Eat What Now???!?

Brain Grain
Ok, so I recently read in a book called "Brain Grain" by a highly acclaimed nutritionist and scientist, David Perlmutter, that in our everyday diet we should cut all of the carbs and incorporate only fats, protein and fresh produce. And by all carbs he didn't just mean white bread, sugar and chips, he meant ALL of it including brown bread and grains. Initially I was like, "this is probably only for obese people no?" No! It's for EVERYONE apparently, healthy or otherwise. WTF???? I mean, are you serious? Coming from a place where our staple food is rice, you expect me to change it so drastically to no rice?

Nah! You just effing with me aren't you? Well what the hell am I to eat then? I have never and don't think can ever just survive on meat and vegetables. 3 times a week is my maximum limit for only meat diet… I need rice, not cause I crave it but it actually makes up the sustainable energy for my body… And what about the rest of the East? They live on rice... What are they to do?

Basically what he wants us all to eat is this:

Not my ideal food chart sorry...
You know what, screw that… Eat a balanced diet and do not go crazy on treats, have a healthy lifestyle with ample exercise… Let's see how that doesn't pay off!
There are few things I personally have experienced while loosing weight (during my late teens) from over 11.5 stones (about 75 kilo) to 9 stones (58 kilo)… That was due to endurance and hard work for 1 whole year, attained completely with natural and healthy ways. Important thing to remember is that the struggle is only for the intial steps. You only need to maintian a strict routine for the first 3 months, when your body gets tuned to the weight loss.
Once the weight loss kickstarts it only gets easier to shed more and more. After that you will notice, it's your body that craves the endorphins and will not accept junk anymore cause it wants to live healthy!

In the following paras I will tell you how I lost over 15 kilos in 1 year. How I got that huge in the first place is a completely different story and does not include my own lifestyle but rather a misguided regime from someone equally oblivious, and I say huge cause I actually was bulky and chubby, largest in my class, no kidding… Although now I am between 65-70 kilo, that's cause I have developed muscle density and I am quite happy with how I look even though my weight fluctutes with my food intake (cause I'm a major foodie), all my clothes from when I was thinner fit well and I feel strong.

So, coming to how I achieved my weight loss. Ok, much like many, I was inclined into thinking BMI is the truth! No it's not, it does not apply to people with high muscle density at all like bodybuilders… Reason? First of all it is calculating your ideal so called 'mass index' based on your height and your weight… You see the key words here? Height and WEIGHT! Hang on, muscle has more weight for the same volume of fats… You mean I'm heavier with more muscle than fats? Yes indeed!!! BMI is a highly simplified calculation. It does not take in account the bone densities either. Say for example, athletes will naturally have higher bone density than non-atheletes (no brainer!) but their BMI is way higher than normal. And also, do you think fats in the body is bad all together? No, it depends on the type of fats and where those fats are accumulated... The one in your arms are not nearly as bad as a layer of fat around the organs... Still you might be in the safe BMI range! So, there goes the BMI theory out of the window.  For more details check out the video by DNews

Anyway, coming back to my teen years (this is when I was about 17-19 years old), believing the myths and glaringly obvious BS on BMIs, I mainly focused on shedding weight and firming my flabby ends. Why? Well cause being heavy made me lathargic, slow, grumpy and also that I was under constant verbal bully. Well, I didn't care much but I realised how slow I had become and how most of my clothes didn't fit anymore! Nooooo!!! ANYTHING BUT THAT!!! XD  
Anyway, here's what I did...
1. Run girl run!
First of all, I started running… Every single day, started out short with about half a mile per day (I know that's nothing but it is indeed difficult to start all of a sudden after years of break from all the sports I was into) and then gradually increased it to miles.

*Note: Make sure you have your facts and gears right before you start running... Personally, minimalist shoes are the best IMHO!

I will be honest, longest I've done is between 5-6 miles but I did it religiously everyday, ending with about half a mile of sprint. That firmed up a lot of my "jiggling" flabs on my waist and bottom in about 3 months. Remember, body takes about 2 weeks itself to get used to a workout and show effect. But if you keep doing the same thing over a long period of time without variation it soon gets adapted, comfy and you cannot see progress anymore… Solution?
2. Incorporate quick cardio and stretching

