of ageing. In an interview with mid-day.com, Anupama Menon tells Soumil Kamat what nutrition is all about.

What is Right Living all about
Right Living is born with the idea of helping people get healthy, happier, fitter. So I have a retail practise where I help individuals who come to me with various health issues like losing weight, gain weight and a host of things related to holistic wellness and that's what we do. We help people holistically not just with their food but with mental wellness, come to terms with whatever they are dealing with inside, disease or emotional wellness or with lifestyle practices and food-eating practices.

How do you keep up with changing science of nutrition?
For a nutritionist, if he or she doesn't read for a day, it is like stepping back by a year. It is very important to keep abreast of the latest research of what is happening by reading journals, different kind of research material almost on a daily basis. That's exactly what I do. My time is invested in reading, understanding a different kind of research, analysing andf validating the same.

How is the nutrition coach different from a dietician?
A nutrition coach and a dietician are very similar. A registered dietician is somebody who has certain qualifications, they have to give certain exams. The role of a food coach goes a little beyond that. A food coach is somebody who is experienced in counselling - someone who is able to help people comprehend why their food eating habits are not that great and how they can help them in good food eating practises.

Anupama MenonAnupama Menon

Why is it necessary for everyone to have a customised diet plan?
All of us are unique. Just as you and I are different, each person's food eating practices, lifestyle, environment, metabolism and which is why each person has to have a customised diet plan.

What are the health goals that one must follow?
It is very important to understand that any kind of results that come in quickly also faces the potential risk of going away quickly. If you lose 7-8 kilos in just a month, it is like creating a hole in the wall. It can come right back at you. That's a potential risk. It is also important to understand that as you lose weight, allow your body to understand that loss and absorb that loss. It is very important for your body to accept that loss slowly.

What are five foodstuffs that everyone should include in their daily life and five that one must avoid?
One must add: Vegetables, fruits, a certain amount of fats like nuts, a certain amount of carbohydrates. Carbs are not maligned as it is known for in this day and age and of course, proteins that come from a variety of foods like meat, eggs, fish, dal, pulses, dairy products etc.
One must avoid: Processed food has to be avoided completely. Anything that comes in packaging that contains excess fats, excess sugar, excess salts must be avoided. These cannot be your genuine food choices.

How many times should one have cheat meals?
If you have the right plan and you are consuming the right kind of food for your body, then your cheat meals can be 2-3 times a week. The challenge is that most people do not know what their right foods are and they don't know how to come to this conclusion and that's why they land up not cheating at all and end up feeling frustrated.

Do you believe in going totally off sugar?
No. Anything in moderation is great so whether it is sugar or fats - even the bad fats or fried foods or cheat meals or anything that people want to eat beside the healthy food, in moderation, anything is okay. You should just need to know how to wean them into your healthy lifestyle in the right way.

What are your tips for people who have a choc-o-bloc schedule and stressful life?
Understand your priorities. Have some time for yourself to make sure that your mind is in order. Make sure you spend some amount of time with yourself and do not compromise on your sleep. Not giving the body any kind of rest results in inflammation, some kind of disease in future and you are also taking your body for granted. It is important to give yourself enough time for yourself to eat right, eat well and eat on time. Also, try to build in some kind of activity in your life.

What is your fitness mantra?
Eat well, sleep right and stay happy.

Also Read: How to cope when you are finished with your keto diet

Expert Tips by Anupama Menon

  • Eating well is like a skill - a skill that you have to hone over the years.
  • Always opt for home-cooked food over healthy food ordered online but in this day and age, you need to also know what to eat, how to eat, where to order and how to order.
  • There might be certain food that maybe healthy but may not be important for you as an individual and it is important to decipher that.
  • Nutrition is all about how you can metabolise certain foods to give you maximum results.
  • Food that is even healthy but is excessively eaten is also junk and not needed by the body.
  • Do not fall for fad diets as they are not sustainable.
  • Your mantra should be to lose weight slowly because then you are targeting fat loss.
  • Make sure you are active throughout the day. Wherever you can, get up and start walking.

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