If you’re wondering what the Alpha Diet Chart is, allow me to provide some context and a little introduction. This is a follow-up to a post that we published earlier, titled Weight Loss Basics With Shom, which follows exemplary influences from fitness experts such as Kris Gethin and Akhil Bhardwaj (who has been extra nice to us, and is going to start his own fitness column on AlphaDigest soon!) While Akhil’s column (ABFIT) will focus on in-gym training, I’ve received multiple requests to explain the ‘diet‘ component of my weight loss routine, in a little more detail. In keeping with those requests, I have formulated a simple plan that should promote healthy weight-loss during the first ninety days of your workout.
The Alpha Diet Chart won’t work out for you if you don’t work out.
In this chart, you will note that I’ve added a ‘Pre-Workout‘ segment. I want to reiterate that this is not just present to somehow spin this together logically; It is essential that you combine your diet plan with a reasonable workout regimen. The Alpha Diet Chart alone won’t help you lose weight, unless you subject your body to the minimum requisite physical exercise.
In fact, please remain warned. Prolonged dieting without exercise carries the risk of putting your body into ‘starvation’ mode where it will develop a tendency to store fat excessively. The right way to utilize my ‘Weight Loss Basics’ routine, or this ‘Alpha Diet Chart’, or Akhil’s upcoming ABFIT series (Really excited about that one!) is to keep a healthy mix of balanced nutrition and optimum exercise. So if that point has been driven home, let’s take a look at the chart.
1Alpha Diet Chart – The Honey/Lime Boost
The combination of warm water, lemon juice and honey is an awesome healthy cocktail that lets your body burn fat all-day-long. For maximum effect, you can top this up with a little green tea, but that’s optional. Just warm water, honey and lime are enough. Remember to take this before your breakfast, before any solid meal that you consume.
2Alpha Diet Chart – Breakfast Basics
It’s important that you consume your breakfast, or the first solid meal of your day within an hour of waking up. This hour should include brushing your teeth, having your cup of warm water with honey and freshening up. Don’t wait a lot before eating your breakfast/don’t postpone it till the time you get to work. This is important, because your body has been digesting your dinner from the previous night, while you were sleeping. There are digestive enzymes doing their rounds all over your stomach and food tracts, and if the body doesn’t get the right kind of nutrition to digest, the walls of your digestive tract get corroded by your own digestive juices, eventually leading to all sorts of complications such as stomach ulcers, acidity, etc.
So, avoid a late breakfast. Have yours early-on. Another recommendation from the Alpha Diet Chart, is that you restrict your breakfast to a combination of high-protein foods and healthy carbs. This includes:
- My all time favorite – The Oatmeal & Honey Smoothie. Soak Oatmeal in water for about twenty minutes, and when it’s soft, put it in a blender and add a little honey. You can choose to add raisins too, they’re natural sweeteners. Blend well and drink up. Two tall glasses of this concoction should fulfill most of your healthy carbohydrate requirements through the day, in addition to keeping you feeling full prior to lunch, and it keeps your junk cravings at bay!
- Egg-white Omlette/Pancake with Sattoo -Learn to separate your egg whites from the yolk, and mix it with Sattoo flour, a little turmeric powder, coriander powder, blended onions and green chillies, to create a healthy pancake mix rich in protein and dense carbs. Use little or no oil (If you’re using oil please stick to Coconut oil or Olive oil), and fry/heat this in a non-stick pan. It goes really well with high-protein yogurt (Epigama Greek Yogurt, Natural Flavor works for me)
- Two slices of Brown Bread with an Egg-White Omlette (This one’s fairly self-explanatory).
Remember – It’s important to ensure that your breakfast is your heaviest meal of the day, but make sure that you’re not overeating just because you’ve got to keep it heavy.
3Alpha Diet Chart – The Lunch Hour
This is tricky, because it goes against all conventional Indian food wisdom. We’ve been perennially subjected to heavy lunch meals, complete with butter-rotis and ghee-rice and potatoes and paneer and all those delicious munchies… right?
