How can you improve your eating habits for a healthier lifestyle?
Since the pandemic struck us a year ago, most of us have gotten used to a ‘new normal’ lifestyle which confines us to our homes more than we were used to.
Adding on to our Singaporean love for food, the sedentary lifestyle induced by the lockdown has also contributed to weight gain for many of us. According to a study released earlier this year, 30% of Singaporeans saw themselves gaining weight during the pandemic, with an average weight gain of 4.8kg.
For those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthier lifestyle, you can start by eating right. Dr Shanker Pasupathy, StarMed’s Gastrointestinal and Bariatric surgeon, provides some useful insights below.
Control your portions
Our bodies gain weight from an excess calorie intake – consuming more calories than the body burns. If you would like to lose weight, you can start by first reducing the portions on your plate.
Interestingly, most of us fall prey to eating almost all of what is served to us. Therefore, being aware of the portions in front of us can help to prevent overindulging. When eating at home, you can reduce your portions by using smaller plates. Lastly, avoid eating straight out from a food container/package or you may find yourself overeating.
Go for a high-quality food
Not all calories are created equal, and different food can have different effects on your appetite and metabolism.
According to Dr Shanker, a high-quality diet includes a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grain starches, and a variety of proteins from both plant and animal-based sources. Lastly, consume food prepared with oils that contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. This includes seed and vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil.
Apart from helping you lose weight, high-quality food also provides your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to function well.
Cut down on sugar
If you have a sweet tooth, sugar might be your greatest enemy. If not converted into energy when you exercise, excess sugar turns into fat and increases your risk of diabetes. A common mistake we make is underestimating the amount of sugar in the food and drinks we consume.
While fruit juice may seem like the healthy drink, you will be surprised that these juices can contain a higher sugar and calorie content than most soft drinks. If you find yourself craving for sweet drinks or food daily, try training your taste buds to crave for less sugar by reducing your sugar intake gradually.
Choose a diet plan that works for you
With a range of different diet plans out there, and with each claiming to be superior, you may be wondering which you should go for.
The truth is that no one diet works for everyone. And despite knowing its benefits, most individuals find it a challenge sticking with the plan and eventually fall off the diet wagon.
According to Dr Shanker, finding the right diet starts with getting to know your own preferences. When asked to recommend a diet plan, Dr Shanker would first get his patients to make a list of what foods they like or do not like. This is because an enjoyable diet is an easier one to stick to!
Learn more from Dr Shanker in his episode of ‘In Conversation’ below as he answers additional questions you may have in mind. If you find yourself having trouble losing weight, consult Dr Shanker by booking an appointment with us today.