- I will be writing and working on a new project – www.themalaysianbody.com , much of what I write will be similar to what I’ve written here. Passion, experience, empathy and honesty will guide my creations.
- I need to, and will be better. Will these be mere words, we’ll see? Writing a post a month, okay, a post every 6 months doesn’t cut it. I’m trying to hack the psyche to unlock the habit of doing this weekly, and i’m reaping benefits in formations of other habits in life, don’t see why I can’t extend it to writing.
- I’m on Snapchat, which I’m crazy about at the moment, add me up @houcheelim. I have clients and fitness related questions answered on the platform, because it’s so damn easy and non-committal (yeah, says a lot about me).
- Thank you.Sincerely, whoever you are, were, and will be, reading this.
See you on the other side.
As much as I am for calorie counting, some clients work best without having to constantly google the amount of carbohydrate in 1 tablespoon of gravy, or scratch their heads over the total calories of an omelette, especially with so much on their plate already (pun intended).
Thus, here are 6 not-so-life-changing changes that make a life changing impact, allowing us to unconsciously lower the total amount of food consumed.
Reduce Sugar Consumption
Yes, you’ve probably read this countless times before, but to be clear: contrary to what the media would like us to believe, sugar isn’t evil.
Nor is it good.
It is constantly dubbed as “empty calories”, as it does very little to make us feel full. Satiety is one of the most important aspects when dieting/ being in a caloric deficit.
While you are expected to feel hungry on a diet, getting hungry on every freaking hour of your diet makes maintaining in a caloric deficit a frustrating and fruitless attempt.
Food choices matter. Compare these:
That gigantic potato is much more satiating than the polar… coca-cola can, but both pack the same amount of calories
However, I must again highlight that sugar is not evil.
Indulging in a slice of cake or a serving of ice cream will not wreck your hard-earned, toned midsection, especially if you maintain within a reasonable caloric intake throughout the day. Doing so may even be your much needed psychological break from a prolonged diet.
Satisfy your sweet tooth later in the day. Saving 200 calories for dessert at your last meal allows you to get your fix, and you’re less prone to overeat in your next meals, which don’t come until 12 hours later.
Why? Upon brushing your teeth and as bedtime approaches, we’re more likely to push aside hunger and hit the sack, rather than going through the hassle of cleaning up again.
Eat Protein and Fiber first
As mentioned, satiety is King. Compared to carbohydrates and fats, protein is the pound for pound champion of satiety. Having a high protein intake (1.5-2g your bodyweight in kg) should already be a regular practice if you want to maintain muscle mass during weight loss.
While fiber isn’t a macronutrient per se, it takes up a lot of volume in the gut with minimal calories.
Volume is important. Being able to eat more food for less calories is the key in being in a caloric deficit with a smiley face.
I don’t even need to mention the vitamin and mineral content in vegetables and fruits that we desperately need in our diet.
In 1 week time, how do you control your food intake in a 10 Chinese New Year meal?
Consider this research: Under Ad Libitum conditions (eat till you’re content), people who consume more protein generally consume less calories in total.
Something to think about the next time you go to a buffet.
First order of business
Drink Water Before a Meal
Perhaps the cheapest way to lose weight: Have the habit of drinking a full glass of water before eating.
This helps “fill” the limited space in your stomach, ensuring you’re not prone to excessive eating during your meals.
According to a research published in the Obesity, people who drank a glass of water before all three meals lost an average of 9.48 pounds, compared to 1.76 pounds of those who only do so in one meal.
This girl can teach her family a thing or two about weight loss
Eat From a Small Bowl
“Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger” (link)
If you think you’re too smart for this, think again! Research has proven countless times that people tend to underestimate their calorie intake while eating from large plates.
Where do we go from here? Well, if we can’t fight this illusion, we can make use of it.
Simply substitute your meal plates/ bowls, with a small(er) bowl, and mindlessly eat less.
In my experience, being able to load less food in a bowl, means having to put myself through the hassle of walking to the rice cooker, opening the rice cooker only to find the paddle spoon missing, then searching for a new spoon, wash it, dry it, to get my second serving of rice.
A huge pain in the ass, which brings me to my next point.
Make It a Hassle To (over) Eat
In a study where research participants were left in a room, one group had shelled almonds, the other had un-shelled almonds on the table top. The shelled almonds (which are a great pain to un-shell) we consumed much less (Mindless Eating).
According to Brian Wansink, convenience is one of the reasons we overeat. Having a cookie jar on your office desk, or some crackers always on your kitchen counter spells trouble.
Keep food away from visible places and de-convenience food that tempt you. If you’d have to climb up a chair to reach a high shelf, or dig deep inside a cupboard for some chips, it’s very unlikely that you will consume it.
To a lesser extent, start by not piling heaps of food on the very accessible kitchen counter or dining table. It makes a huge difference.
This works too.
Get Shit Done
Don’t think about a pink elephant.
So whenever a “diet guru” out there says, “just don’t think about food too much”, I find it counterintuitive, especially when eating is our national past time.
Here’s some insight from experience: My most successful weight loss attempts came during hectic periods of my life. Exams, work, assignments etc, where I can’t afford to think about food. As a person who’s prone to overeat, being busy is perfect set-up for me to easily maintain in a caloric deficit. Sometimes, I’d even find it hard to achieve the 2200 calories.
(However, don’t mistake this as an opportunity to not eat, you still need to eat enough to fuel your workouts.)
In fact, I’ve been writing this post from 9am to 2pm, just over a cup of black coffee and a scoop of whey protein.
Although training and nutrition are the most important aspects of weight loss, obsessing over those is the last thing you want to put yourself through. I have spoken about it in great lengths in this video:
This guide serves to help you program an unconscious weight loss journey, i.e., not counting calories.
Call me biased, but I still believe there are tons of benefits in having an in-depth look at the macronutrient and calorie composition of regular foods, even if it’s done for a mere 2 weeks.
Just ask an average person on the streets what the calories of a bowl of rice, a cup of milo, and a roti canai are, you will find out how ignorant we are about our food’s energy content.
With apps like Myfitnesspal and google making it almost effortless to calculate our food intake, there’s no valid excuse not track what we eat.
There is one catch. Despite warning signs from these apps telling us that we have only 20 calories left for the day, our strong, innate drive to store as much fat as possible may overwrite this signal.
This is where having the best of both worlds, mindless tactics on top of macronutrient counting would be the recommended way to go.