Everyone in one way or another is familiar with the concept of dieting. The term has been thrown around, sometimes irresponsibly. I know a lot of people who tried it at some point in their lives, without truly understanding what it means. I’m sure many are guilty of this. Don’t worry. To help you, we consulted with coach Timothy Jeffe U. Ting, head clinical performance nutritionist dietician at TimNutrition Clinic and Consultancy. He recommended the types of diet you can try, as well as cleared some of the biggest misconceptions and malpractices in dieting. One is being impatient. “Trying to lose weight too fast without proper guidance and monitoring will lead to eventual relapse and regain, making it a slower form of weight loss long term.” Instead of doing this, he advised, “Be patient. Take it one day at a time and remember that you didn’t gain the weight overnight so it means you can’t lose it overnight as well.”
He said another misconception people have is that it’s possible for them to lose weight without complementing it with physical activity. “It’s almost unethical to produce weight loss in sleep-deprived, sedentary individuals as you will mostly lose muscle mass instead of the fat tissue you think you’re supposed to take out.” His tip? “Have a healthy balance of both to start a ‘health-seeking activity’ from which better habits can be formed in the long-run.”
He also stressed the unsafe practice of overly restrictive diets—like Crackers and Tuna diet, and Egg and Kamote Diet. “Adhering to a diet plan that’s way too restrictive for an extended period of time has been shown to increase episodes of bingeing because it [relies] on self-control and discipline alone, without structuring habits into the routine.”
Now that we cleared that and know what NOT to do, let’s move on to what we can do. Here are the diets coach Tim encourage you to try:
The 80/20 Diet
This is perfect for those who like to sneak in cheat days, and have sweet-tooth like me. Unlike restrictive diets, the 80/20 is an approach to healthy eating that focuses more on balance and moderation and still allows you to indulge without a guilty feeling. According to coach Tim, “It’s common knowledge that depriving yourself of all treats and sweets simply isn’t sustainable and can also create and exacerbate an unhealthy relationship with food.”
He explains the concept behind it: “In order to be healthy and balanced, you don’t always have to make 100 percent healthy food choices. 80 percent is enough. The remaining 20 percent you can choose less healthy food and indulge yourself. It helps people re-establish a healthy relationship with food.”
The rules of this approach is simple: 80 percent of the time, you have to eat whole unprocessed, foods. And the remaining 20 percent of the time, you can treat yourself to the occasional ice cream, milk tea, or sweets. Sounds doable, yes?
If you’ve been planning on going vegetarian but not quite ready yet, you could try this first. As the name suggests, this is a type of diet centered on vegetables and fish. “Adding seafood to an otherwise vegetarian diet can make it easier to meet your nutrient needs while still maintaining a mainly plant-based diet. Purely vegan diets are hard to do as with anything too much of one thing may be detrimental to your health,” coach Tim explained. “Plant based sources of food are often low in vitamin B12. Simply adding fish which is a good source of lean meat or even the healthy omega 3 and 6 for the fattier varieties will surely be an overall benefit for your health.”
Taking inspiration from waaaay back, a paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. According to coach Tim, “A paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago.” He stressed, “The great thing about it is that It focuses on whole foods and cuts out most processed junk that people eat too much of nowadays.”When trying this approach, take note of the food you have to avoid: Grains, such as wheat, oats and barley, legumes such as beans, lentils, peanuts and peas, dairy products, refined sugar, salt, potatoes, and highly processed foods in general. Hey, if our forefathers can do it right?
But before starting any of these diets, or any type of special diet, coach Tim adds that it’s still important for you to consult a medical professional or your nutritionist or dietician to ensure you’re in good health.
Art by Marian Hukom
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