If you know me in person, and if you and I are friends since five years ago, you would know that I used to be pudgy and meaty. From a severely underweight girl during my school days, to growing horizontally till I had to wear an L-sized skirt, my ballooning during my teens years was a horrible phase and one that made me realize how unhealthy my habits were. I hated the way I looked, I hated taking photos, and I hated the world.
But I manifested those negativity into motivation to slim down; the course of doing so was not an easy one. The end result is, of course, a trimmer body, a healthier lifestyle and bigger confidence.
Let’s not talk about exercise regimens and workouts, because those are very subjective. Fundamentally, your daily habits and lifestyle play a huge part in how you would look, and till today, I live by these simple rules to stay trim – even with minimal exercise. And as I regularly share with my friends, here are my :
#1 NO SUPPER – NO MATTER WHAT
When I set my mind on losing weight, the first bad habit I had to kick was supper. This may sound like just another meal of the day, but it is extremely detrimental. I bade goodbye to my nightly pratas and nasi lemaks.
I won’t kid you – it is not going to be easy. Only sheer determination will guide you through. But trust me, this is one habit that you will be thankful to rid when you step on the weighing scale again after a fortnight. And increasingly so.
If your tummy won’t stop growling at ungodly hours, then make do with some low calories food like broccolis, strawberries and oranges. They may not sound like the most exciting supper food, but no supper means no supper. You have to be firm about this. The more determined ones can sleep the hunger away, which is your best bet.
#2 DRINK GRAPEFRUIT JUICE EVERY MORNING
This might not be the tastiest option for many, but it should be an essential in your life. Grapefruit has always been associated with weight loss, and though it may not perform miracles, there are many studies that have shown its efficiency and countless of people swear by it for a boost. Grapefruit aids in digestion due to its high water and fibre content, so a glass every morning before your breakfast helps in clearing your system and flushing out the toxins that are stored in your body. If you have gastritis, try only a small glass of 250ml, or skip it altogether.
Of course, it works best if you can eat the fruit itself without juicing it. But baby steps work fine. Get used to the juice first, then advance to the fruit itself.
#3 YES TO BREAKFAST
Breakfasts are for champions. Many underestimate the importance of breakfast, but this should always be the first meal of our day, and it has to be taken seriously. In fact, skipping breakfast will cause all weight loss plans to backfire – because your body will condition your mind in to eating a lot more than you should for the rest of the day.
Start making breakfast a habit. It aids in weight control, and improves your overall performance and energy level for the day. This is also the time of the day when carbs (and occasional sweets) are encouraged – think oats and wholegrain breads with an almond butter spread, or peanut butter if you must.
Adding protein also helps in keeping you fuller, so that you do not grab unnecessary snacks before lunch hour. Egg whites are highly recommended. Loaded with the highest quality protein, it keeps you full and satisfied. Studies have also shown that those who eat two egg whites every morning consume fewer calories across the day, and boast the highest percentage of overall weight loss.
#4 NO CARBS AFTER 7PM
I know it sounds impossible, but if I am such a glutton and I can do it, so can you. Carbs are killers, and while I love my pasta and breads so much, I do not touch them after 7pm. Your body still needs energy from carbs, but you can load ‘em up in the day – not excessively, of course.
Remember this rule: Feast like a king for breakfast, dine like a prince for lunch, and eat like a pauper for dinner.
#5 CHOOSE YOUR CALORIES WISELY
Now, this is my favourite, and one that I am really strict about till today. Many things in life happen because of the choices we make, and a wise decision can do you wonders. It is like choosing to climb that flight of stairs instead of taking the lift – yes, I still do simple things like that.
So, how to choose your calories wisely? There are few things that I abstain from and very rarely touch, and they include potatoes and potato chips. You have no idea how much I love my potatoes. Unfortunately, they are the darnest things to eat, really.
Now, this is an extremely simple theory. If there is fried chicken and grilled chicken on the menu, you know which you should pick, right? Grilled and steamed fish over pork-anything any time. Wholegrain bread is much better than sweet white bread. Order a fresh fruit juice instead of grabbing a can of soda, and do not add sugar to your coffee and tea. Avoid sausages and processed meats. Yes to more fruits and vegetables. Salad that has the dressing served separately also means you can control the amount that goes over your leaves.
Need a snack in between meals? Think twice before you reach for your bag of chips. Eat an apple or a cup of berries to keep you full; the sugar in the fruit will also curb your cravings for tea-time sweets.
And there is another generic rule that I live by: if your food goes bad fast, then it is good for you. Which brings me to my next point.
#6 SAY GOODBYE TO FAST FOOD AND PROCESSED FOOD
Yes, the truth is hard to handle but those junk will do you no good at all. I did not touch McDonald’s and KFC for two whole years. Resistance was very tough and Filet-O-Fish called me in my dreams, but when I saw a flatter tummy and leaner arms, that sense of satisfaction was unparalleled. Before I even realised, my body and mind were in harmony, and I was already conditioned to developing healthy cravings. Trust me when I said I actually felt so good when munching on raw spinach and olives.
So anyway, processed food means they contain a lot of preservatives, and those are hidden chemicals that you do not see when eating until they appear on your hips. There is also a reason why they are so affordable, but what the menu does not tell you is the price you have to pay after eating them.
#7 DON’T GO OVERBOARD WITH THE SWEETS
You know what they say about “you are what you eat”? I would eat a Victoria’s Secret model if I could (Candice Swanepoel or Alessandra Ambrosio, please), but the sad truth suggests I should just stay away from sweets because sugar is every model’s top enemy. They are useless calories, and they do nothing but settle on your tummy, thighs and hips.
I love my eclairs, cookies and cupcakes. Sometimes, I indulge in ice-cream too. Not everyone has the kind of resistance to say ‘no’ to desserts like Adriana Lima does, especially when the world makes such great desserts.
I would say to go ahead and still eat them, but very selectively and minimally. Keep some days of the week sweets-free too. When I was doing my intense diet, I only had one cheat day per week, and even then, I only ate half a slice of cake.
I avoid canned drinks as much as possible too. A coke on a hot summer day by the beach sounds marvelous, but that is my occasional treat. Else, I stay away from soft drinks.