Eating to Lose Weight
Have you finally decided that you need to lose weight? Are you lost? Are the customised and tailored meal plans too ridiculously expensive? Worse, too troublesome to prep meals?
I used to be pretty plump when I was young, and like many, i desired that muscular beach body. So naturally, the next course of action, is to go on a weight loss programme: dieting, HIIT, running for long periods, and worst of them all, I started skipping meals. From the day I decided to lose weight, I had always thought that eating less is most effective.
With the modern day internet, couple with the millions of articles on Men's Health or bodybuilding.com, you probably already know that extreme dieting is bad. Really bad. Of course, with "sufficient" calorie deficit (eat less/not eating), you are bound to lose weight, and soon, you turn into a stickman. Or if you are malnutritioned, you will turn into a stickman with a bloated stomach.
The best solution conveniently available in the market today, would be to cater for a customised meal plan, that most of the time, is delivered conveniently to your doorsteps. But they can be expensive, and I'm a poor student. Luckily for me, I'm a poor nutrition student.
There are a few ways to start losing weight. One, and perhaps the most common, is to take in less calorie that you require. Two, increase the amount of calorie you require in a day, such that you normal food intake is slightly insufficient; this would commonly be known as exercising. It's simple maths, you take in more than you require, you gain weight; you take in less than you require, you lose weight.
Where the above two are not practical (no time, inconvenient, tired, etc etc.), there is a simple way: increasing your metabolism.
It's easier said than done, because there are metabolism training, weights training etc that helps increase your resting metabolism. But let's approach using the simpliest of methods: by eating.
There are some amount of conveniently sourced food that helps increase your metabolism significantly. They can be supplemented or simply treated as a basic replacement for your current staple. The following 4 simple food are easy to find or easy to implement, and definitely available in typical supermarkets or hawkers:
1. Egg Whites.
Talk to any muscle mania body builders and they will tell you that eggs are gooooood. Indeed eggs, both the white and the yolk, contain good amount of protein and important amino acids, and other nutrients. Egg whites in general, are leaner in calories and carbohydrates versus its yolk. In fact, it is a wholesome amount of good nutrients packed in relatively minimal amount of calories. A simple comparison extracted from Google explains clearly the benefits of egg whites versus egg yolks.
2. Drink Water. Lots of it.
Have you heard the common urban legend, "drink water will cause me to be face swollen"?
Drinking insufficient water actually slows down your metabolism. In fact, the water intake of Onyx fighters are actually monitored closely by their trainers. The reason? Simple, water increases your metabolism. For the fighters, a higher metabolism simply translates to a higher output, and better performance. For the rest of us, a higher metabolism means better energy, better fat burning, and better weight loss.
3. Chilli. The hotter the better.
Before you get all excited and start ordering Nasi Goreng Sambal, the chilli here refers to the raw cut chilli, preferbly not soaked in vinegar or sauce. The sweaty warm feeling that you get from eating spicy food? That's a thermogenic effect induced by by a component in chilli called "capsaicin". Upon ingesting such, your body feels warm, and it goes into "turbo" mode, which means burning more calories.
In reality, it means, when you are ordering whichever sinful food at the hawker, remember to top it up with good raw cut chilli. However, to the best of your ability, don't end up spending the night in the toilet.
4. Coffee. But not a cup of frappuccino.
Coffee, with caffeine (sorry, not the decaf version), boosts metabolism, thus increases fat burning effects. But while this may seem to be a wide common knowledge, there are 2 aspects that needs to be taken care of.
One, the additives to coffee that we drink normally makes it much more unhealthy than what it should be. For example, see the nutrition chart below extracted from Starbucks' website. It clearly shows that the "Iced Coffee" even with milk and syrup contains half the calories than a Frappuccino. Thus, where possible, go black.
Two, over time, it seems that this effect of caffeine reduces as the body builds immunity towards it. Notice how some folks say they need to drink 5 to 6 cups of coffee a day, and it has to be gao. I personally recommend having a cup of black coffee 30 mins to an hour before working out. It increases your focus, and helps with performance.
For a start state, try this 4 ways/food to kick start your weight loss journey. Of course, if you read the typical Men's Health or health/fitness related magazines/articles, you've probably also know that switching to wholegrains will help in weight loss. It is most definitely true, but let's be honest here, healthy food is near impossible to find in Singapore's hawker centre, but the above 4 are realistic and not challenging to implement.
If you are serious about losing weight, the above 4 helps increase metabolism, but only to a practical limit. That is to say, if you are eating grossly over what your body requires in a day, applying simple nutritional changes as above will only make you grow fatter, slower. It does not mean you will lose weight, or become leaner. The simple formula, of taking in less (slightly) than what you require in daily calories still applies.
And lastly, supplement your nutritional changes with a good workout plan. Better still, come and attend a Onyx class. Whenever you are ready to commit to serious nutritional changes, you can always speak to any of the staff/trainers for advice! If you wish to, set a realistic target with the trainers, and they will guide you along to it!