How many of us are stuck in the numbers game of calorie counting? Overly obsessed with how much calories is in that food bar, lunch packet or even a slice of cake that your mum spend the whole afternoon baking for you? Are we truly satiating what we are eating other than dissecting our food so scientifically into protein, fats and carbohydrates?
We live in this world where there are numerous different information about health that we are constantly overwhelmed and confused with what are truths and myths. There are so many contrasting diets telling us that they've proven to lose weight after X amount of time by cutting out carbs/ high fat diet/ more protein less carbs and etc. But ask yourself, are they sustainable for you?
We need to get out of this vicious cycle of falling in and out of diets, rebounds and disappointments. We need to stop telling ourselves that we are on "diet." If we tell ourselves that we're on a diet, it sends a signal to our brain that we're on a specific restriction of foods for only a certain period of time. After you've "completed" your diet, your body will begin to crave for all the foods that you've restrained yourself from and you'll find yourself eating more than before. These foods will then be stored in your body to be kept for "rainy days" when you put your body through another unhappy diet and that's where rebound hits you, yet again.
What we need is to learn to listen what your body truly needs.
Do away with calorie counting and focus on eating wholesome foods. Learn to listen to your hunger pangs. Are you eating because you're hungry or if it is just habitual eating? We need to create a sustainable healthy eating habit that can be infused with our daily lifestyles, to understand that what we eat is more than just calories.
Here's 3 key points to start with and you're off on a good start!
#1 Build a Colourful Healthy Plate Everyday
Photo source: Simplemost.com
Many of times when we eat out, our plates are filled majority with plain old boring white rice compared to our vegetables, meat and others. It's time to change that. It's time to decorate your plate with colours of grains, green leaves, fruits and others that provides you with the essential nutrients, fibers and vitamins that our body truly needs. Choose foods that are fresh, non-processed and hearty for your stomach.
Aim to have your plate 1/2 filled with colourful vegetables, green leaves and fruits, 1/4 filled with wholesome grains, noodles or fiber rich carbohydrates and the remaining 1/4 be your meat, beans, tofu or others. Remember, the healthier cooking methods are either steamed, boil, grilled, baked, air fried or lightly stir fry. Always pick the best option available wherever you are.
Tip: Choose white meat over red meat to have a lighter and heartier meal!
#2 A Calorie is still a Calorie, no matter the Timing
If you're eating a double mcspicy burger at 12pm in the day or 9pm at night, that burger is still going to be 924kcal. The calories do not change from 900kcal to 500kcal just because you are eating it in the day. The reason why many research have recommended to not eat past a certain timing is because it is one way to help eat lesser throughout the day with the constraint eating time period. Also, research have recommended to eat earlier in the day so that you'll have a higher chance of burning away the burger by increasing your level of activity throughout the day as compared to consuming it at night. However, not all of us are able to eat within the recommended time frame due to work, social gatherings or lifestyles. Therefore, it may not work for all of us, especially for me.
It is thus very important to understand what works for you and what's not. The best way to manage your weight is by listening to what your body needs and differentiate it from what it wants. Ask yourself, does your body need that mcspicy at 9pm? Or if a lighter meal filled with grains, vegetables and a palm size grilled chicken will provide you with a heartier and satiating meal that benefits your health? If you already had that mcspicy at 12pm, you can always opt for an light salad bowl for dinner to make sure you don't overeat for the day. Balance, is always the key for nutrition.
#3 Quality vs Quantity
Photo source: huffpost.com
If you always find yourself overeating in restaurants or eating everything on the buffet line just because you have to make your money worth, start thinking if your health is worth more this. That additional chocolate coated muffins, a few cups of sugary drink and an additional chicken wing when you're already full to the brim, was it worth it to compensate your health for it?
You can eat what you want, but only the right portion of it.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't go for buffet or enjoy eating out at restaurants. We are all humans, we still need a life. But what we need is to make many conscious effort on what we place on our plates and how much we place on it. It's about making the conscious choice to fill it with quality and nutritious food while still having our cravings sorted out.
Tip: If you're at a buffet, take only what you need. Do away with old habits of eating every single item on the buffet line. Walk through the buffet line first to know whats on the menu before dishing out only the items you want to eat!
Small changes day in day out makes the biggest difference. Don't ever give up.
"Above all else, Maranatha."