Is obesity causing you knee pain? If it is, you may want to look into losing weight to protect your knees against increasing risk of osteoarthritis and inflammation related to weight gain in other joints like the hands.
As I’m 1.67 m and weighs 45 kg, my body mass index (BMI) is 16 which shows that I’m underweight. It’s not something I’m proud of, because I’m at a higher risk of osteoporosis and buying clothes can be a pain.
My weight has always been constant, except for the time when I was 15 that I gained 5 kg after returning from Korea-Japan vacation. In fact, I was happy because I struggled to gain weight even till this day. I can still wear the same pair of jeans that I wore 18 years ago. So maybe….
I think I could be doing something right, so perhaps sharing my habits could help if you are looking to lose weight. Just to set the record straight, I practised all except #5.
Note: Start gradually to ensure a safe weight loss; Always listen to your body and adjust accordingly. You don’t want to suddenly bash your body into submission. For example, if you are currently having 6 meals a day, you can start with 5 meals first and then slowly reduce your intake to only 3 meals.
1. Have Regular Proper Meals
Are you in a habit to take breakfast, lunch and dinner? If you don’t, it’s time to make it a habit. I’m not one to skip and I do not snack too (see point two). Which brings to the next question while we are on this.
What to eat then?
Low GI, Fibre Rich Foods
I eat low GI foods consistently for breakfast every day and 4-5 days in a week for dinner. Low GI foods provide a consistent supply of sustained energy, to keep you fuller for longer period of time. In the morning, I have my two slices of multi-grain / wholemeal grain bread – spread with a thin layer of jam – with a glass of hot beverage. Sometimes, I have my usual bread but I eat it with a mix of olive oil and vinegar.
Consuming low GI foods means you don’t need to snack until the next meal.
As for dinner, our family takes brown rice almost every day. It wasn’t like this in the past. We gradually switched from having white rice to brown rice. Simply mix a bit of brown rice into white rice, and increase the amount week after week. Before you know it, your whole pot of rice turns “brown”. 🙂
We also take less oil, salt and sugar in cooking. For instance, I don’t drink coffee at all (not even Starbucks) – I only drink tea (no sugar).
When I’m out having lunch, I’ll go for the healthier choices like Yong Tau Foo (a local Chinese food favourite comprising vegetables, tofu stuffed with fish/pork paste, mushroom, dumpling or anything the stall offers) and Sliced Fish Soup. If there’s no such food in your country, you can pack home-cooked food for lunch which you can control the amount of oil/salt/sugar used. For instance, one of my friends packed daily nutritious salad (steamed chicken breast meat, vegetables, peas, beancurd, etc) to work for lunch.
Reduce Unhealthy Foods
I hardly take fast foods, like McDonald’s and Burger King, or fried foods. I can’t remember the last time I visited those fast food joints and my last soda drink was in April at my brother’s wedding.
Maybe that sounds too harsh but to lose weight, you have to bear some sacrifices in the beginning. Soon you will weed yourself off from your dependency on them. You can, still however, take them once in a blue moon, when you want to reward yourself for being able to keep your weight in the healthy BMI range, or because of a special / unavoidable occasion.
At other times, I would think it’s best to reduce the intake as much as possible.
2. Try to Avoid Snacking In Between Meals
Keep your meal times strictly to 3 times a day only and if you really do have cravings, snack on healthier foods like freeze dried fruits, to keep the hunger at bay. Our bodies are very versatile and they will adapt gradually to the routine we set for it. It may be challenging in the beginning because there will be a lot of inertia to change. However when you can train your mind to get used to the new regime, your healthier body will thank you for it.
3. Lower Your Calories Intake
Calories are an essential part in understanding weight management. If your calories intake (your want) is more than your need based on your age, type of lifestyle and gender, then you will gain weight.
If your calories intake is lesser than what your body requires, you will lose weight. And if you continue on the same path, you will become underweight like yours truly, unless you maintain the same consumption as your body’s requirement.
4. Increase Your Fibre Intake
The recommended fibre intake is 25-30 grams per day. You may have noticed now that by taking sufficient amount of fibre (like multi-grains / wholemeal) is also a good way to keep you full, so you don’t snack in between proper meals.
One good source of fibre is green apple. Even if you don’t feel like biting into a whole fruit, blending it and getting its juice also gives a good amount of fibre. Red apple doesn’t give as much fibre as the green one does (tried-and-tested).
Another fruit I fawn over is avocado. I mashed its flesh with yogurt, honey and/or milk (I take full-cream but you can opt for the slim milk). Survey results published in Nutrition Journal showed that avocado eaters have lower BMI and slimmer waistline.
5. Boost Your Metabolism
I have a natural high metabolism that burns off food quickly and I do Pilates once a week. Yet for those who wants to lose weight, I would suggest you speed up your metabolism with regular cardio exercises 3-4 times a week. According to Health Promotion Board (HPB) in Singapore, they recommend 150 minutes of physical activity per week. You can be doing moderate to vigorous intensity exercise like aerobics or running.
“Doing some (exercises) is better than none, and more is better than some”
4 out of 5 ways above relate to food, which shows immensely that your diet plays a large part in the scheme of things. More importantly, cultivating good habits and discipline that will eventually become how you are living your life and treating your body. It will pay off in the long run.
Let me know if these advice have helped you on Twitter!
— Sharon Lee (@sharonleesg) June 29, 2015