"that four-lettered word"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No, wait. That wasn't what I was talking about.
I was referring to the word D-I-E-T.

What does DIET really mean?
A lot of girls (teenagers especially, I was once one of them) are under the impression that diet means eating less. That diet is solely for losing weight. Trust me when I say these are all WRONG perceptions. I guess I can't blame anyone but the media for twisting the perception of dieting.

Being on a diet doesn't mean eating less. Diet means a way of eating. Your diet is mostly based on your lifestyle.

For example, let's compare the diet between teachers in a school - your maths teacher VS the sports coach. Your maths teacher would probably live on a minimal diet of three basic meals per day, with equal amounts of meat, carbs and veggies. For the coach however, he would require food that produces more fuel, which means more carbs and protein. He will also need to follow a diet of 5-6 meals per day instead of the regular 3. If both teachers eat well and balanced meals, none of these diets would cause either one to be too skinny or overweight.

Which comes to my point that dieting isn't about getting skinny. It's about eating healthy to maintain a healthy weight and to support your lifestyle.

It doesn't help that the media has also twisted facts about dieting. Supermodels who are stick-thin are always portrayed to be eating nothing but salads and tofu. FALSE! Logically speaking, being a model requires a lot of energy because they work long hours, they need to practice their walks before each show and they need to prep for long hours behind the scenes. Do you really think that models who eat only salads and tofu are going to last even half a night? No way. A model's diet consist of plenty of fiber and protein, which helps keep their energy up. So yes, don't be fooled by the media, even models consume fast food and fried chicken - but all in moderation.

What is the perfect diet?
I believe one must have everything - protein, carbs, fiber, veggies, even fats in their daily diet. The problem with unhealthy people is that they only pick the ones that they like, or ones with the lowest calories to consume. You wanna lose weight - then take everything, even the fats & carbs. If you don't, you'll still lose weight but you'll contract even more illnesses & health issues from lack of proper nutrients. Without carbs, you wouldn't be able to even exercise towards your full potential in the gym.

Why should I eat everything stated?
Simplest answer to that is that YOUR body needs all of it to function properly. Think of your body as a machine, and food works to fuel it. Veggies, fruit, water and fiber works to cleanse your system, to make sure the toxins are flushed out. Protein, vitamins and calcium helps maintain your bones and muscles, and to mend broken tissues. Carbs and fats are needed too because they are like petrol to a car, they fuel your body with energy. So, just like how your car works, you only fill up enough to keep you going without over-eating because that would lead to weight gain.

How do I keep my diet in control?
Everyone knows how easy it is to overeat. The best way to keep control is to eat at least 4-6 small meals a day. The trick here is to never let your stomach feel hungry. Why? Because when you're hungry, your stomach is in survival mode and it'll tell you to eat more than you need to because it's trying to save up the extra food to survive starvation. And because you're not really starving out on an island somewhere, that stored food will eventually become fat that's stuck instead of being converted into energy. So, have a small and nutritious (but not too filling) breakfast, a tiny snack about 2 hours after, have a regular-portioned lunch, snack again about 2-3 hours after that, end the day with a small-portioned dinner. If you're out and moving about more, then eat 5-6 small meals.

What if I have no time to eat?
Always carry a small snack of whole-grain biscuits or a granola bar as they keep you feeling full longer. You can also trick your stomach into thinking it's full by drinking lots of water after each main meal. Of course, this shouldn't be used as a long term diet-plan, only for the times when you're seriously too busy to have consistent meals.

By snacks you mean sugar & junk food?
NO, definitely not. By snacks I mean whole-grain biscuits or just plain biscuits (no creme filling), a granola bar, lightly salted & toasted rice crackers, and so on. Never go for salty potato crisps (basically all types of junk food) as you will tend to eat more and they contain so many things that are excessively bad for your body. Sugary things are just as bad if not worse because it's mostly sugar that is high in unhealthy fats and empty calories. The best snacks are always things that contain mainly nuts & grains.

What about fast food?
Fast food chains are positioning themselves as 'healthy' & fast snack meals - which is both true and untrue at the same time. True, because each set meal contains all the different types of nutrients your body needs (fat, carbs, fiber, vitamins, etc). HOWEVER, what most people don't know is that despite it being dubbed a 'nutritional' meal, it contains the harder-to-digest nutritions and very minimal fiber nutrition. Let's take a burger meal for example. The bread is made of white bread which contains simple carbs that only gives you a quick burst of energy, that will follow up with hunger an hour later. The burger's meat patty is actually processed meat which is full of chemicals & frying oil that makes up a load of unhealthy fats. The mayonnaise & chilli sauce - extra calories you don't need. Melted cheddar cheese, yet again processed dairy with minimal calcium contents. All of that with a piece of lettuce leaf and 2 thin slices of tomato. What you're ingesting is basically 95% carbs & fat, 4% fiber and 1% vitamins. Don't forget the salted french fries on the side and your sugary cup of Coke. So the grand total for everything ingested in your 'nutritious' meal would be 98% sugar, carbs & fat, 1.5% fiber and only 0.5% vitamins. And you wonder why fast-food eating people are over-weight. Learn about the types of food you should avoid at all costs.

Don't these look way more deliciously attractive than an oily burger?

So, what should the right ratio of nutrition be?
I think everyone knows the answer to this. Of course you'll need a higher ratio of fiber & vitamins in your diet. The right diet depends on your weight, needs and lifestyle. For me, I always aim to take in at least 30% fruits & veggies, 20% protein (lean meat like chicken breasts, eggs or fish), 20% grains & fiber, 10% carbs & fats, and 20% water. However you plan your diet, always keep carbs & fats to the most minimum ratio, but you MUST include them into your diet. There are both good carbs & fats as well as bad carbs & fats. Always try to only eat the good ones.

How long should I keep to my diet?
As I've elaborated earlier, a diet's a lifestyle. If you're only 'dieting' to lose weight, then chances are the weight will come back to you eventually. Incorporate your diet as part of your life and you will see & feel the changes to a better life & body - and keep it that way forever.


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