I did some cardio and dancing ;) I did crunches, started with 20 at first and carried it on to 50 everyday, you don't need more unless you feel 50's not enough, cobra push ups (at least 50), a few squats from time to time, rotate my arm 50 times each both clockwise and anticlockwise, and jumping jacks about 50, (started from 10).  I did a lot of stretching anyway, since my dad's been an avid yoga practitioner since he was 14 and continues it till date (kudos to him and his dedication) that helped a lot with my agility and yes, it helped me lose more inches around my waist than just running alone. A lot of people don't believe in yoga cause they want fast results that comes from cardio. Well, I for one am happy with it and know for sure that it works... Rest's for you to try and decide :) 

"Let's get physical"
3. Join a fun sport
After about 6 months, I was down to 65 kilos. But I still had a bit of flab under my belly and on my thighs. But I was determined and patient. Then I joined swimming, went 3-4 times a week, mostly in the evenings for an hour or swimming at dawn during weekends. My dad was the best swimming partner. This toned my arms and legs (again, you need to have patience over anything else). This was an excellent decision since now I could work on my swimming and lose weight too. And it's so damned relaxing too! Any other sports like football, tennis, volleyball that requires physical labour is a definite yes... Keep them joints moving!

So, that's my physical training. Now comes the diet part:

Dieting does not mean starving, what I aimed for is "balanced" diet. Here are some ways to achieve a healthier diet without compromising on taste and quality.

1. Smaller plate = smaller portion
Food wise, I only cut down on my portion size, and not what I ate.  One trick is to use smaller plate, then it will fill up faster and u will eat lesser* :) 

*not counting second, third, or fourth helping here.

Ooo... Magic!!!
2. Reduce snacking
I didn't snack much anyway so cutting down on snacks wasn't difficult, however, I did cut down slightly on deep fried items in my meal. For people who love snacking this step will be difficult. What you can do is reduce the snack portion too and change the salty fried treats with fresh fruits, roasted nuts, sugar free yogurt and other healthy substitutes.

3. Purify from inside
I drank lemon/lime juice without sugar (or salt) every single day first thing in the morning right after a quick jog, stretching and shower. It takes a bit getting used to, but I was so determined that it tasted fine to me. Fresh lemon/lime juice purifies blood, clears the skin from pimples and acne, and cuts fats. 

Lemons and limes
Lemons and limes
4. Eat the balanced diet in a proper routine
I know everyone says breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day, then lunch and then finally the smallest should be the dinner, well although I agree about the dinner,  I could never eat too much in the morning either. If you have similar problem where you don't feel hungry in the morning and only do so at night, I'd suggest - get a routine and stick to it seriously. My breakfast was a small bowl of porridge with honey or just fruits, but during weekends they were big and filling. Lunch was always filling (except in weekends when I'd eat a big brunch) and I ate whatever I wanted. However, my dinner was very controlled. The best results I notined was when my dinners were light. It left me feeling light and energetic in the morning. I would have a large bowl of freshly prepared soup from vegetables, either thick chowder or broth, or light daal for dinner (remember, I was cutting down on my food then) or eat half a portion of what I used to eat as dinner before I started dieting. I only took that much in my plate cause otherwise I wouldn't be able to control myself :p and also I am strictly against wasting food... "Take only what you are going to eat, if you want more, you will get more… But never waste" - my parent's motto and I totally adhere by it.

Here is my food pyramid that I follow:
My food plan... Loads of fresh veggies and fruits, followed by grains and then a bit of meat and a bit of good (as well as bad) fats.
I eat alot of fruits... Well, I love fruits so much that I need them everyday. But I can never eat green salad on its own... NEVER! They always make me feel hungry. I don't count cooked vegetables as salad although some restaurants serve them as warm salads (funny!). But I do fancy them as sides with my meal.

True I eat rather large amount of carbs, well carbs are what give you energy so it's fine, but you only need to eat enough and not more. 2 bowls of rice per day is enough for me, you can quantify the same for yourself too. Then comes protien... I eat meat not more than 3-4 times a week. Then a bit of fats in the form of olive oil, nuts, milk and cheese, and lastly, a little bit of my chocolaty treats :)


And that's it… Now that I know what I need to aim for (muscle fat ratio, not BMI) I eat what I like and workout accordingly. Keeps me happy and healthy. I eat balanced food with a mix of everything. I have my regular supply of vitamins, minerals, protiens, fats and carb, I don't have to cut down completely on any of my favourite treats like chocolate and ice-cream. Just small portions (still much much larger than a runway model, and believe me when I say this YOU DO NOT WANT TO FOLLOW THEIR DIET! EVER!!!) 

I know it is a long process, there were a few trials and errors (very few though). Trust yourself, give your body sometime, it will do the work for you. I urge you to try it… See how it fairs for you.