Well, all of that stops here. I recommend a green lunch, made up completely of salad components – tomatoes, carrots, cucumber slices, celery, beet root, lettuce… and no salad dressing! Your salad ceases to be a healthy meal if you add oil/mayo/garlic dip to it. A simple pinch of salt or chat-masala are okay if you want to engage your taste buds just that much, but remember, too much salt gets your skin to retain water. So it’s best if you keep your salad all-natural.
For meat eaters: There’s good news, folks! You can add boiled/grilled pieces of boneless chicken breast to your salad to add that much-needed protein component! But remember to do this early-on in the day (During either breakfast or lunch) so that your body has enough time to break down the nutrients and absorb it as useful energy.
4Alpha Diet Chart – Munchies
I really need to thank my mother for this segment. When I started dieting in May, I used to go nuts (pun intended) trying to control my cravings a few hours after lunch. Your body metabolism is high, you feel a little drowsy and laid back, and if you’ve anywhere close to my compulsive eating habits, you know what the feeling is. You always want to munch on something – earlier for me, it used to be chocolate wafers, cream biscuits, fried potato chips, sometimes even a McDonald’s burger or a sandwich… Not anymore.
My mother suggested that I should give dates a shot, and although I was skeptical initially, I started developing a taste for it, and eventually dates, almonds and raisins became my best munching partners. They don’t add a lot of calories (nuts and almonds contain healthy and essential fats too!) and they’re easy to carry around. So that’s what I’m going to recommend. Stock up on dry fruits for your munching requirements, but don’t go overboard. I remember an incident where I had consumed a ton of dates and ended up feeling real dizzy by that evening. Dates control your blood pressure, so too much of them can put you at low BP risk.
5Alpha Diet Chart – The Evening Glass
I’ve said this before – thank god for Fresh Pressery Cafe in Koramangala, Bangalore. They introduced me to Cold-Pressed Juices, which basically act as cleanses for your entire system. Even if you can’t get your hands on cold pressed juice, I will still suggest that you consume at least two glasses of natural fruit juice – my original routine would comprise of alternating between Pomegranate/Orange, Watermelon/Papaya, Apple/Pineapple, etc. Remember, don’t add sugar. You can add ice if you want, or if you enjoy a tall chilled beverage. It’s all about cultivating that mindset, after all!
6Alpha Diet Chart – Pre-Workout
This diet chart does not dive into the complexities involved in supplementation, so most of the components here are all natural. I’ve suggested caffeine consumption in the earlier post, too – and we did have some extremely enlightening discussions about the good and bad effects of caffeine. So I’m going to highlight this – yes, too much caffeine can cause issues in your sleep patterns, affect general irritability and act as a stimulant for excessive perspiration. consuming up to 200-300 mg of caffeine in a day is okay (information courtesy Karan Trivedi and Dinesh Manghwani). Assuming that you’ll hit the gym in the evening/after work, this would be the time when you take your black coffee. It’ll get you charged up and ready for your cardio sessions, and that’s something you don’t want to miss out on!
7Alpha Diet Chart – The Last Mile
Dinner has always been a matter of delicate and precious controversies, whenever we’ve broached the topic with a nutritionist. While some maintain that it’s okay to periodically skip dinner during your weight-loss phase, many others disagree and believe that it causes irreparable damage to your metabolism in the long run. To stay safe, and operating with the assumption that you’ve undergone an intense cardio/strength training session after the coffee break, I would suggest that you consume a reasonable amount of healthy protein.
The best way to get this, is to make a salad with boiled egg whites – I know they’re Akhil’s favorite – and I’ve found this recipe to work really well if you eat it after your workout, right when your body is aching to absorb any nutrient coming its way. So a platter of boiled egg whites for dinner will ensure that your body absorbs protein and utilizes it to build lean muscle – which is exactly what you want if you’re planning on shedding further weight.
That’s about it, folks! Next up, we at Alpha are really excited about Akhil Bhardwaj coming in as a guest columnist, with his awesome tips about training and exercise and the superb ABFIT program. In the meantime, considering all the questions and comments that I’ve received so far, I think I’m going to address the issue of ‘supplementation’ in my next article. Till then, feel free to comment/ask me your questions and I’ll be glad to answer them.