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12 Tips on Eating Your Way to Weight Loss
SingaporeBrides asks Ms. Angena Teo, Senior Dietician at Changi General Hospital, and Dr Roger Tian, Consultant Sports Physician at Singapore Sports Medicine Centre, to weigh in with advice on losing weight. Get tips on improving your diet, find out the calories hiding in some of your favourite local foods, and discover how health foods could be hindering your weight loss!
Every bride wants her dream dress to accentuate her beautiful figure on her wedding day, but starving yourself on a crash diet one week before the wedding is not the healthiest way to lose weight. Save yourself bad, uneven skin or still-flabby arms by going on a healthy, calorie-counting diet a couple of months ahead. Check out these 12 easy ways to lose weight simply by watching what you eat.
1. Lower your calorie intake
You lose weight by consuming less calories than you burn. First of all, figure out how many calories you burn a day with your height and weight, then count how many daily calories you need in order to lose your goal amount by your wedding date. You can use a free online calculator to do this. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to drop the weight safely. A recommended weight loss rate is about half a kilogram to 1 kilogram per week, by burning about 500 more calories than you eat a day.
2. Track your calories
The only way you know exactly how many calories you’re eating is by calculating the calories of every item you put into your mouth, instead of fudging a hopeful guess at those healthy-sounding yet deliciously sweet oatmeal cookies. Search for foods online and record their nutritional values in a food journal, or better yet, download a free calorie tracking app to track your calorie intake throughout the day.
3. Eat at home
Cooking your own meals gives you control over the amount of fat that goes into your food, and allows you to increase portions of lean protein or swap fibre-rich wholegrains for refined grains. “Eat at home more often. The food outside tends to be higher in calories and lower in fibre,” says Senior Dietician Ms. Teo of Changi General Hospital. Check out our handy calorie chart for popular local foods to know what you’re consuming.
4. Check the portion sizes of health foods
Even healthy foods can be fattening when there’s too much of a good thing. You might have been making better choices about what you eat, but haven’t been losing any weight. Without being aware of it, you could be piling on the calories because you assume that something as healthy as whole-wheat pasta can’t hurt your diet. While foods like oats, nuts and yoghurt are rich in nutrients, that doesn’t mean they aren’t rich in calories as well. Reap the health benefits of avocado by limiting yourself to half the fruit for 160 calories, and load up on calcium but not on calories by sticking to one cup of low-fat yoghurt for 120 calories. Check the recommended portion sizes for your health foods to gain the nutrients but not the kilos, and be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” products actually don’t have a lot fewer calories than their full-fat counterparts.
5. Stop loading up the salads
Salads are definitely one of the healthiest meal options around, but rich dressings and add-ons will load up the calorie count of your greens. Before you pile on your favourite salad toppings, be aware that 1/8 cup of almonds adds 80 calories, ¼ cup of feta cheese adds 90 calories, 10 garlic croutons add 100 calories, and 2 tbsp of bacon bits add 50 calories. Not all salads are created equal, so check the nutritional values of your choices when you’re trying to lose weight.Image cc licensed (BY NC ND) by abeachcottage.com
6. Don’t stock up on junk
For a cleaner diet, clear out your junk food stores and stop buying snacks to keep at home or in your workplace. Keep the junk out of sight and out of mind to decrease the chances of you succumbing to a snack attack. Ms. Teo tells us, “Not having the treat accessible immediately can help decrease your intake of excess calories.” If you really must have those chips, you’ll have to walk out and get them, and the extra effort will either deter you or burn some calories.
7. Eat on smaller dinnerware
The normalcy of ‘up-sizing’ fast food meals has made us accustomed to larger portions. Besides skipping the up-size, trick your eyes into thinking you’re eating a large portion by placing your servings on smaller plates. “The larger your plate, the smaller a piece of food will look, and the more food you will put on it. Use smaller plates for dinner and larger plates for salads,” advises Ms. Teo. Get rid of those kilos simply by managing your portion sizes.Image cc licensed (BY NC) by Christina Mahon
8. Rev up your body’s fat burning power
You’re probably sipping from a cup of metabolism-increasing liquid right now. Dr. Roger Tian, Consultant Sports Physician at Singapore Sports Medicine Centre, reveals, “The caffeine found in coffee or tea increases fat burning.” As the caffeine kicks your brain into high gear, it’s also revving up your metabolism to help you lose weight. Don’t overdo your java, however, as Dr. Tian warns, “Excessive consumption can give rise to side-effects such as palpitations, tremors, insomnia and gastrointestinal irritation.”
9. Slow down
It’s not a pie eating contest. Avoid that sudden stuffed feeling when you get up from a meal by simply eating slowly. “Rushing through a meal means your brain won’t get a chance to register that you feel full. Learn to listen to your body and stop eating when you feel almost full,” Ms. Teo advises. Try not to eat in front of the screen so that you savour each mouthful and feel more satisfied. You’ll also be more aware of how much you’re eating.Image cc licensed (BY NC SA) by VancityAllie .com
10. Drink less smoothies and fruit juices
You know that carbonated and sugary drinks hinder your weight loss progress, but did you know that smoothies and fruit juices can be high in sugar and calories as well? According to the stats from caloriecounter.com, one 250ml glass of orange juice has close to 2.5 times the sugar, only 1/3 the fibre and twice the number of calories of the fruit. A creamy smoothie packs a delicious punch, and is full of vitamins and nutrients. However, even a homemade all-fruit and non-fat yoghurt smoothie adds up to about 200 calories. The verdict for increasing weight loss? Eat fresh fruit and hydrate with water.
11. Fill up on fibre
To fight off those hunger pangs, substitute refined grains like white rice with brown rice, and choose high-fibre foods. Ms. Teo advises, “Eating high fibre foods may help with weight loss as they can sustain you for a longer time. Some examples are brown rice, wholemeal breads, whole-grain cereals, chapatti, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils. Whole-grains are also higher in vitamins than refined grains like white bread and white rice. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.”
12. Budget for rewards
One of the main causes of diet failure is extreme vows to never touch a sweet or a potato chip again. Depriving yourself of your favourite foods can lead to binge eating and demoralisation, so allow yourself to snack within your diet and weight loss plan by budgeting for certain treats. For example, you could enjoy four squares of chocolate or an 18g bag of chips for a modest 100 calories!
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