By Justinne Lou Go, RND
IT IS a popular fact that weight loss or fitness is the top goal for most people when setting their goals for the year. Unfortunately, it is also the most unsustained and unachieved goal for many. Everyone knows the best way to do this is really through lifestyle changes, which include both exercise and diet. To reiterate the famous healthy weight formula, “It’s 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise.” Unfortunately, the bigger portion of the formula is where people have the most difficulty with.
The first step to failing in this goal is to say you’re “going on a diet.” That is why I would really avoid using that phrase and would recommend saying “eating healthy” instead. The idea of eating healthy has become quite complicated and confusing with all the mish mash information we get from the internet. It can be hard for many to distinguish which sources are really reliable. This is why it would be best to consult with a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian when you are deciding to make changes in your diet or are looking for the right way to have a healthy lifestyle.
My previous article here on Weekend entitled “Back to Basics” banks on the principle of knowing the basics and making them the foundation of your healthy lifestyle practices. If you might have fallen a bit off track during this festive Sinulog weekend, here’s a cheat sheet to jump right back in and stay on track more easily with your health goals for the year. There is actually a simple general concept for healthy eating that all of us can keep in mind without having to go crazy over numbers (calorie counting). This can easily be remembered through the mnemonics “MOVABA” – MOderation, VAriety, Balance, Adequacy.
Moderation. “Everything in moderation.” Yes, this is true. Another easy concept to keep in mind is the 70-30 rule — eat clean/healthy 70% and indulge in your treats 30% throughout the day. An example would be, if you’ve already had one serving of sugar (in the form of juice, a slice of cake, a few small cookies, etc.) then avoid sugar and choose healthier options the rest of the day.
Variety. This is one of the most overlooked principles because people tend to repeat their meals throughout the day for fear of leftovers or there are also people who like to repeatedly eat a particular food they fancy. Remember, variety is important for us to get the most out of the diversity of nutrients in different kinds of food, especially in fruits and vegetables; the more colorful, the better. So, aim to eat at least five different colors of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, and as much as possible, vary your starchy carb and protein choices as well. It would be best to eat more plant-based protein (beans, legumes, nuts and seeds) than animal protein for less toxic by-products in our bodies.
Balance. Balance is key. This was the principle I was keen on practicing especially during my food blogging days because my work involved tasting copious amounts of food. So, whenever I had a buffet meal in one day, I would balance it out with a much lighter, healthier meal the rest of the days or week. It’s all about awareness of how much and what you’ve eaten. So, be mindful!
Adequacy. Just like variety, this is also one of the most overlooked principles especially when people are too into the calorie counting. Calorie deficit in your diet is definitely the way to lose weight but it shouldn’t be the only strategy. We must remember to eat enough of the food groups that we need to make sure we get enough of the nutrients we need for the day. A Nutritionist-Dietitian can definitely help you better with this because we all have different nutritional needs.
Keep the MOVABA principles in mind and you will surely have a healthier relationship with food. I personally don’t believe in counting calories every single meal of the day when I eat because it’s just stressful and often takes away the joy of enjoying your food for what it is. So, don’t stress, but instead learn to develop a healthy relationship with food and just be generally aware of how your body responds to everything you eat.