How to Lose Weight in a Healthy Way You'll find all kinds of diets and exercise routines that guarantee weight loss. But are they for you?

There are a trillion ways to lose weight but none of them suit you. Why? Because it’s too late before you decide to take action to control your weight. This is mainly due to the sedentary life that we lead. Sitting for hours at the workplace or sitting on the sofa and watching TV at home or browsing the internet on the many devices you own can lead to the accumulation of fat over time.

Getting rid of the fat from your body is a slow process. So forget all those crash diets and rapid exercise plans to lose weight quickly. Here are a few tips to lose that extra fat the right way.

Start by calculating your ideal body weight. One of the methods to calculate ideal body weight the Broca’s Index where you subtract 100 from your height in centimetres. For example, if your height is 165 cm, your ideal weight should be 65 kg (165-100 = 65). This is your ideal weight, anything above this is the extra weight you are carrying which needs to be shed.

You can also use Body Mass Index (BMI), Lorentz’s formula and Monnerot-Dumaine’s formula to calculate ideal body weight.

You should aim to achieve this weight and then try to maintain it. The best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Another way to maintain weight is to have more or less a diet with fixed calories with interchangeable food items.

So, what’s ideal daily calorie requirement?

Active male: 2000-2500 calories
Active female: 1500-2000 calories

If you are not very active during the day or have a sedentary lifestyle, subtract 500 calories. Choose 500 calories less than your daily requirement when you start weight control.


Before following a diet regime or planning your diet, you should learn a few things about food and how much energy (calories) each food item gives you. There are mainly three nutrients in food which fulfil daily calorie requirements – Carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These yield energy in the form of calories.

For healthy functioning, your daily consumption should ideally be in this ratio:

50-60% calories from carbohydrates (one gram carbohydrate = 4 calories)
20-30% calories from fats (of which not more than 7% from saturated fats)( one gram fat = 9 calories)
10-20% of calories from proteins (one gram protein= 4 calories)

This proportion should remain the same even when you are dieting.

Micronutrients in the food are vitamins, minerals and trace metals that are also essential in your diet plan.


Carbohydrates, nowadays popularly called CARBS are basically sugar. Contrary to popular belief, they are an important part of your diet. There are two types of sugars—simple and complex sugars. Simple sugars are glucose, sugar as in sugar, fructose as in fruits, lactose as in milk and milk products. You will find complex sugars in wheat, rice, cereals, grains, bread, oats, pasta, legumes, potatoes, corn etc.

Glucose is the simplest form of energy required by each cell of our body to function. All kinds of sugars are converted to plain glucose in the body, which is the ultimate source of energy. Remember, anything that tastes sweet is sugar. Beware of added sugars in packaged products and read the label on the packaging before buying processed foods. (One gram sugar = 4 calories.)


Proteins are essential nutrients required for the bodybuilding process. Don’t confuse this with the bodybuilding you do in the gym. Protein builds tissues like skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, muscles, blood, hormones etc.  Animals and plants are a rich source of protein.

Animal protein requirements are met when we eat fish, eggs, chicken, lamb, beef etc. Milk proteins are provided to the body from milk and milk products like curd, cheese, and cream. Plant protein requirements are met from, legumes, lentils (dals), soybean, grains, wheat, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.

You can choose any of these food items as a source of protein and calculate the energy they will produce when you eat a specific amount. Incorporate daily proteins in your diet.

Vegetarians need to take special care for meeting their protein requirement. The daily requirement of protein is one gram per kilogram of the ideal body weight. So if you weigh 65kg you need 65 grams of protein in your daily diet.(One gram protein = 4 calories)


Fats are also essential for a healthy body. As they are critical for normal body function, they should always be included in your diet even if you are trying to lose weight. This is because they yield double the calories (one gram fat = 9 calories) vis a vis carbs and proteins, so they should be consumed in lesser quantities.

Animals and plants are a source of fat. Animal fats include butter, ghee, cream and fat attached to meat pieces. Plant fats comprise vegetable oils like sunflower, soybean, coconut, groundnut, rice bran, olive, sesame, almonds, safflower etc.

Transfats are artificially prepared from solidifying these oils and are commercially used in all fast food and bakery products. So, you can choose your fat from one of these according to your daily requirement and calculate calories derived from them which should be not greater than 20% of your total daily calories.

Points to Remember

There is no magic formula to lose weight. Keep count of your calorie intake and calories spent. All exercises tell you how many calories you have burned depending upon their duration and intensity. Smartphones, smart exercise gadgets will help you to keep a track of your progress.

You should be burning more calories than you are consuming. The reversal of which is responsible for weight gain.

Calories are mentioned on food packages. Start reading food labels and calculate your daily calories. Customise your own diet instead of following diet regimes online. This way you can have your favourite foods and still lose weight. Do all the calculations with regard to your ideal/targeted weight before starting your diet.

Do not forget to include vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. They supply micronutrients, minerals, trace metals and vitamins that required by the body.

Weight loss should be consistent and not sporadic. The yo-yo diets don’t help in the long run and we often see people gain weight quickly right after following such a diet.

If you manage to lose 10% of your present body weight in six months, you’re doing well. Another important thing to remember is that you should not starve yourself while dieting. It leads to rebound weight gain as soon as you go the off diet. This could also cause problems due to vitamin and mineral deficiency.

The simple mantra is to eat what you want but keep counting calories.

Dr Niruta Sharma is a consultant Cardiologist at RML Hospital, New Delhi. She believes that your health is in your hands.




Original features, micro docus and explainers


Get stories that count, stories that matter everyday in your mailbox