Have you ever tried the different fab diets and (extreme) exercise programs from the Internet, only to give up halfway as you fall prey to your food temptations and you are unable sustain the intensity of the exercises?
Or have you found it difficult to keep fit and healthy in Singapore, whereby work takes up most of our sleeping hours, and there are too many delicious (and pretty unhealthy) food options?
Fear no more, as this 3 part “Cut The Flab!” series will show you how to keep to a healthy BMI with tried-and-tested methods!
An introduction to fight the war of keeping fit & healthy: There are 3 soldiers that must exist and work hand in hand to ensure your fitness & health; any one soldier missing will bring about ineffectiveness to your war strategy!
So with the 3 soldiers in mind, let’s introduce the first soldier: FOOD
Cut down on food portions
Easier said than done right? You may be hesitant to reduce your carbs – short for carbohydrates (rice, noodles etc) from a full plate to a quarter. Take it one step at a time; when ordering, you can ask for less rice/noodles, and ask for more vegetables, the stallholder will be more than happy to do so. Ensure that you are comfortable with the reduced portion (say if you started with 3/4 plate of rice/noodles) before reducing further to half a plate. The increased amount of vegetables can fill you for a longer period of time.
Don’t bang yourself up if you are unable to reduce your carbs to a quarter of a plate though, as each person uses different amounts of energy each day, and you need your carbs to get through the day.
Stop the snacking
We snack for various reasons, whether is it to keep awake at meetings, being stressed from doing our tasks, or just out of boredom. Excessive snacking can unknowingly add to our daily calorie count, not to mention exceeding our daily salt and sugar intake. (Salt intake: <2000mg/day, Sugar intake: 40-55g (8-11 tsp)/day)
To keep track of the number of times we snack, lets look at the picture below:
The green tab represents a healthy snack (below 100 calories) while the pink tab represents an unhealthy snack (crackers, sugar peanuts). Every time I snack, I will remove one tab so that I know how many remaining times I can snack, and on what types of snack I can have.
Personally, snacking is my greatest enemy in losing weight, and through such visual aids, it serves as a reminder to reduce on my snacking. Currently, I have 3 green tabs and 2 pink tabs for a total of 5 snacks per day, and I do intend to reduce to 3 snacks (2 healthy, 1 unhealthy) as my goal.
Is the sugar necessary?
Yes, we cannot totally cut out sugar from our diet (I don’t think I can reach that level myself!), so to ensure we do not go over our daily sugar intake, choose to not take in any unnecessary sugar!
For example, I do not add any sugar in my daily Milo morning beverage, as there is already sugar present in the Milo powder. I will add more Milo powder though (3 heaped teaspoons) to make my drink more flavourful.
Woobbee, Gong Cha, Koi? Big no no, for such drinks contain high amounts of sugar! For the past few times that I drank Woobbee, I have tried the Yakult-series of drinks, and 25% sugar level for green tea, and they are healthier options of bubble teas that I would recommend.
Bottomline? Don’t avoid the sugar totally; you have control on how much sugar you are taking in, take full power of that control 🙂
Count ‘N’ Chew
Have a habit of eating too fast? (Yes I’m guilty!) Eating at fast paced means you will have more time to do your work, but your stomach will need more time to digest your food. As food takes time to reach the stomach, your hormones will not have enough time to inform your brain that you are reaching full capacity, and thus, you will overeat – putting on unnecessary weight.
So any ways to slow down your rate of eating? I learnt this trick from my friend: count the number of times you chew your food before swallowing. Through counting the number of times you chew, you will have to spend time and focus on counting which ultimately slows down your pace of eating.
Choosing healthier food easily
Before you argue saying that this is such a typical advice… Yes, it’s the most common advice which really works.
Now I’m not saying you can’t have your Popeyes or your nasi briyani; it’s all about moderation, taking every chance to choose a healthier option, and planning in advance.
If you are having your lunch at the coffeeshop opposite Titansoft, you can:
- Choose the healthier options straight (Salad, Noodle soup)
- Attempt to reduce any unnecessary calories when choosing the not-so-healthy option (From the chicken rice stall: White Chicken Breast meat, no skin, with white rice, no sauce)
Before meeting your friends for dinner, checking out the restaurant menu will allow you to have more time to decide on healthier options, rather than choosing the delicious yet more unhealthy option when you are short on time in selecting your food at the restaurant itself. (eg. Fish & Chips with fries VS Grilled Fish with Garden Vegetables).
If you know you are going to eat Popeyes, and that ordering the fried chicken is inevitable, make your meal slightly healthier by removing the skin, or the fats on the fried skin.
Eating in Progress
Just as we focus on our sprint items, focusing on eating our meals is just as important. Your hormones and stomach will thank you for not multi-tasking, since your hormones will have enough time to send their “I’m Full!!” messages to the brain, thus reducing the chance of you overeating.
H2O, H2O, H2O
Water does not contain any calories & sugar, keeps you full (and so you will not snack), and detoxifies your body. Killing 3 birds with one stone indeed! Jazz up your water with fruits such as strawberries, oranges, lime, mint leaves, or make lemon ice cubes, to add some flavour to your water.
There you go, 7 awesome ways that you can start trying in your attempt to lose weight, or maintain your weight 😀
In the next series, we will have a good look at the second soldier: Exercise.
Stay tuned! 🙂