About 11% of Singaporeans aged 18-70 are obese, with around 28% having a high-risk Body Mass Index (BMI). That is unsurprising, as we are the “supposed” culinary capital of Asia, where you can find all sorts of cuisines from the Mediterranean to the land of the Rising sun.
Singaporeans are spoilt for choice when it comes to food choices. Unfortunately, that could have a serious impact on our waistline and our eventual lifespan. Already having such a low birth rate, with our retirement horizon getting further out of reach, can we afford to continue to live a decadent lifestyle?
With the government promoting active ageing to all Singaporeans, here are a few things you can do to lose weight without sacrificing eating the foods you love.
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Stop Calorie Counting And Start Eating Whole Foods
Counting calories is not only inconvenient but unsustainable to most people, whose first job isn’t working at the gym. However, there is one way to circumvent it. That is to eat whole foods instead.
Whole foods are foods that are minimally processed and are usually higher in either protein, fibre and/or other micronutrients. Essentially if you eat foods from its source like wheat instead of bread, it will in general be healthier and better for you.
But why is that so? Since it is minimally processed, whole foods are higher in fibre and protein thus keeping you satiated for longer periods.
A study from ZOE has shown that counting calories (as effective as it is), is not sustainable. Especially for Singaporeans, where we spend most of our dollars on meals, outside.
Sustainability > Diets
As they say, diets don’t work. The reason it is so is because it is not sustainable. What is considered “sustainable” is simply the easy adoption of a particular dietary protocol for everyone.
For example, some people rather skip a meal, than consume more but smaller meals. For others, it is easier to consume more lean protein than to fill themselves up with vegetables.
There are a few protocols which you can follow.
- “Intermittent Fasting”
In which I would say, just skip a meal. For most, it’ll be easier to skip breakfast and start your first meal during lunch. Or essentially skip one meal from your daily routine of meals.
- Consume more lean protein & green leafy vegetables – A meal higher in protein and fibre will satiate you longer.
- Remove or minimize skin from meats, gravies, sauces, or marinades.
- Aim to mix whole foods together with your usual cravings. So have a garden salad as one of your sides or brown rice. Mix it together with your steak, grilled chicken thigh or your chicken rice.
- Consume more fruits before eating your sugary snacks.
These are just a few of the many things that you can do to reduce overeating without compromising your lifestyle.
Reduce Your Lifestyle
Another reason why losing weight is hard it because most people accept the fact that “overeating” is the norm. Where daily fried food, buffets and over-palatable foods are the status quo. When in fact it is not.
Bring it down to where it makes more sense. One where you can follow without sacrificing your lifestyle. That is what makes losing weight hard. The nuances in our individual lives.
It is easy for someone whose only job is to work at the gym to gain muscle mass and lose weight. But for others, they’ve to fend off depression, or perhaps someone who just gave birth.
Food is Just Fuel For The Body But Also For The Soul
Food is imbued so deeply into our culture that it could be disrespectful for not to share a meal. Good food also calms the soul and pleases the mind. Be it creamy mac n’ cheese or a succulent deep-fried chicken, everyone should be guilt-free whilst consuming their comfort foods.
We should also not villainize food. Instead, aim to eat most of your meals with whole foods and understand it is totally alright to indulge every now and then.