Expert advice, Nutrition
What Is Better, Being fit or thin? Know more.

Gayatri Chona

MSc Nutrition U.K., Specialises in nutrition for kids, teens, pregnant women & corporate diet plans

5 min read

 

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, what is it that we lookout for – a thin, slender body or a fit one? Do we set weight goals or fitness goals?

I am sure we have that one friend or relative we are jealous of – the skinny one who eats anything and everything, doesn’t sweat it out in the gym or exercise and still boasts that thin body!! But have you ever asked if he/she is fit??

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Being thin and being in shape are two very different things. The most archaic way of assessing our body mass index (BMI) and our waist to hip ratio (WHR) can give an inkling about our health but not the full picture.

So coming back to the million-dollar question – “What is a fit body??” Fitness is

  • The right body composition (our muscle to fat ratio)
  • Body’s strength and flexibility
  • Cardiovascular fitness (our heart and lung function)
  • Muscle power and endurance

Fitness comes with the right balance of nutrition, exercise and rest – followed as a lifestyle and not just for an interim period. To help you get fitter, we have a few simple strategies that can take you closer to UR fitness goal –

Stay Active

Research has shown that lean but inactive people have a higher chance of developing metabolic conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension v/s slightly overweight but physically active individual. Hey don’t get us wrong here – we are not saying it’s OK to be overweight, but it’s NOT OK to be physically inactive! Exercise keeps our hormone levels and blood sugar in check. It balances the good and bad cholesterol in our blood and also reduces the free radical damage. Regular physical activity gives strength and helps in muscle building, increasing our endurance and muscle power.

If you notice we have used the word “regular” several times – it’s not due to the lack of vocabulary but to emphasize that consistency is more important than intensity!

Burn Fat, Not Muscle

Burn Fat, Not Muscle

Work on building UR muscle weight and losing the fat. Hence don’t look at the scale as a validation of fitness. Muscles are the active part of our body while the fat contributes to the sluggish, lazy weight. When we lose muscles and not fat (this is most common when doing crash diets and little to no exercise) – we land up with lower muscle weight mass than what we had started with, in turn leading to the classic bounce-back of weight soon after. But when we work towards skimming off the fat from our body (this can only be achieved with the right combination of protein, fats, carbs and regular exercise) – our metabolism increases leading to slower weight loss, maybe yes. But knocking off the fat and preserving the muscle, leaving us with better body composition and fitness levels.

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Fuel UR Body With The Right Nutrition

Fad diets that make you eliminate food groups or starve for long durations – diets low in carbs and proteins only lead to muscle loss, not FAT. Our bodies need the right kind of fuel to sustain and get healthy and fit. Keep the carbohydrate load low and choose the right type of carbs (complex carbs – millets, high fibre grains; simple carbs & sugar from natural sources – fruits, dry fruits and jaggery v/s white sugar & processed sweets).

Proteins

Proteins

Amino acids are the building blocks of our muscles. We need to have enough protein to fuel our muscles and increase the body’s metabolic rate. Here we would like to throw light upon another vital thing about protein – when to have it is critical. And not just for the active exercising ones but all of us! Hydrating our muscles with fast-absorbing proteins (whey from paneer and whey protein isolates; eggs). Pre and post-workout help maintain our muscle mass, adding on that glass of protein-rich smoothie first thing in the morning boost UR metabolism. Eating a pulse chaat or a nut bar as an evening snack replenishes our mineral stores. You may ask – is this too much protein?? NO – sadly our Indian diets are inferior in protein and consciously adding on these protein rice sources only give us the energy our muscles need.

Fats

They are vital for the absorption of many vitamins and give our muscles the lubrication it needs. However, it’s essential to include only healthy fats in our diet (nuts, avocados, ghee, coconut oil, nut butter, groundnut oil, extra virgin olive oil).

Sleep & Rest

Sleep & Rest

Last but not least – rest and sleep are the missing links to UR fitness puzzles. Ever noticed that the night you have not slept well and when you go for UR morning run UR body cramps more or tires faster than usual!! Working out when fatigued will give you NO positive results but put you at risk for more muscle or bone injuries and tears. So rest up and relax when tired.

Rome was not built in a day, and fitness is not something we can achieve overnight – it takes a bit of discipline and consistency. So go on and Get fit, not just thin!!!!

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