There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who eat anything and don’t gain a pound, and the ones who get fat just by breathing. We are the latter.
Similarly, there are two camps when it comes to staying healthy – those who would rather do more physical activity (Team More) and those who prefer to eat less unhealthy food (Team Less). You can take this short quiz to find out which team you belong to.
If, like us, you do not fancy hardcore exercises but still need to watch your weight or you just want to stay healthy but have no time to work out, then welcome to Team Less! We’d like to think of ourselves as the kind who practice moderation and are more conscious of our daily food intake. Our mantra? You are what you eat.
Today, we explore some ways to manage a healthier lifestyle as part of Team Less; in essence, How To Still Eat And Stay Healthy If You Don’t Have Time To Exercise.
KNOW YOUR CALORIES
So how do we begin? First, you have to establish your recommended daily calorie intake. Age, gender, physical activity level and body size have an impact on the amount of calories your body needs to keep going. On average, a male adult requires about 2,200 Calories a day, while a female adult needs about 1,800. From there on, monitor what you eat and try your best to stay on track.
We are not saying you have to be strict to a T; you can let loose once in a while and have a cheat day or two in the week. But the idea is to stick to your daily calorie limit to avoid weight gain, which may lead to health problems.
You can download the Healthy 365 app, which comes with a database of food and nutritional information to help you track your meals.
CHOOSE YOUR CALORIES WISELY
Technically, managing your weight sounds easy: just don’t eat more than your daily calorie limit. In practice, it involves both keeping within your calorie limit and choosing healthier, more nutritious food options.
Many things in life happen because of the choices we make, and a wise decision can do you wonders.
Now, this is an extremely simple theory. If there are fried chicken and grilled chicken on the menu, you know which you should pick, right? Grilled and steamed fish over deep-fried pork cutlets and chicken wings, any time. Wholegrain bread is much better than white bread.
Drink water instead of grabbing a can of soda, and do not add sugar to your coffee and tea. Go for freshly prepared meats. Yes to more fruits and vegetables. A salad that has the dressing served separately also means you can control the amount of added fat and sugar that goes over your leaves.
HEALTHIER MEALS CAN BE AFFORDABLE AND TASTY TOO
So there is a common notion that healthy food = expensive. But this is a myth we want to bust today. Healthy food can be affordable AND tasty! If you are a typical Singaporean who love your hawker food, here is a list of healthier food options under S$5.
If you prefer home-cooked meals, try these wholesome, mouth-watering recipes using ingredients with the Healthier Choice Symbol.
TAKE YOUR BREAKFAST SERIOUSLY
Many underestimate the importance of breakfast, but this should always be the first meal of our day, and it has to be taken seriously. In fact, skipping breakfast will cause all weight loss plans to backfire because your body will condition your mind into eating a lot more than you should for the rest of the day.
Make eating breakfast a habit. It aids in weight control and improves your overall performance and energy level for the day.
Focus on how breakfast is to provide the body with energy after fasting for a night. Therefore, we should provide better nutritional quality energy for a good start to the day.
Studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. Eating breakfast could also lower the chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight.
NO SUPPER, HONEY
This may sound like just another harmless meal of the day, but it is extremely detrimental.
We won’t kid you, it is not going to be easy. Only sheer determination will guide you through. But trust us, this is one habit that you will be thankful to rid when you step on the weighing scale again after a fortnight. And increasingly so.
Remember: no supper means no supper. You have to be firm about this. But if you must have something just before bedtime, choose light and healthier alternatives such as banana and milk that could help you sleep better.
LOWER CALORIE SNACKS
If you are the kind who must munch on something between lunch and dinner, or your tummy won’t stop growling at ungodly hours, then make do with lower calorie snacks. Eat an apple or a cup of berries to keep you full; the sugar in the fruit will also curb your cravings for tea-time sweets. Other examples of lower calorie food include broccoli, plum, bananas, strawberries and pistachios.
Do they sound boring to you? Ok, here are some alternatives. Spice your snacks up. For example, you can add a dash of cinnamon or tea dust to a cup of greek yoghurt. Dip celery sticks into a cup. Make a smoothie out of fresh fruits. Bake some apples with cinnamon. Roll up some turkey slices and dip them into (a little) honey mustard.
There are many ways to snack. Be wise about your choices and consciously pick the healthier ones.
THE LESSER SUGAR, THE BETTER
Remember what we said about “you are what you eat”? We would eat a Victoria’s Secret model if we could (Candice Swanepoel or Alessandra Ambrosio, please), but the sad truth suggests we should just stay away from sweets because sugar is every model’s top enemy. They are empty calories, and they do nothing but settle on your tummy, thighs and hips.
We love our eclairs, cookies and cupcakes. Not everyone has the kind of resistance to say ‘no’ to desserts like Adriana Lima does, especially when the world makes such great desserts.
We would say go ahead and still eat them, but very selectively and minimally. Keep some days of the week sweets-free. Avoid canned drinks as much as possible too. An ice-cold soda on a hot summer day by the beach sounds marvellous, but that should only be an occasional treat.
Always remember that sugar-everything may not mean your food would taste the best. In fact, sugar masks flavours. We have come to a realization that many things (food and drinks alike) actually taste a lot better when their natural flavours are not overpowered by sugar.
A LITTLE EXERCISE EVERY DAY GOES A LONG WAY
Now, here comes the exercising part (we still have to work out, sorry to burst your bubbles). We are not sure about you but for us, exercising is more often than not a chore. Of course, we feel good after, but to even get us started is the challenge.
But just remember that even a little exercise is more beneficial than we know. It can be as simple as choosing to climb that flight of stairs instead of taking the lift, or walking instead of taking the bus just for one stop.
We can’t be #fitspos overnight, but we can start with baby steps. Plank for one minute every day, take a jog once a week, or go for fitness classes at the gym. It isn’t easy, but it is something.
After your stamina has been built up, you can increase your frequency and duration per session. It may sound cliché but it really gets easier. To get you started, you can sign up for FREE exercise classes here.
Take the Team More Team Less Quiz at healthhub.sg/teammoreteamless
This post is brought to you by Health Promotion Board.