Whenever I was out at a restaurant or a coffee shop, I happened to see a few females who specified every detail of items they wanted to add to their coffee or snacks. I visited a Subway outlet and the manner in which the gym goers got their sandwiches and salads made just made me feel heavier than I already was. My sandwiches were always loaded with the thickest sauces and toppings. They looked at me with utter astonishment as if I was committing slow suicide. I now realise why they saw me with suspicion. And since then I have never been able to order food in front of someone who was extremely fit. This incident I just mentioned took place in April 2018.

I ate at Subway for at least a month, minus the toppings/ sauces/ add ons. I was heavier by May end, weighed four pounds more. It was disheartening because I wasn’t eating anything else like fried stuffs or rice or dairy products. In the month of June, I began eating salads at Subway and did not lose any weight. May be my jeans fitted differently but I did not weigh less. I wore a size 18 after eating the salads.

Let’s come to September 2018. I weigh 60 kilograms currently, 10 kilograms lighter than what I was two months back. I researched a lot about clean eating and how to include everything in my diet. I tried to check if that made any difference. I found out that when I was including appropriate amounts of nutrients, I was losing inches as well as weight. It surprised me when I saw dairy products did not cause me bloating if I had a certain amount of it everyday, probably 70-100 gms. In addition to this I was having sufficient water but had black coffee if there was a sudden sugar rush inside. The foods that I was eating made me consume more water and I found myself becoming distant from carbonated drinks or juices like magic. Another mistake that I had committed earlier was that I was focusing more on the weight and not on my inches. The scales made me paranoid and I was unable to concentrate on the better ways of eating. I am currently a size 14, if not suffering from period bloating, I am a size 12. I have broad shoulders and an androgynous body.

I have some wonderful news for all of you who get disappointed when you are not able to control that mouth. You really don’t have to abstain from eating to lose weight. You just have to make small replacements. For example, if you want to have a chocolate, you have the option of buying a protein bar or yoga bar. RiteBite protein bars are pretty cheap and available at convenience stores.

Grab a dark chocolate or a smoothie because that craving is temporary.

To prevent yourself from binge eating potato chips, carry a small box of nuts with you. Walnuts are especially good for fighting belly fat and can help you remain fuller.

If you are craving something salty, you can opt for Too Yumm snacks or Snacklite, they are extremely satisfying. If you feel all this is too much, there is another option available. Have a vanilla icecream, the smallest size. Yes, you heard that right. But you are not required to go overboard. Vanilla icecream has calcium. And it helps to control that sweet tooth. Military diets and some short term diet plans focus on consuming vanilla icecream (one cup maximum) as a part of the meal.

You can carry around an apple. If you do not like apples, or any fruit for that matter, you can have a glass of juice but not more than 100 ml. The things they say about juice causing weight gain is not always true. Some people add sugar in those juices. You are supposed to have the juice without salt or sugar. I had watermelon juice in moderation and was able to curb hunger pangs for a month. I must warn you, do not have mangoes. If you are planning to eat a banana make sure it is not a very ripe one.

Partial clean eating

If you think you cannot escape noodles or any other Chinese food when it is a party or a lunch, make sure you ask for a green salad instead of a beverage. It is better to order a dry dish than a gravy one. It contains lesser calories because most restaurants recycle the left over liquids and you can find the gravies similar. I ate Chinese food for a week and discovered it was not an enemy of my weight loss routine. But you must keep in mind that you are eating lesser chilly potatoes. Replace the red chutney with a mint one. If it is a plate of meat/ chicken you have the option of replacing chilly garlic chowmein with plain hakka noodles. The best option would be some steamed rice or vegetable fried rice, provided you ask for a small bowl where you can portion it out and carry out the remaining that is left.

In case of Indian curries, the spices can mess up your system on a long term basis. It is better to add a dash of lemon to the dishes and stay away from butter related items like a butter naan or butter roti. Keep distance from regular potato based dishes. It is healthier to switch to sweet potato.

If there is a situation where you need to have coffee to awaken your senses because the work load is too much, make sure it is a black one. If you think you cannot have it without the sugar or milk, get an iced black coffee/ Americano. It won’t be tasty but easier to sip on. If you want you can have a cookie or a bowl of berries/ half a banana with it to get rid of the bitterness. At the most you are allowed one sweetened biscuit/cookie/ one square of dark chocolate. Dunkin Donuts has an amazing Americano that adds a slice of lemon to it and it immediately energises you.

If you are eating at a Subway outlet, the best way option would be to opt for a parmesan oregano or multigrain bread rather than a multigrain honey oat one. Make sure the sauces are sweet onion, mint mayonnaise, mustard and honey mustard. You can add a bit of red chilly sauce if you are having a salad. The corn and peas sandwich will not help you much. The healthiest sandwich is the veggie delight for lunch or dinner and for breakfast the Western ham and cheese one (if you are a non- vegetarian). Do not opt for the meals or the cookies. They are uneconomical and unrequired.

You always have the option of getting some benefit out of dishes that offer no nutrition.

If at all you need to cheat, you can have sweets or typically unhealthy stuffs during the early hours of the day. Your metabolism is faster in the mornings and you are allowed to eat unhealthy because those calories are easy to do away with activities you engage in throughout the day.

An empty plate is not favourable. Your body needs good food and it will thank you.

Happy Cheating!