More than a month has passed since the holidays but, let’s face it, many of us are still carrying the aftermath in our bilbil. It’s all that lechon and leche flan! Here are a few tips on how to leave the extra weight behind from Nadine Tengco, adine Tengco, a United States-trained celebrity nutritionist (her clients include Anne Curtis, Iza Calzado, Solenne Heusaff, among others) and guest editor at Preview.ph.
1. Skipping meals is a big no-no. Leaving out breakfast or dinner may seem like a quick solution to losing weight, but you risk doing a lot of harm to your body. Skipping meals deprives your body of the nutrients it needs, increases your risk for diseases, and tempts you to eat more junk food (we didn't say it-- science did). Not only that, research has found that it can even do the opposite and cause more abdominal weight gain (read: belly fat!) So what do you do? Tengco's advice is not to resist hunger, but be smart about it. “Your job is not to resist biology but to reprogram your brain and reboot your body.”
2. Choose your ulam wisely. We know that some ulam are better choices than others -- steamed fish over fried pork chop, for example -- but that doesn't mean you have to rule out meat. In fact, Tengco recommends nilagang karne, pochero, and shabu-shabu as great options.
“Protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which can kill your sugar cravings, can also reduce your appetite and help you feel full. Food with high water content has a great effect on satiety as well,” Tengco said. Go for fiber-rich vegetables if you're trying to cut back on rice.
3. Make sure you get enough sleep. A single night of poor quality sleep can raise your cortisol. Elevated cortisol triggers appetite and cravings, raise blood sugar levels, and promotes storage of fat in and around your belly!” says Tengco. So how much sleep do you need? Two years of research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation answers that question. For young adults (18 to 25 years old), 6 to 11 hours is all right, but 7 to 9 hours of sleep is optimum as well as for adults 26 to 64 years old.
4. Pick your dinnerware. We totally agree with Tengco on this one. It is the easiest and most effective trick if you're trying to control your weight. The less food your plate can hold, the less food you’ll eat. “Big dishes and tall cups trick you into thinking that ‘availability’ dictates how much you should eat, instead of your natural hunger and satiety cues,” says Tengco. “Using smaller dishes gives you the visual and psychological cues that you're full, which in turn affects your biological satiety cues.”
Also, if you can, pick a plate that’s blue. Out of the colors, blue suppresses the appetite -- it is the color our brains associate with bad or poisonous food! Yellow and red, on the other hand -- the favorite color of fast food chains! -- stimulate it.
5. Try a gentle system detox diet. Don’t be intimidated by the word “detox”! It only means to get rid of the “bad stuff” in your body and keep them out. Certain foods like sugar, gluten, dairy and artificial food additives cause water retention and fat storage, says Tengco. Avoiding these may make you lose up to five pounds in a week, she adds.
“Most of [the] weight loss will be water, stored glycogen and waste products,” says nutritionist Kerry Torrens in an article for the BBC. However, this isn’t for the faint-hearted. Welcoming these foods into your diet again will bring back the weight. So what’s to do? According to Torrents, the best course of action is still what we’ve heard many times before: choose homemade meals made from fish, lean meat, fruits, veggies and whole-grain; drink lots of water; avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar; and cut back on processed foods.