Get­ting into shape

Look out for ob­sta­cles to weight loss.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By IN­DRA BALARATNAM

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:

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