Summer is almost over and I’m willing to bet that weight loss is one of your outstanding goals. Now, let’s check on that! Be honest with yourself. We all know that eating right is more than half the battle. What is it about eating right that makes most people loathe it, or perhaps quit in the middle of their journey to become healthier? Below are some of the guidelines that you can effectively follow to help you in your weight loss goals.
1. The choice depends on you.
Deciding to eat better is a conscious choice and begins with the desire to change. After all, the success meter of one’s weight loss journey is not so much measured on whether or not he/she is able to start it, but rather on whether or not he/she can actually stick to it! Think about how many success stories are there? Admit it or not, there aren’t many! Those who succeed derive their dedication from within.
2. Good things come to those who wait!
Weight loss is a great goal, and if you think that achieving significant objectives is a walk in the park, then you are wrong. Experiencing an overnight success rate with dieting is a myth! It takes time to integrate proper eating habits and to see worthwhile results. Give yourself at least two to three months. The transition is not going to be easy.
3. Understand what the term “diet” actually means.
The term “diet” should go hand-in-hand with the word “lifestyle.” Unfortunately, many people have this negative perception of “diet” because it possesses, for some reason, the stereotype of an agonizing and deprived phase one has to go through in order to lose weight. What’s worse is the rebound that comes after one has finished “dieting”. Dieting is a marathon. It’s a progressive and ongoing thing.
4. When you look good, you feel good: Most, if not all, can attest to this saying.
Everyone understands it, and I’m sure that everyone believes it is true! Eating properly will lead to countless benefits, some of which are a leaner body, more self-confidence, clearer complexion, sharper thinking, more stable energy levels, decreased mood swings, and lessened hunger. Here’s the challenge to those who want to make the decision to change. Try and stick to your plan until you see these benefits. Trust me; you’ll change your view on “dieting”.
5. Calories in versus calories out.
There are two simple principles to adhere to: “When you consume more than what you can burn, you will gain weight. When you consume less than what you can burn, you will lose weight.” Yes, you can gain weight eating “good, clean” food like sweet potatoes and grilled chicken if you overdo it. On the other hand, you can lose weight by eating “dirty, junk food” like ice cream and chocolates if your total caloric intake of these food items is lower than what you can expend. Therefore, when deciding to live healthier, REMEMBER these two guidelines: (1) Know what to eat, and (2) know how much to eat.
6. Taste should not be sacrificed.
True, it might take some more effort to make “good, clean” food taste better. But since you are on the road to a commitment, might as well make it fun and more exciting. The foods that we eat are naturally tasty, and many of the delicious items we think of (read: bad for you) have tastes that are acquired. The key is sound food choices. Preparing and making them taste palatable lies in your creativity!
Protein sources: chicken breast, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, lean beef, lean pork, fish, and protein powder.
Carbohydrate sources: sweet/regular potato, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, wheat bread, wheat tortilla, wheat bagel, fruits, and vegetables.
Fat sources: avocados, olive oil, canola oil, nut butter, seeds/nuts, flax oil, fish oil
7. Now, let’s get started!
HOW? Here’s my tip. Get your body weight, and preferably, have your body fat measured as well. Then, for a week, jot down what you eat daily. After one week, assess your body weight. If you gained weight, then you are most probably eating more than normal. Conversely, if you lost weight, then you are most probably eating less than normal. After, decide which path to take. It is not imperative that you grab a weighing scale and measure your food (though that’s more accurate), but at least have some way to control your food portions.
Does that mean you cannot enjoy your favorite food anymore? Nope. There’s this thing called moderation. Although I want the majority of your food intake to come from healthy sources, you can still enjoy sinful food occasionally. If you crave cheesecake, go ahead and have a slice, but don’t devour the entire cake! You get the drift. Know your limits and you can create a healthy balance. Live life and live healthily!
Hopefully, you find my article very refreshing and useful. I wrote things straight to the point. Remember that what you have read is just a start, and the determining factor is what you decide to do once you put this magazine down.
Originally published in the 2009 print edition of Ironpinoy Magazine.