I’ve reached the age where my body’s metabolism has gone down drastically to the point that it’s very easy to gain weight, but very difficult to lose it.
This week, I’m trying to instil a healthy eating regime, once again!
The motivation for this came from a book that I recently read. It’s by Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert), on “How to fail at almost everything.” It’s not a book about healthy eating. Rather, it’s about how he learnt so much from his failures to be where he is in life today. His thoughts on healthy eating were quite practical and made a lot of sense to me.
Yes, it seems strange that I’m taking health advice from a cartoonist, but hey, he’s quite a practical person with lots of good ideas and tips! What could go wrong with this? If it works, I’ll lose weight and become a better person. If it doesn’t, there’s no lost.
One of the things Adams points out is the link between the kinds of food we eat and how it affects our productivity, mood, and concentration. If we eat the right things, we will be in a better mood, and have better focus and productivity in our work.
Simple carbs, like rice, bread and potatoes, are easily broken down in the body. These things will give you a high burst of sugar in your blood: a short burst of energy, but it’ll also make you very sleepy almost immediately after a meal. You may not be able to concentrate on your work, or worse still, it’ll cause you to be cranky. It’s therefore important to be mindful of what we eat (and make a note of the foods that seem to make us cranky or unproductive).
I think there’s a lot of truth to this. For quite some time, I noticed I’ve been experiencing the feelings of confusion, tiredness, and lacked the ability to concentrate very well just after lunch. It takes me some time before my mind and body are able to settle down to focus on the task at hand.
But if we don’t eat rice, bread, or potatoes, what else could we eat instead? Pasta is a good alternative as it takes longer to be broken down: sugar is dispensed slowly into our blood for a much longer period of time. We won’t get so sleepy as a result, and we’ll get a constant supply of energy for the next few hours. The best part is it’ll help us to concentrate better!
But the most important rule is that you must enjoy what you eat, otherwise dieting will be nothing more than an exercise of misery. I’ve tried doing an extreme form of healthy eating once. It was so depressing, I stopped after three days.
One MUST enjoy the food – even if it’s meant to be healthy – otherwise the mental association of torture with healthy foods will stay for good and ruin our dieting plans.
One tip I loved the most was this: allow yourself to eat as much (healthy) food as you want. This will help in the early stages of rewiring your mind to be more inclined towards healthy food.
Whenever you have an unhealthy craving, e.g. for fried chicken, eat something else (that’s healthy) instead until your craving goes away (e.g. eat lots of nuts, cheese, etc.).
Of course, eating too much nuts or cheese at one go may not be healthy, but it is HEALTHIER than stuffing yourself with fried chicken or something that will clog your arteries. (From personal experience, do not attempt to eat an entire bag of nuts: it’ll give you a really painful diarrhea because of the high fibre content.)
I’ve been quite motivated by those simple healthy eating tips and decided to give it a try. I went to the supermarket and stocked up on a lot of healthy items that I enjoy. And to simplify preparation and packing of food to work, I decided to cook and refrigerate an entire bag of pasta.
Here’s what I ate for lunch yesterday:
It’s fusilli pasta with Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes and a hard boiled egg!
Something simple and nutritious.
It was delicious!
Having pasta instead of rice/bread/potato really made a huge difference. I was very VERY productive yesterday and had the kind of concentration and mental focus that I never had for a while.
Today’s lunch was fusilli with soy sauce, Japanese roasted sea weed, silken tofu and cherry tomatoes. It was delicious!
But I don’t have nice photos to show you because I made a huge mess earlier. I was rushing to work today, so I didn’t have the time to do much preparation. I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze out the tofu from the air tight packet. Bad move. In the end, I sprayed tofu all over the table. It was a disaster. I’ll remember to unpack the tofu at home the next time.
Lunch was delicious anyway. And yes, I do feel very good about myself after lunch and I still have the same high levels of focus and mental concentration as yesterday. Pretty amazing!
More photos of more healthy lunches to come!