By Chinwe Obinwanne
Food is not the enemy. Lack of discipline with eating is the real enemy.
How often have you worried about the excess weight? How often have you looked down at your belly and sighed at the mound of extra flesh there that won’t allow you to rock crop tops?
Then again, how often have you yielded to the temptation of eating Iya Dundun’s puff puff fresh out of the frying pan and steaming hot? How often have you downloaded a mountain of rice or eba and still stepped it down with a bottle of orobo coke?
What about those times you had eaten three square meals plus extra meat-pies, fried potatoes and other orishirishi? If you can sincerely account for your diet, then it should be clear to you what is impeding your weight loss or fit physique.
I’m not an advocate for going on fad diets. Why? Because most of the time, when you quit, the weight comes piling right back. I always advise that everyone regardless of your goals should eat a balanced diet. But how can you eat and still be fit? The answer is portion control. The ticket to that answer is self-discipline.
Portion control: This is simply limiting what you eat. Being aware of how much food you are actually eating.
You can’t take a horse to the stream and force it to drink; neither can you force self-discipline on anyone who doesn’t make a conscious effort to abide by it.
That said, here are some easy tips to help you succeed at applying portion control to your diet.
Use portion control plates:
Pick out smaller plates, bowls and cups in your kitchen. Use these to measure out the food and drinks you consume. Don’t be tempted to cheat on this by eating double of what the plate holds. You’ll only be decapitating your efforts.
Dish out your food separately:
In Nigeria, most wives eat together with their husbands. This is not to spoil your bonding moment, but if your goal is to lose weight by watching what you eat, then it is advisable that you dish your food separately. This helps you avoid the temptation of overeating.
Measure oil carefully:
This is very important because oil, (even the healthful types) have so many calories. Be mindful of the quantity you use when frying your eggs (actually just drizzle), cooking stew (measure with cooking spoon) and any other dish that requires oil.
Control portions even when eating out:
Yes, it’s doable. When you order a meal at an outing, eat half or share with a friend. If you’re having a salad, ask for dressing on the side. This helps you monitor the quantity you use. A trick is to dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad. You still get the taste of the dressing but not the calories.
Eat a small plate of tasty vegetable sauce before having your main meal, or add vegetables to your meals. There are so many vegetables to play with and so many recipes to try out. Don’t be scared to unleash your inner chef. Make vegetable meals that you can enjoy. Search Instagram for good Nigerian chefs that post recipes on their pages and try out.
Listen to your hunger signals:
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Even if only a morsel of food is left on your plate when you feel full, leave it. Don’t be tempted to eat it up. Experts say that you should try to gauge when you are 80% full and stop eating.
There you have it. Practice these tips. You may not get it all at a go, but don’t worry. Conscious consistency will help you get there. Ensure that you also exercise at least 3-4 times weekly, drink lots of water and take progress pictures to monitor your progress.
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