Here’s Part 2 of my ‘lazy healthy lifestyle’ post – changing your diet. (See Part 1: Exercise here). And by diet, I mean being more conscious of what you eat, eating more healthily, and enjoying it. Not purposely starving yourself ‘- ‘
As mentioned in the previous post, I’m not the fittest/healthiest/most motivated person around, so these are all tips which the average person can achieve.
Also, each person’s body/mind/circumstances are different, so take these tips and adjust them to suit yourself! (Or disregard them if you find that they don’t apply to you)! I’m also still learning, so any additional tips/comments will be helpful!
- Lots of Water
Drink water before ordering your meal or deciding on a portion of food to take for yourself. Sometimes you might just be confusing your thirst for hunger. (Also, I guess water helps you feel fuller, but I wouldn’t want to lie to my stomach like that ‘- ‘ the stomach will know. IT WILL KNOWWWW *groowls*)
Drink water first thing in the morning. Also place a huge bottle of water near you all the time so you’ll drink whenever you notice it! I unthinkingly drink a lot more water than the average person lol (about 3-4 litres a day, when the recommended amount is 2 litres), but that’s because I feel thirsty almost alllll the time and my body just needs that water. ;- ; Yes, I’ll probably be the first to die in an apocalypse from thirst…or from encountering zombies during one of my multiple trips to the toilet.
So just drink water when you’re feeling thirsty, don’t under-drink or over-drink. Listen to your body! And yes, drink water – not coke, or sprite, or fruit juice, or some other sweet drink. I always restricted myself to drinking cold drinks only as a reward or motivation for completing something (bubbletea, iced milo, fruit juices, ribena, yakult), so I normally don’t drink a lot of sweet drinks. ‘- ‘ (friends pls don’t call me out on the bubbletea I drink almost every week. At least it’s just green tea + pearls without milk heh heh heh)
- Lots of Vegetables
When eating out, I like to eat at mixed rice or yong tau foo stalls, where I can pick lots of vegetables. Choose the lesser “evil”. Choose grilled food over fried food (I think they taste as nice too). Choose aglio olio instead of carbonara (though you can actually just cook that at home). Choose chicken breast at Subway instead of bbq teriyaki chicken (idk if this exists lol). But tbh, I choose all of those (grilled, aglio olio, chicken breast) because I just happen to LOVE them. The bottom-line is to first be aware of your choices: know when you’re choosing something healthier (& feel proud of yourself), and be conscious of your unhealthy decisions (& forgive yourself).
When I eat at home, I like to make macaroni soup: boil a large yellow onion (chopped) and some garlic for the soup base, add a bunch of vegetables, mushrooms, maybe some meat, umami soy sauce (the only unhealthy thing heh) and macaroni (in the proportion of 80% vegetables+meat and 20% macaroni).
Alternatively I also like to pan-fry a whole bunch of vegetables (using water instead of oil – lol mitch always reacts incredulously to me using water to fry things, but it works with vegetables! Might fail with meat or tiny pieces of things like garlic though), crack 1-2 eggs over it and make a vegetable omelette! Then I accompany it with a bowl of rice!
When my mum cooks, I mainly spam-eat lots of vegetables and soup (80%), with rice and meat being the 20%/30% of the meal.
Of course, all these only happen about 60-70% of the time lol. So other times I eat unhealthy things too, like bbq meat, buffets, mala hotpots, and lots of dessert and snacks! I just make sure that I eat healthily whenever I can, and make sure it’s delicious and that I enjoy it so I’ll continue doing this for the rest of my life. ‘- ‘
The point is that you have to make sure you can sustain what you’re doing for yearssss, so you’ll be able to maintain this sort of lifestyle. So…I don’t advocate eating just salads and tasteless boiled foods or pressed juices for all meals for weeks/months because I think I’d lose one of the best things in life (i.e. eating good food!!). And I’d just go savage at the end of that crazy juice/salad diet and eat a lot more, and a lot more unhealthier, than before.
- Tea (?)
Tea has always been promoted for better general health and weight loss due to its detoxifying and metabolism-boosting properties. I love green tea the most, especially roasted brown rice green tea (genmaicha). It has a mild nutty flavour.
But I find that it makes me feel really hungry and more prone to snacking whenever I drink tea (possibly also because it lowers blood sugar). Also, even though it has a smaller amount of caffeine compared to coffee, it still slightly adversely affects my body/brain. I still drink it every once in awhile though, cause I like it. ‘- ‘
- Healthy snacking
I still have a long way to go on this one.
