Formulate an eating plan that is best suited to your needs

by Dr Namita Jain

 

Body alert! What you eat – or don’t eat – is going to show up on your face. This questionnaire creates an awareness of your current nutritional habits and helps you to evaluate, step by step, how you can fine tune your daily habits for looking and feeling your best!

15 questions that will change your life

1.Do you eat regularly? (Ideally every three hours)
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

2. How often do you skip meals?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

3. Do you eat breakfast every day?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

4. Is dinner the largest meal of your day?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

5. Do you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

6. Do you consume more than 2 cups of coffee or tea per day?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

7. Do you consume sugary or fizzy drinks often?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

8. How often do you eat after 10 pm?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

9. Do you substitute wholegrain foods for refined or processed foods?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

10. Do you binge-eat more than once a week?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

11. Do you consume fruits and vegetables every day?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

12. Do you tend to stress-eat often?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

13. Do you tend to starve or go on crash diets to lose weight?
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

14. Do you choose your in-between snacks well? (for example, fruits, vegetables, sprouts, juices, wholegrain bread, coconut water instead of cookies or fried or oily foods)
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

15. Do you use high-sugar and high-fat foods (eggs, cheese, butter, chocolates, chips, refined sugars) sparingly?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Always

How to work out your score
Your total score gives an indication of your nutritional status. Here’s how to test your results. First, tick mark the relevant answers to the questions. Then refer to the points below. Add up the points to get your total score.

A) 3 points
B) 2 points
C) 1 point

Questionnaire results
A score of 17 points or less
This indicates healthy nutritional habits. You are focused on what you consume and your meals are well planned and regular. Good work. Keep it up!

A score between 18 and 27 points
This indicates fairly good nutritional habits, which can definitely be improved. All you need to do is focus on what needs to be implemented to further fine-tune your habits. With small changes you can make a big difference to your overall health.

A score over 28 points
This indicates that you do need to seriously focus on your nutritional habits. Use this evaluation as a turning point. There are areas in your diet plan that need to be addressed and when you do make the changes, they will transform your life.

Use this score to your advantage
Once you know your score, the next objective is to review your progress. The best way to do this is to maintain a nutritional diary. This will serve as a record to evaluate your progress.

 

Tips to formulate a sound nutritional plan
• Avoid large meals.
Small meals raise the body’s metabolism. Large meals will leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy.

• Sit down and eat slowly.
Eat slowly to give your body time to release enzymes that tell your brain that you’ve eaten enough. Also avoid eating on the go; the slower you eat, the more you will enjoy your food and the sooner you will feel full.

• Don’t overeat if you are stressed.
Many of us look for an antidote to ease stress. But stress-eating results in greater stress. Avoid mindless eating and look for other ways to de-stress.

• Keep yourself hydrated.
Dehydration causes many problems such as joint pains, cramping and headaches. Keep a large bottle of water by your side to drink during the day.

• Make better food choices.
Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, sprouts and grains in your diet. Choose whole grain foods and low-fat foods, avoiding refined and processed foods.

• Cut back on caffeine.
Limit your coffee or tea intake to 2 cups per day.

• Don’t eliminate food groups.
Each food group has a vital function to perform. It is a great idea to cut back on heavier foods to improve digestion and make lighter and healthier choices, but definitely do not put the entire food group on your “taboo” list.

• Eat at least 2 hours before you sleep.
Little digestion occurs during sleep, so try and eat your evening meal two hours before going to sleep.

 

Dr Namita Jain, PhD Doctorate, KIESIE international university, Korea (Doctor of excellence in the field of  healthcare), is an author of 12 books and a wellness specialist at Bombay Hospital. Namita, a consultant to the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) and a leading columnist, is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American council of Exercise, the Aerobic and fitness association of America, and the Pilates UK institute, Reebok and Yoga institute.

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