Getting into shape
Look out for obstacles to weight loss.
FOR many of you, losing weight can be extremely frustrating. Can you relate to this scenario? You put in a valiant effort every day. Only problem is, the weighing scale isn’t moving in the right direction.
Your efforts seem to be in vain. What’s going on? If this is happening to you, take a moment and read this. It could very well be that you are setting up these obstacles yourself without knowing it and thwarting your efforts to get in shape. Obstacle 1: Skipping meals
I have clients who tell me they frequently skip meals because they think that by doing so, they can lose weight faster. I’m sure you’ve met some of these people – those who only have a coffee for breakfast, or for dinner just a plate of fruits. Either way, none of those can be considered a meal – let alone a balanced, nutritious one.
In order to drop the kilos, I agree that you need to downsize your calorie intake from what you’re currently eating. But you don’t have to drastically cut down the calories to do it right. Lopping off too much calories will slow down your metabolism, which is your body’s natural fat burning regulator. When your body isn’t getting enough calories, it hangs on to body fat as a fuel source.
In the first few days of skipping meals you may notice some weight reduction. It’s not body fat loss, but it’s due to losing water weight and some lean muscle tissue.
Another issue I have with skipping meals is that it eats away at your willpower. At some point, you’re going to gorge at your next meal because your brain can’t say no anymore to being starved. Mentally torturing yourself to achieve weight loss is damaging to your well-being.
Do it right: Eating healthy is actually easier than you think. Spread out your calories throughout the day into light main meals and small snacks. It’s a smart way to keep your metabolism up as you’re constantly supplying your body with manageable amount of energy through each meal.
Stock up your home and office with foods you can easily make into a quick meal or even a wholesome snack when time is short or you’re busy.
Handy food staples are wholegrain cereal with low fat milk, wholemeal bread, low-fat cheese, fresh fruit, low fat yogurt, just to name a few. If you do cook, store an extra portion in the fridge for another day’s meal or to take to the office for the next day’s lunch. Obstacle 2: Eating fast
Are you one of those people who eat really fast like a tornado ripping through your plate? The problem with people who eat fast is that they sometimes don’t realise they’re already full. Because of this what would be a sensible portion may seem small to them.
I had a friend who had this niggling problem and it was his obstacle to losing weight. I
If you’re going to have a heavy lunch, then plan something light – like sandwiches – for dinner. noticed it when I ate lunch with him. He was having Hainanese chicken rice. Instantly he requested an extra bowl of rice with his order.
When I asked him why, he explained that he eats fast so the first portion is never enough for him. In fact, he also tends to order extra of most of his meals, such as two roti canai up front. But what he didn’t realise was he was inevitably getting extra calories he really didn’t need.
Do it right: First and foremost, break this high speed eating habit of yours by ordering one portion of your meal. Rather than just wolfing it down, allow yourself the time to taste and enjoy your meal.
Research shows that it takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your stomach to communicate with your head to signify that you’re full and that you should stop eating. So, chew your food properly before swallowing and try putting down your cutlery at each mouthful. Obstacle 3: Letting loose on weekends
You’ve been good Monday to just about Friday afternoon. And then Friday night and Sunday roll along and you absolutely let loose with your sensible eating regime. Your weekend feasting can undo all your weekday efforts without you knowing it.
Remember, in order to drop the kilos, you need to keep your calorie intake steadily downsized. Yo-yoing up and down by eating a little for a few days and then eating plenty on other days will just average you out. Soon, the weighing scale will also stagnate.
Do it right: I do realise that the one thing you crave on the weekend is variety in your diet. Sure, that’s understandable. But instead of letting loose on weekends to the point of no return, pick your poison. Do remember that every heavy meal equals excess calories you don’t need for the day.
So, if you know for that weekend you’re going to catch up with friends for a big lunch, start your day with a light breakfast – for example, wholegrain cereal with low fat milk.
And then for dinner later on, have something light as well such as noodle soup or a sandwich. This way you still get to enjoy your weekend variety, but you’re firmly on track to shedding those kilos. Obtsacle 4: Bottoms up!
If you do indulge in alcohol, you need to get real with yourself on how much you consume in a week. A standard beer, a glass of wine and a shot of liquor all average about 150 – 200 calories. So, even if you have two drinks per night, you can easily rack in over 2,000-plus calories by the end of the week.
Alcohol is nothing more than empty calories. Plus, it tends to impair your better judgment for food choices.
Most pub grub foods are greasy. And the meals you’ll tend to go for after a drinking session is definitely not the most waistline-friendly.
Do it right: Put into perspective the amount of alcohol you consume in a week. Too much alcohol has no real health benefits anyway, so it may be time to get serious about cutting back. The most positive aspect of cutting back on alcohol is how much weight you can lose. If a drink is still warranted, switch to red wine instead of beer.
Red wine has only 4gm of carbohydrates, compared to 13g in beer. But make sure you stay within 1 to 2 drinks.
They don’t call it a beer belly for nothing! – Article courtesy of Nestle Fitnesse ‘Shape Up Your Lifestyle’ n Indra Balaratnam is a consultant dietitian.
Easy does it: