Sunday 14 July 2013

What is Sustainable Diet?

It's a term that my dear friends coined to call the diet that the husband and wife tandem have been on. They have effectively shed a lot of pounds in just a couple of months. What does it mean? It is a diet that one can sustain; It means a lifestyle change. To read more about it, click here.

It is not rocket science. It is actually like following Bro. Bo's advise that whatever decision you have to make in life there is only one right question to ask: What is the wisest thing to do? Same practice can be applied to food; What is the wisest thing to do? Eat the Lay's chips overloaded with salt and unwanted calories or choose any fruit that will also address the hunger but is loaded with nutrients needed by the body?

Yes it sounds boring. Healthy foods after all are not as tasty compared to the sinful ones. It is difficult for most to follow that simple advise. But the key in my opinion is to have one or better, a few deep reasons why you want to tread the boring path and not to yo-yo.

When I was pregnant I had a reason why I needed to remain as healthy as I could be throughout the duration of the pregnancy. I vowed to turn my body into a safe haven for my son - a healthy cocoon for him to develop and grow - and to deliver him normally into this world. I stuck to my plan; I religiously stayed within my ideal weight, tried all the time to be wise in my food choices, and went for daily walks even when my belly was at its biggest and heaviest. I did not falter because I was always thinking about the well-being of my baby. Caving in was never an option.

It was a success. My baby reached his required milestones week after week. Apart from the weight and pregnancy acquired GERD, I had no other physical concerns. Though my son came early (3 weeks before his due date), I was blessed with a quick, noneventful labor that led to a normal delivery. My son is perfectly normal and healthy.

I was breastfeeding for 6 months so I maintained the healthy lifestyle. But even after stopping I have managed to stay on track. How? Just looking at my husband and son fuels my desire to stay healthy. I want to take care of them, not the other way around. I want to grow old with them healthy enough that I can still run after them with a stick whenever they break any of my rules.

Of course there are hiccups here and there. Like my favorite Sprinkles cupcake or a Magnolia Bakery banana pudding on a weekend. I don't want to deprive myself after all. But I know when too much is too much.

Oh I have not reached my pre-pregnancy weight yet. My tummy is not as flat as it used to be. Especially now that it's lined with stretch marks may mean I will never have the guts to wear bikini again. But it's okay. I don't want to be hard on myself. I take joy in little victories - I can now fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. I truly feel healthy.

Here are tips that work for me that might work for you:

1. Small meals a day: At work people always comment that they always see me eating. I have never been a big meal eater. I think it's either my stomach is small or I get bored with food easily. So I get hungry every 3 hours so I snack frequently. I just make sure I choose healthy options for snacks like fruits, salad or vegetables.

2. Work around your weaknesses: Thankfully I am no longer gaga over chocolates... not because of Candy Crush. Since I moved to Kuwait where chocolates are cheap and in abundance, I am no longer a big fan. My weakness is actually bread. I can live without rice for a week but without bread? That will depress me. Looking at the soft, cheesy, white bread/pastry at the supermarket makes my knees go weak. I just do my best to restrain myself and get the brown version instead.

3. You don't need to count the calories: Calorie counting never works for me. I tried many times to record my calorie intake but somehow knowing the exact calorie count of a food rubs me of the joy of eating it. What works for me is choosing the least (if available) calorie option of the food I am going to eat. Choose the non-fat, no-sugar, wheat/brown version.

4. Be mobile: If exercising is a tall order, be mobile when possible. I work in front of a computer for 8 hours a day but I make sure to stand up, stretch my short legs at least once an hour. I go for frequent water breaks. I avoid using the phone, go straight to the person I want to talk to instead. Or if I have to use or pick up the phone, I stand up (thank God I am short so I don't stand out). I go for walks with my friends at a nearby mall during our break. And whenever I go to the toilet I do some stretching exercises.

Like my friend said in her blog; have a system that can work with your lifestyle and really sustain. And don't mind the picture below; Be mean to greens :p