Go for food that helps you keep stock of weight loss.
ONE thing I often observe from people who are trying to lose weight is that their variety of foods become limited. I wouldn’t complain if they were cutting out snack foods. But what troubles me is that they deprive themselves of wholesome food. They presume that it makes them gain weight. Grains – too much carbs. Milk – too creamy. Chocolate – too fattening. Does this sound familiar?
Believe me when I say that including these foods in your daily diet can help you to stay on track better. When you restrict them, it will only cause you to crave for them more. At some point, that craving is going to get the better of you. Eventually, it’ll send you back to square one.
A more sensible approach is not to cut out these foods completely. In fact, as you embark on your weight loss journey, choosing high quality, nutritious foods is something you must bear in mind. Eating more healthy options is the foundation of losing weight and keeping the kgs off.
Here are some foods you should not dismiss in helping you reach your target weight:
It’s common to see people who want to lose weight cut out rice totally from their diet. They have convinced themselves that it is the rice that made them overweight to begin with. Here is where you need to get real – how much rice were you eating before? Also, many popular Malaysian dishes such as nasi lemak, chicken rice and fried rice are rice-based. The cooking method has added oil to these rice dishes, so they become high in calories and fat.
Rice is a carbohydrate. When you eat it, your brain releases serotonin. It is a neuro-transmitter that promotes a feeling of calmness and satisfaction. When serotonin levels are ideal, you’re
Brown rice has a higher fibre content, so it helps you to stay full longer. less prone to feeling emotionally down. Many people, when they feel down, have a tendency to become emotional eaters. And herein lies their downfall.
Do it right: Even if your goal is to shed some kgs, don’t totally cut out rice. Instead of having a mountainful of rice on your plate as the star attraction, let it play a supporting role. A sensible portion of rice, if you’re watching your weight, would be one cup of cooked rice, roughly a fistful. Always complement your serving of rice with plenty of vegetables and moderate amounts of lean protein in the form of meat, fish, beans or egg.
As you downsize your normal rice portions, why not give brown rice a try? Its higher fibre content helps you to stay full even when eating a small portion.
Wholegrain is another carbohydrate that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Wholegrain foods are made from wholewheat, corn, oats, barley and rice, to name a few. From wholegrains, you get bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and noodles. With weight loss fad diets telling people to go low-carb, wholegrains often get overlooked. But wholegrains are high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals.
For those who want to lose weight, choosing foods high in fibre will help them to stay full longer. So even as you cut down your portions, the high fibre content of wholegrains will have you feeling full and satisfied.
Do it right: Add wholegrain food choices to your meals to help you slim down without feeling hungry:
> Start your day with wholegrain breakfast cereals.
> Choose wholemeal breads for your sandwiches.
> For a healthier dessert, choose bubur gandum.
> Add barley pearls while cooking your soups.
> Use oats to make lightly sweet or savoury porridge.
Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products often don’t go down well with people wanting to lose weight, because they feel it is too creamy and rich. But dairy products are a naturally superior source of protein and calcium. Most of you are aware that calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. But where weight loss is concerned, it plays another important role. Not getting enough calcium can trigger the release of the hormone calcitriol that causes your body to store fat.
Do it right: Aim to get two to three servings of milk and dairy products each day. Select low-fat or skim dairy choices to cut down on the saturated fat content. Pick and choose all types of dairy products to add variety. Just remember that portion-wise, one cup of milk is equivalent to one slice of cheese or a small carton of yogurt.
Here are some waistlinefriendly ways to enjoy your milk and dairy products:
> Add milk or yogurt to your wholegrain breakfast cereal to make it a complete meal of carbohydrates and protein.
> Blend yogurt and milk with fresh fruit to make a smoothie. It’s a good way to use up fruit that is getting too ripe.
> Use cheese with wholegrain bread to make a quick sandwich.
> For a protein-rich sweet treat, have low-fat yogurt with fruit.
Do you know that chocolate is one of the most craved foods? Tell that to 97% of the female population, who researchers say experience chocolate cravings. No one really knows why, but scientists are uncovering connections that chocolate helps to elevate moods and generally gives you that “feel good” factor. For the clients I see, giving up chocolate in their quest to lose weight is as excruciating as getting their molar removed.
So this is my take on it – in the grand scheme of things, allowing yourself a small chocolate treat whenever you want one can be good for keeping you on track. You wouldn’t crave what you don’t deprive yourself of. And if you have it regularly, you wouldn’t feel the need to binge.
Do it right: Chocolate is high in fat, so a little goes a long way. Dark chocolate has less milk and cream than milk chocolate – a better choice for slimmers. A sensible chocolate treat portion is about three to four small squares. I suggest you break off these squares and leave the rest of the chocolate bar in the fridge. Make a nice cup of tea and have a relaxing moment slowly savouring your chocolate. It will satisfy your craving better than just mindlessly gobbling down a chocolate bar while driving.
If it’s the chocolate flavour you enjoy, consider other healthy options with a touch of chocolate. Consider chocolate-flavoured wholegrain cereal, low-fat chocolate milk or a teaspoonful of chocolate spread on wholegrain bread.
So remember, don’t discount these foods if you enjoy them. Have them, but be aware of the portions. Being smart and sensible will see you coming out the winner at the weight loss finishing line! – Article courtesy of Nestle Fitnesse ‘Shape Up Your Lifestyle’ n Indra Balaratnam is a consultant dietitian.