We have always heard that in order to lose weight, our output needs to be bigger than our input. What does that mean exactly? It can be explain in the simple diagram below.
So, in order to lose weight, the amount of calories we burn must be more than the amount of calories we take in. We burn calories in 2 ways. One, through exercise or when we go through different daily activities and the other, when our body burn calories to keep it warm; this is also known as metabolic rate.
For the past few posts, I have been focusing on exercising. Since losing weight requires a change of lifestyle too, this also means a change in diet. Today I will share with you a bit on how many diet has changed in my journey to lose weight.
Limiting the amount of food consumed
Like I have mentioned in the previous posts, one of the changes I made to my diet was to eat less. This meant that I would stop eating once I felt full. I tend to overeat in the past because there were so many yummy food on the table and I just felt like I need to finish them all despite feeling full.
To some of us, this required a lot of determination to refrain from eating. And sadly, we don’t have that. So what can we do? One of the ways I stopped myself from eating so much was to change the portion of my food consciously. And for me, that meant consciously eating less rice. I used to have one full bowl of rice at each meal. Now, I ate half the usual amount. And when I have finished my rice, I stop. I don’t continue eating the dishes unless they are vegetables (loads of indigestible cellulose= less calories and you feel fuller!).This cut down my calories intake by a lot! As a result, my workouts became much more effective.
In Japan, people believe in hara hachi bunme. Which means eating only till you are 80% full. By doing so, the Japanese have a self-imposed habit of calorie restriction. They consume about 1800-1900 calorie per day and during the time when it was popularly practised, the typical BMI of the Japanese averaged about 18-22 compared to 26 in US. Interestingly, biochemist Clive McCay, a professor at Cornell University in the 1930s, reported that significant calorie restriction prolonged life in laboratory animals.
Another way to cut down on the amount of calories consumed is finding substitutes for certain foods. Growing up in a traditional Chinese family meant that for every lunch and dinner, there will be rice. However, rice is starchy and can contain quite a high amount of calories. So for some meals, instead of having rice, I have apples or nuts instead.
Having apples instead of rice is good as they generally contain less calories and because they contain so much fiber, they help you feel full quicker. However, the downside is that apples contains sucrose which is readily digested and absorbed by the body. This means that you will feel hungry after a while.
Nuts, on the other hand, can contain more calories per weight but you only need to eat a small amount to feel full. Similarly, they contain a lot of fiber and can help you feel fuller. Having nuts is better than having rice for meals as it has a low glycemic index. This means that they will release glucose more slowly and steadily. This in turn makes you feel fuller throughout the day and you won’t have the urge to have snacks.
Snacking vs self control
Perhaps one of the hardest thing to change is our snacking habits. Let’s face it. We love to have our chocolates and Starbucks coffee because they taste so good! However, they are also very fattening since they contain a high amount of sugar and therefore, calories!
Of course we can substitute these snacks with healthier choices but this is inferior to not snacking at all. The total amount of calories you need to take in is already available in your meals. You do not need to snack to sustain your daily activities. If you really need to snack, however, you can choose nuts or have green tea instead of having biscuits or coffee.
As with exercising and eating healthily, what we intake for our souls is equally important. We live in a society that focus a lot on the output but without the right input, we can only do so little. If one subsists on a diet of fast food and snack and yet expect to live a healthy long life, they are in for a grave shock (Yes, I’m being punny). Likewise, if a Christian lives their faith with no reference to the Bible, how will they grow in Christ if they do not understand Christ at all. The danger is that this Christian becomes very much just a religious person rather one who has a personal relationship with God (since you can’t know God till you actually read what God says).
It is important for us to have our regular intake of God’s word through scripture reading. Regular intake of God’s word is important for the growth of character. It changes our mind to see things as God sees them and changes our hearts to feel what God feels. This can be done either by listening to sermons or quiet time with the Lord.
David recognized this as he says in Psalms 40:8 “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” From the recognition of God’s law, we are able to gauge God’s will and intention.
How is our diet of God’s word? Are we coming regularly to the Word of God to get our souls nourished? Are still relying on devotional tracts and sermons to decipher what God is speaking to us or have we grown to learn to read and understand the scriptures for ourselves? Although not wrong in itself, I believe strongly that we must be able to wield this weapon that God has given us, so useful for ‘teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16) for as Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-18, we are up against spiritual forces of evil that we can defend ourselves from, by putting on the armour of God and holding up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God (v17).
Even as we watch our physical diet, let’s not forget our spiritual diet. The physical diet nourishes the body and helps the outer man grow. The spiritual diet nourishes the soul and helps the inner man grow.
1Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.