Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. Being a country of diversity, which is reflected by the amazing spread of cuisines available throughout the day, one will hardly be running out of ideas on what to eat.
With the advent of food delivery apps, which has catapulted into popularity in the Covid era, ordering and receiving a favourite food item, irrespective of time and location, has become so convenient. As such, it can be extremely difficult to change one’s eating habits, especially if you are going against the grain of the rather unhealthy Malaysian diet which is high in carbohydrates, sugar, salt, and refined oil.
As a Malaysian myself, I love our scrumptious Malaysian food. And having a spouse who’s in the food and beverage business, it takes a steely determination not to indulge and binge in all those mouth-watering grub like there’s no tomorrow.
Many years ago, I struggled with weight issues when I was suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Many women with PCOS are insulin resistant, thus making any effort in losing weight extremely difficult. However, with determination and discipline adhering to a strict diet and exercise regimen, I managed to shed off all the weight I’d gained. With my continued perseverance and discipline up until now, I am now even lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight.
When you are on a weight loss journey, many unsuspecting bad habits can torpedo your efforts. I’ve found these tips rather helpful in helping me lose weight, keep fit, and remain slim permanently. Hopefully, they will help you too!
Tip #1: Quit Mindless Snacking
Snacking makes us happy – it helps to keep our mood in check, it can keep our blood sugar stable, it provides an energy boost during our mid-day slump, and can prevent the rumbling in our stomach in between meals. But snacking mindlessly will be the misdeed that ruins your beautiful body and health.
To prevent the temptation of snacking mindlessly, just don’t stock up on snacks. And if you really have to snack, stock up on healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, plain popcorns, sugar-free dark chocolate, and fruits.
If you do succumb to temptation and buy that delicious bag of salted egg yolk potato chips, share your snack and share your calories!
Tip #2: Not Drinking Enough Water
You’ve been eating mostly homecooked food, exercise regularly, and gone the sugar-free way, but the numbers on the weighing scale just won’t go down.
A lot of studies have shown the correlation between increased consumption of water and the fat-burning capacity of the body. When you do not drink enough water, your body is not able to correctly decipher the difference between hunger pangs and dehydration. Thirst can sometimes mask itself as hunger and lead to unwanted snacking when you could have simply done with a glass of plain water. Try drinking water, the next time hunger pangs strike.
Tip #3: Not Getting Enough Sleep
It can be tough hitting the sack around the same time every night, but if you regularly stay up late and don’t get enough sleep, it’s going to impact your ability to lose weight.
Research has found that not getting enough sleep can mess with the hormones leptin and ghrelin in your body, both of which impact your appetite. Plus, feeling sluggish can make you feel like eating more. Make it a habit to stack enough Z’s.
Tip #4: Get Up And Move More
Walk off the pounds by aiming for 10,000 steps a day. Walk the stairs, get off one bus stop earlier, do housework and exercise to burn more calories, and get your heart rate up every day. For every half an hour of chair time, get up and move around. Time spent sedentary is related to excess weight and obesity, independent of physical activity level.
Getting myself to move more each day is by far the best way to shed off the last few pounds of stubborn fat. My daily step count ranges from 12,000 – 17,000. Wear a fitness tracker watch to track your steps, calories burnt, and heart rate.
Tip #5: Resist Late Night Snacking/Supper
Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy.
The studies suggest that eating out of our circadian rhythm, like late at night, may prompt weight gain and higher levels of blood sugar, which can raise the risk of chronic diseases.
Tip #6: Portion Control
Size matters – the smaller it is, the better it will be for weight loss. To reach or stay at a healthy weight, how much you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Research has shown that people consistently eat more food when offered larger portions. Thus, portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.
Use smaller plates at home and resist the urge to get a second helping.
This tip is another effective weight loss hack for me. Eating fewer calories results in faster weight loss vs. exercise or physical activity alone. This doesn’t mean you should stop working out, but if you want to shed some pounds, start by controlling your portion sizes.
Tip #7: Do Not Avoid All Fats
If you have this belief that avoiding all fats will help you lose weight, it is time you change that mindset. “Good” fats are not only considered an important part of any meal, but also key to shedding pounds.
Fatty foods to include in a healthy and fat loss diet include avocado, nuts, flax and chia seeds, fish oil, salmon, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate, and whole eggs.
The key is everything in moderation and don’t overdo it.
Tip #8: Cut Out Fast Food
Fast food is known for its large portions, affordable prices, high palatability, and high sugar, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat content. It is also low in beneficial nutrients. There’s evidence from studies in teens and adults that frequent fast-food consumption contributes to overeating and weight gain.
Research and studies have suggested a link between fast food consumption and the incidence of food addiction for these low-nutrient items.
When you habitually consume processed and fast foods, your liver is forced to work twice as hard just to remove all the toxins and food additives you are ingesting. That means your liver won’t be able to process as many calories as it can, leading to extra fat storage and weight gain.
New research has found weight-loss interventions that are founded on habit change, (forming new habits or breaking old habits) may be effective at helping people lose weight and keep it off.
It may start off slow initially, but eventually, it will become second nature to you. Soon you’ll be effortlessly avoiding these bad habits and form healthy habits such as those in this article.
There’s increasing evidence that the healthful food choices and diet patterns that help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions may also help to prevent weight gain.
Choose minimally processed, whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthful sources of protein (fish, poultry, beans), and plant oils.
Limit sugared beverages, refined grains, white flour products, red and processed meats, and other highly processed foods, such as fast food.
If you’re desperately trying to rid that muffin top or potbelly but don’t want to dramatically alter your life, set your mind to break these bad habits that could be tripping you more than you think.
Health Freak Mommy is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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