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Phuket health: You are what you eat

PHUKET: Losing weight is one thing, maintaining your body weight is another.

By Patrick du Preez

Wednesday 25 September 2013, 01:43PM

Are you eating the right foods? Credit: Evan Amos

Are you eating the right foods? Credit: Evan Amos

If you have put in the time, sweat and effort to lose those extra kilos, focus on maintaining your weight. After weight loss, the goal is to maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy eating habits combined with proper exercise will ensure that you maintain your weight and stay in shape.

Resist the temptation to overindulge

Many of us are familiar with overindulging, whether it is for a special occasion or because we simply enjoy food. Here are some simple steps to avoid overeating:

  • Eat slowly: Eating quickly makes overeating more likely as it takes 15-20 minutes for your body to register that you full.

  • Think smaller portions.

  • Eat the healthy foods that you enjoy.

  • Choose nutrient dense foods: starting your meal with a low calorie soup or salad has shown to reduce intake at the next meal by 20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, as these foods fill up the stomach and keep you feeling fuller longer.

  • By drinking two glasses of water (500ml) before your meal, this will fill your stomach and reduce the amount of food you eat and can reduce the kilojoules intake by as much as 13 per cent irrespective of your age, weight or gender.

Be alcohol smart

It is so easy to have a few drinks on a daily basis or a few glasses of grape juice. This eventually becomes habit-forming and can lead to alcoholism. Enjoy a drink but do so in moderation.

Swap regular beverages for lower alcoholic or carbohydrate varieties. Drinking water in-between drinks also keeps you hydrated and helps reduce intoxication.

Maintain healthy eating habits

Much has been written on the subject and quite rightly so. Start off by making small changes to your eating habits that will eventually change your eating habits.

Starving yourself will not help you with your weight maintenance or weight loss programme, and can lead to you overindulging in your next meal.

  • Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of colour, variety and freshness.

  • Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time.

  • Every change you make to improve your diet matters.

It's not just what you eat it's how you eat it

Healthy eating is about more than the food on your plate, it is also about how you think about food.

  • Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits – particularly for children – and allows you to model healthy eating habits.

  • Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavours and feel the textures of our food.

  • Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.

  • Avoid eating late at night. Try to eat dinner earlier in the day. Studies suggest that this simple dietary adjustment – eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day – may help regulate weight. The longer lapse between meals allows the body to process the food more efficiently.

  • Question your hunger. Are you really hungry or do you just feel like eating a snack? Instead drink a glass of water, eat some fruit or make a fresh juice shake.

Regular exercise

Do 30 minutes of cardio a day – this may include swimming, biking, jogging, or even walking – and if you need some motivation then train with a friend.

If you find it difficult to motivate yourself then join a gym or get a personal trainer. Group X training is a great way to keep you motivated and keep you in shape. Strength training will help maintain your lean muscle mass and burns calories when working out.


Patrick du Preez is the MD of Club Asia Fitness, Royal Phuket City Hotel, Phuket Town.

The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.

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