Friday, May 22, 2020

My Current Diet and Why It Works for Me

I’m actually on the fence whether I should go for a more click-baitish kind of title like, “the perfect weight loss diet” and all that, but I’m sticking with what’s real and I will share with you the kind of diet that works for me and what I call it.

As some of you may recall, two years ago was when I started losing weight. It was initially unhealthy, but with the help of a lot of my friends and immediate family, I managed to turn things around and started dealing with my relationship with food. I accepted that I had a problem, and I needed to address it.

So now, to reveal the name (or at least that’s what I call it) of the diet I’m doing: “Mindful Eating.” Basically, it’s about being mindful of what you eat, but not too strict about it. How do I do it?

The 2015 Nutrition Labeling Format in the Philippines
I READ NUTRITION LABELS. It matters. Check out this quick Youtube video by The Health Nerd about reading nutrition labels if you don’t know how to yet. You see, I’m not strict, but I am mindful and aware of how much nutrients I’m giving my body. One of the things I’ve discussed with some people over social media is the fallacy that canned pineapple juices are healthy. Here’s the thing, when you think of pineapples, you’ll think “fiber.” But a closer look at your regular pineapple juice, through reading the nutrition label, shows it has a lot of sugar and 0 fiber. That is why they even have to make a separate pineapple juice with fiber. You’re better off eating the real thing than choosing these processed food and drinks. But should you need or crave for something canned, packed, or processed, it pays to check and be mindful of how much protein, sugar, sodium, or fiber it has depending on your needs. I’m not overly strict, because it’ll be impossible on my part to weigh everything, and I don’t really want to obsess about it. As long as I know I’m feeding my body what it needs, I’m good.

One of my brunches this quarantine period
I CHECK THE CALORIES AND QUALITY OF THE FOOD I EAT. Every kind of diet boils down to one simple principle – calories in, calories out. As much as I am not strict with the exact number of calories, I still check and estimate at the very least. This is why I opt for a high protein meal paired with lots of vegetables. Vegetables are my main carbs, most of the time, and I go for high protein because I need it to build muscle and it provides a satiating effect, which means it’s very filling and won’t leave me feeling hungry. I eliminated rice, for a few months, last year but I brought them back now, but I just opted for red rice and would just use white rice when I don’t have an option. I’m not the richest girl in town. I need to make do with what I have and what I can afford; which leads me to the next point…

Hello to half a cup of the Mango Graham Crunch Ice Cream
PORTIONING MATTERS TO ME. If you follow me on my social media accounts, you’ll see that I eat 4 to 5 times a day. I also eat pizza, ice cream, brownies, and a lot more. But the key question here is, how much of it do I eat? Just like with my rice, I usually just have half a cup to a cup a day if I need more food on my plate. Even with my treats, I still do portioning, so that I won’t consume too much of it. I bought bite-sized brownies (60 calories) for when I want desserts, and small packs of whole grain chips, which I munch on when I’m working (140 calories a pack). So, yes, instead of buying that big bag of chips, which might have saved me a few Pesos, I’d rather go for the small packs, which can save me from overeating.

WATER, TEA, AND COFFEE, HAVE BEEN MY CLOSE FRIENDS. Because in reality, sometimes, you’re not really hungry, you’re just thirsty. I always have a bottle of water beside me, especially when I’m working. I drink green tea in the morning, black coffee before I work out, and fruit tea (not the sugary iced tea, like tea bags, okay?) in the evening or before I go to sleep. I avoid green tea in the evening, because it won’t help me relax, since it has caffeine.

If you can see, how I eat is pretty much balanced. I have my healthy food and my treats, but they're just well-portioned. I don’t really believe in strict diets, timed diets, or overly limiting yourself. Such extreme diets can lead to either of the opposite poles. Either it will make you binge in the end or make you eat too little, which can cause nutrition deficiency. We don’t really want those, right? We are aiming to be healthy and fit and not sick. And here’s another reason why I don’t aim on losing weight fast, but rather pacing it well: Fast weight loss can be both fat and muscle loss. And I really don’t want the muscle loss part because muscle actually helps you burn more calories; so, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you can burn even while at rest. Plus, since I do CrossFit and Powerlifting, I cannot afford to lose strength too.

Mindful Eating for me, is not a fad diet, but more of a lifestyle. It’s something I know I can and should sustain for the rest of my life. It’s healthy, it’s balanced, it’s not restricting, but it works. Hey, this is what I did during quarantine, and I lost 5kgs., with muscle gain even. So, I look a little bit leaner, and got stronger too. Of course, I paired this with the right work out, through an online program by Coach Chris Garcia from CrossFit Cabalen.

Remember, it’s not just about the numbers, but mostly about your health. Do what works best for you, without compromising what’s good for your overall well-being. Stay healthy and stay strong, everyone!

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