Some tips are to throw away and don’t buy any unhealthy snacks so you have no such option at home. But my house with my big family is always full of unhealthy snacks.
So far, I have been snacking on: salted nuts, raisins, oatmeal biscuits, chocolate (dark is best, but let’s be honest sometimes we just want a kitkat), fruit (if available) and chips if I’m desperate (well…i’m not out to live a *super* healthy lifestyle :P).
It’s good to chop up some fruits and vegetables so you can munch on them whenever you feel hungry (though tbh I dislike raw vegetables and prefer salty things to munch on instead). I guess nuts are my next best option although they’re still not that good in excess. And I need a lot of nuts to feel full!
Another good option is avocado. I don’t like the taste of avocado, but recently drank avocado milkshake with gula melaka (palm sugar), which tasted reallyyyyy good – both thirst-quenching and filling. It’s definitely not ‘healthy’, but it’s relatively healthier than some other options lol.
Also, I realized I don’t snack and can last till dinner time if I’m working intensely on something (aka in ~flow~ mode), like during a hardcore studying/research session, or when I’m creating/working on some project, or reading a really engaging story. So fill up your afternoons with intense things (despite the lull of post-lunch food coma – life is hard).
Don’t cut back too much on your food. Eat until you’re satisfied. Not too little that you’re still thinking about food by the time you’re done with your meal, and not too much that you can’t think about food for a few months. Eat just enough for your stomach to feel 80% full (enough for dessert hurhur. Just joking…..uh, maybe *coughs*).
Also, choose foods which are filling and worth the calories! Bread/salad may be lower in calories, but they only last me for like…half an hour before I’m hungry again. And then I’ll eat even more, making my total calorie count a lot more than if I had just chosen a dish with high satiety count. (*coughs* I don’t actually take note of calories much though…ain’t nobody got time for that. But it’s good to be aware of it, especially for food you like!)
Rice has been blasted for its high carb content, but…it keeps me full for several hours, so overall I eat a lot less than if I ate something else with a lower satiety index (like bread).
Some other foods with high satiety indexes you can eat: Rice (white/brown), spaghetti, potatoes, apples, chicken breast, fish, beans and soup.
Note: even though these are recommended, it doesn’t mean you can eat too much of them!! Everything is bad in excess (yup, even water). Balance is everything! Balance!! Balance!!1!1 *coach shouting at figure skater*
(This makes sense and works for me, but I’m not sure about whether it works for others. Would like to know!)
- Research Health Food Fads to Suit Yourself
In this age where health has become popular and several foods become the new hype and are well-loved by even celebrities for its nutrition/other good properties, it’s easy to just fall in with food trends just because they’ve been touted by many.
One of them is oatmeal. After reading about all the benefits of oatmeal, I decided to replace my daily cereal breakfast with it. Since I don’t like the plain taste of oatmeal on its own, I add lots of additional ingredients such as honey, fruits, cinnamon and chia seeds to it.
I used to eat a huge bowl of it for breakfast each day, but I realized that just 1-2hours later, I get really really hungry, to the point that my hands start to shake (lol cries am weak). I couldn’t pinpoint the cause of that at first, but eventually found out that instant oatmeal has a high glycemic index of 83 out of 100, so it makes my blood sugar spike, then drop drastically, causing those symptoms. Most of the ingredients I add also has a lot of sugar (honey?? fruits???), which probably made it worse than it could have been.
I cut out oatmeal from my breakfast after finding that out, but I read that the non-instant, coarser oats have a much lower glycemix index of 58, and other alternatives to fruits and honey could be nuts and milk. But being a lazy person, traditional oats is too much of a hassle for me to make in the morning lol. So I guess I’ll just make overnight oats (so the coarse oats become softer) as a treat for myself every now and then.
So yes, this is an example of how some foods may not suit everyone’s tastes/lifestyles/bodies. So research properly, experiment, and adjust it to yourself!
You don’t have to make all these changes at once. It all starts with a tiny conscious decision each day to be healthy. It has to be easy, effortless and enjoyable. Once you’ve built up the momentum, you’d have realized it’s become a habit and part of your lifestyle. Start with any small healthy food you like, and leverage on it. It doesn’t even have to be that healthy, but it’ll help you work your way towards being healthier.
Let me know any other tips for a healthier diet that you guys have for me, or comments on my current tips! 😀