I’ve learned to STOP after eating a meal. Did that during my trip. And after I came back, I continue the habit. In the morning around 8am, I will take my breakfast, followed by lunch at about 1pm. After I finish my lunch, I tell myself to wait till dinner till my next meal. Sometimes, when I have to work late or if I get hungry, I will take fruits. Only once or twice, I took a sweet or two. On most days, I survive without snacks. Then during dinner, I try to have as light as I can. It takes a bit of discipline but after a while, it becomes a habit.
To ensure I am able to sustain till dinner, I am taking rice again- about one bowl. Even though rice have high GI (100), mixing it with vege and other dishes can convert the Glycemic load of the overall meal from high to medium.
It worked. I did not go to gym last month and had been too tied up with work and studies after I got back last week to properly exercise till last Tuesday and then again today. But I did not put on any weight or a bigger stomach bulge.
If you have read my blog prior to this, you will see that I seldom take rice previously. But unfortunately, I’ve also had the habit of snacking, which I had previously found it extremely hard to break. Even though I’ve selected snacks in lower G.I (such as Gardenia Breakthru bread with omelette), the increased calories that I am taking due to snacks contribute significantly to my daily calories, and hence, makes it harder to lose fat.
I have finally decided to increase my carbohydrate intake due to the following considerations:
- the Food Pyramid states that 55% to 65% of our daily calories intake should come from carbs
- carbohydrate plays a role in fat burning and is a primary fuel for important organs like the brain and heart. If the carbohydrate intake drops to less than 55% – 65% of the daily food intake, it had been shown to compromise our health: not enough fuel for the brain to function
- during exercise, the body suffering from insufficient glycogen (carbs storage in the muscles) will resort to breaking down lean muscles- heck, I spend so much time to exercise in the gym to gain more lean muscle- of course I have no intention of losing them just like that
- Thai people takes rice and other carbs but stay slim because they do not snack. They are also generally not sedentary- move around a lot.
- Cravings are not only caused by high G.I carbs- lack of exercise, stress eating, other more deeply rooted psychological factors. The physiological factor can be regulated through exercise.
- Our body do need high G.I to replenish the energy stores in the muscles after intensive workout.
But increasing on carbs intake does not mean that you can eat any form of carbs- highly processed simple carbs such as junk food, candies and fast food should be eaten sparingly. Take carbs in the form of grains, or food in the lower GI (Tesco sells spaghetti with low G.I and Gardenia Breakthru bread also have relatively lower G.I). Also, always practice portion control. My friends who never go to the gym but maintained their slim figure practices portion control and no snacking between meals. They also normally do some form of exercise, mostly in housework.
Experience of a friend of mine
I have a friend who went to the gym for a few years, exercised, control food intake but do not see much results. She then spent a few thousand ringgit to get a personal trainer to train her but still did not continue to lose the weight she had wanted. I asked her if she takes enough of carbs. She said she does take carbs- a bit of rice during weekends. Only weekends? Normal weekday she tends to follow a low carb diet.
So I told her that if she takes low carb diet, she will feel tired faster because her muscles does not have enough energy to workout, especially if it is rigorous. She would then have to push herself, feel tired, and probably end up hating herself and her body for the inability to perform better. Also, because she does not have enough of carbs, her body may choose to burn more lean muscle, that she had worked so hard to built in order to get enough fuel. Less lean muscle, more hard work to rebuilt back and the metabolic rate will not be able to increase. So the body also will burn less fat at rest. I told her I’ve learned this by my personal experience because if you read the initial stages of my blog, I was actually on a low carb diet. And I had to push myself very hard during exercise, without seeing much results.
My friend admitted that she does feel very tired during her gym workouts and yes, she takes little carbs. I hope she will give my suggestion a try.