Portion Control & Healthy Snacking

I haven't been writing about this for a long while regarding weight loss but yah, if you are like me who are still in the process of losing weight or at least want to try to lose weight but do not  know where to start, I can share some tips here. I started to slowly gain back the weight that I lost two years ago and even though it's not that significant, it bugs me because it made me go back to a past weight range after working so hard the last few years since the end of 2005.

I guess it is because of the stress I was in that eating was such comfort. The 'best' part is (being sarcastic here), after the weight gain, even since then it has been a roller coaster ride. There will be a short victory and then somehow I would be back to the previous weight and what's worse, it will be slightly more. It is so frustrating.

But finally, after tweaking a lot in my diet by carefully analyzing what has gone wrong and what could be done, I am finally (yet again) back on track and I foresee myself going back to the previous weight range..yay!

First thing first, what went wrong. I would say unhealthy snacking throughout the day takes the cake. Pun intended. At times at my workplace, I will be offered food and it's difficult to turn them down. I will also buy unhealthy snacks like chocolate biscuits from the supermarket and snack on them.

So, definitely tweaking will have to be done.

Well, the easiest is to just turn away the cupcake, for instance. But now what I do is that I still eat it for lunch for example but then I will NOT eat for the rest of the day until dinner time which is after 8 usually. To be honest, firstly that cupcake is free and secondly, I will get hungry especially like around 4 plus or even earlier at 3 plus and that is when, I have to distract myself with work and I will either take sips of leftover home made tea or plain old cold water from the pantry.

At first it was very hard and now it's slightly harder only, haha..like got diff'', but it somehow lets my brain gets the message that my hunger is only temporary and now I can go up to even 7 hours without actual solid food after I tell myself okay officially now, I will stop eating food after lunch right until dinner. But if you think this is such a long painful task to do, going without food, you don't have to completely deprive yourself.

You can get hold of healthier snacks such as stocking up on fruits or wholemeal biscuits so you can snack on them. If you can't help but reach unhealthy snacks like chips, chocolates or sugary biscuits, my suggestion is simple: just DON'T buy them from the supermarket if you are out shopping. If you have no such food at near distance, you won't be tempted to eat them because in the first place, they are not even there!

So now, when I walk past the aisles, I can only touch the packaging of such sugary biscuits or snack treats and not buy them..haha. Freaking all the time. I tell myself this weight loss thing is NOT going to happen if I give in to temptation.

Now the thing is, you don't have to completely deprive yourself. Like see, I can still have the cupcake or maybe for you, you can still have lunch like rice with dishes but it's a matter of careful choices. If I ever buy rice with dishes on my own, what I do is that I have two veggies or at least one veggie. I won't buy dishes with gravy that contains coconut milk but that's my personal choice. You can buy food with gravy but perhaps, don't ask for the gravy as explained why later.

However, if I am at a buffet and somehow, they serve such dishes, I will just eat the meat and toss the meat first to get rid of as much gravy as I can. Yes, crazy but usually the calories come mostly from the gravy. Me thinks you can still have just one fried item, preferably a small piece and not one big chicken piece and two veggies instead of two meat and one veggie.

But let's say you have a heavy lunch, then it is not the end of the world..or your weight loss routine. You can substitute it with a light dinner. If you're Asian and there's no way you can skip rice, even though it's mostly complex carbs which isn't good for your body, you can limit your rice intake. For me, I will eat rice on alternate days and if I have eaten rice yesterday and today, my mum still prepare rice even though I said earlier I'm not eating rice (mums..they always feel like they're not feeding us enough..haha) she will prepare one plate only and I will share that plate with my brother.

Speaking of which, for years since I started my weight loss regime, I practice portion control. It's easy to pile on food at buffet and it's easy to eat the whole plate to yourself but when I am eating takeaway food with my family, I will only eat at most 1/3 of the package since technically, there are 3 of us. If it's food that I avoid like the yellow hokkien mee or chicken rice, I will only eat very few spoonfuls to get the craving away and that's about it. For buffet, I take very small portion of rice or noodles and pile on more veggies and little meat without the gravy.

When I am with my friends, which is usually on Saturdays, I do eat and finish the whole plate of lunch or dinner but actually it's alright for me, because the next day on Sunday, I will work out at the gym. It's a weekly routine for me irregardless of whether I eat a lot on Saturday. We shall explore more on exercising in the next post.

So in conclusion, you should take note of your calorie intake by making a mental note of what you have eaten so that you are aware and do not just eat blindly because it's easy to pile on the calories like that. For you to have weight loss, you must cut down your calorie intake daily such as sticking to a limit of say, 1000 calories a day or below 1500 calories. Ideally, you should consume up to 1800 calories but if you want some weight loss, the lower the better but just don't deprive yourself too much.

Practise portion control such as asking for less rice, be conscious of what you have eaten throughout the day because some food simply have hidden calories and some food can easily have 400-500 calories in just one serving. Cut down on unhealthy snacks that only provide you with empty calories and instead, eat more healthier snacks such as fruits and wholemeal biscuits. 

If you have a heavy lunch, have a light dinner or if you know your dinner tonight will be heavy, have a lighter lunch. My lunch is usually light because my mum will prepare sandwich for me such as avocado, tuna or low fat cheese sandwich and then I can afford to have heavier dinner but not so much as having more rice but still controlled portion of rice intake.

On my side, it is easier to get hungry because my lunch is like what..sandwich only, so my stomach will be growling by 4 plus so now I just drink water and keep drinking water to curb the hunger. I will tell myself I will be able to eat later so just 'tahan' or bear with the hunger which will usually go away and I will distract myself with work instead.

So okay, hopefully that will help you in small ways or another. Take it as a positive lifestyle change and don't pressurize yourself too much into losing weight quickly or otherwise it will be such a chore and you will give up easily. If you are disciplined and determined, just like in other aspects of your life, you will see positive results so don't give up :)

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