Eating is my favorite pastime. It’s a bad habit because if I’m not careful, it could be bad for my health (and my wallet). Everyone always asks me:
For how much you love food, how do you stay tiny?
Honesty, I think has a lot to do with age. My metabolism is great right now but I doubt I can keep this up after I turn 30–we’ll see. I don’t do so well in the cold season but in the summer, I think my metabolism is faster because I’m more active (going for walks, swimming, sweating, etc.).
Another factor though, is how well I listen to my body and mindful of the food I eat. My dad is a really big influence in my diet because he’s always been a believer of natural medicine and the idea of “it starts with what you eat.” He taught me to listen to my body’s reaction to what I eat and then respond by doing better.
When I eat too much fatty foods (high cholesterols) like lechon or other delicious sinful filipino foods, I notice that I feel more sluggish afterwards. I get headaches, palpitations and shortness of breath, even while at rest. I then try to drink more hot green tea (vs coffee) and do a morning routine of apple cider+honey+warm water mixture (it helps a lot with my heartburn issues). Then, I follow it up with eating salads or other healthier options for the next few days. I feel better after that.
I am not a big healthy freak but I do try to balance the good and bad. I love food too much to have a restriction. To me, “living” is: Eating to my heart’s content. I want to know that I got to try whatever food I wanted and enjoyed them while I was able to.
I balance my diet based on knowing what I can and can’t give up. When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m not so hungry, I snack. I try to think of what my body can “afford” in terms of gain.
Make a deal with your body. Know that if you’re consuming more than you can naturally get rid of, you have to balance it out with a workout. It helps me be mindful of what I eat because I know my consequences. I hate going to the gym so I try to be better with what I eat.
I noticed that whenever I restrict myself, I tend to over eat which defeats the purpose. Now, I just focus on moderation and knowing that “too much of something is never good.” So far this is the most effective diet for me. It’s less restrictive of what I can or cannot eat but just trying to be smart about it. I like how stress-free that is.
Here’s how you can start your stress-free diet by listening to your body:
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1. Assess your food/fitness strength and weaknesses.
- I know for a fact that I can never give up rice
- Tacos are life
- Chocolate fudge/Chocolate peanut butter ice cream is my weakness
- I hate going to the gym because I don’t know what I’m doing
- I can’t give up flavored creamer in my coffee (Pumpkin spice is back. OMG!)
- Donuts are always a “YES”
- Filipino food will always and only be consumed in feast-level portions
- Soy sauce is the magical potion that makes every meal delicious– can’t give it up, sorry Paleo.
- I love vegetables
- I crave salad when I’m drunk
- I hate creamy salad dressings
- I prefer water over sugary drinks
- Hate junk food and how salty they are (thanks to my Dad for curbing that craving/habit early on–he wouldn’t allow it in the house)
- Hate sodas or carbonated drinks other than champagne
- I love
- I love squats, I can do that for an entire workout
- Planks are great (my
go toworkout for when I gotta pay for all the pancitbut I only have 1 min to spare)
- healthy snacks are my favorite because I don’t feel as guilty after eating the entire bag vs. a whole pack of birthday cake Oreos..
2. Moderate your portions
Eat a healthy breakfast, you can eat a less healthy lunch but make sure to go super light for dinner (I usually do a snack of yogurt+honey+granola).
If you eat a big breakfast like I do (garlic+salt rice, 2 pork roll, 2 bacon, 2 sunny side up eggs–YUM!), try to snack for lunch and eat a normal portioned dinner.
If you skip breakfast, you can eat a big lunch before 2pm and then still be able to have a big dinner before 9pm (assuming you sleep at 11pm).
As long as you’re mindful of your portions and balancing your unhealthy/healthy meals, then you should be fine. Just remember that you don’t want to eat a heavy meal right before you sleep because your digestion slows down when your body is at rest. Give it at least 2 hours between eating your dinner and going to bed. If you have less time than that, yogurt+granola is always a good option. It helps with digestion and it’s filling.
3. Listen to your body. Take notes.
Take note on how your body is reacting to certain foods. Rice makes me really full but gives me a sugar rush. Red meats give me indigestion. Bananas help me feel awake and sharp. Salmon makes me feel full and strong. Vegetables make me feel clean and clear-headed. Make a food journal of what you eat and then note how it made you feel.
Note: I am not a nutritionist/health professional. I’m only sharing with you my health habits as inspiration. Consult your doctor for any questions. I see mine regularly.
Food is life! Be grateful and enjoy it.
I used to volunteer for community service when I was in high school, in the Philippines. One thing that changed everything for me, was when we went to visit a nursery of malnourished kids in the slum. They were skin and bones. I’ve seen many photos of malnourished kids before but meeting them was a totally different story. Knowing them, interacting with them, seeing how happy they were to be cared for and be fed–oh my heart! It made me realize that I was being ungrateful to the life I had. I promised never to disrespect food offered to me, ever again. Nor do I ever want to voluntarily deprive myself of food.
I think it’s important to consider the foods that make you happy. Once in a while, at least. It pains me to see people restricting themselves too much on their diets. I’ve seen it lead to so much unhappiness and bitterness. It can even be subconsciously expressed as judgement and hate, towards others like me, who love to enjoy food. I’d say give yourself a break and TREAT YO’ SELF!