Many of our patients have weight issues. As mentioned before, the relationship between weight and fertility is both significant and can be sinister! While we encourage our patients to LOSE weight, it’s always easier said than done! Yes, we do refer them to dieticians and hope that their good advise helps. More often than not, weight loss is slow and too minimal to be effective.
In this article, I have asked Ms. Kanimolli to help by drawing up a day-to-day menu for our patients so that they have clear guidance as to what excatly a ‘low-calorie’ diet means.
It’s all about the calories!
If you are able to reduce your daily calorie intake and are able to incur a ‘negative’ balance (i.e calorie input is LESS than output) by approximately 400 calories a day, this will translate into negative 2000 calories in 5 days. Negative 2000 calories should equate a weight loss of about 1lb and accordingly, in about 11 days, you should lose approximately 1kg. Add some exercise – simple brisk walking for about 45 minutes a day and you should start seeing some interesting changes super fast!! Good luck!
The weight loss diet – the Malaysian way!
‘I haven’t touched rice for months, yet I didn’t lose a gram!’
This may be common statement you have heard from people whom tried to lose weight by omitting their favourite food. A person who cuts down rice may not be cutting down calories.
For example, 1 Chinese bowl of rice contains 225 kcal which is equivalent to 3 pieces of bread. So if you avoid rice and take half a loaf of bread instead, you will be consuming double the amount of calories. It doesn’t help either when the bread is smothered in butter and kaya! Confused? Well, read on for some practical tips to change to healthier meals to aid weight loss.
The best approach of losing excess weight is to moderately restrict calories and increase physical activity, so that you are able to burn more calories than you take in.
A healthy weight-loss diet should include low calorie foods like lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Weight reduction should not be done in haste as it may cause adverse effects, leaving your body weak and deprived of essential nutrients. Reducing weight without compromising on health is the best way to keep the body vigorous.
Tips on Weight Loss Diet
- Eat on time : Skipping meal time will lead to overeating. When a person skips breakfast for instance, he / she tend to over-eat lunch due to hunger or even compensation of what was ‘missed’ during breakfast.
- Watch your portion size : Going large just because it’s cheaper, can lead to expanding waistline. Aim to fill half you plate with vegetables, ¼ of plate with lean protein dishes and another ¼ with wholegrain carbohydrate.
- Drink plenty of fluids : Plain water is the best! If you must have your sweetened beverages, opt for ‘kurang manis’ or ‘O’ version. Diet sodas and isotonic drinks provide lesser calories than regular sodas or carbonated drinks.
- Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables: add on vegetables whenever possible. Adding frozen peas to instant noodles makes few minutes dish richer in fibre.
- Choose whole grain cereals: Make half your grains whole. Be adventurous to try brown rice and add legumes to your dishes.
- Share the dessert: if you must have your tiramisu cheesecake. Split if with your friend. Half the dessert, half the calories, twice the enjoyment!
Can you lose weight while eating out?
You definitely can, just be sure to follow the tips below:
- Reduce gravy – as gravy often contains saturated fat and loaded with salt or even sugar. Eg, in chicken curry, take the chicken pieces and reduce the gravy
- Opt for soupy based dishes such as asam pedas, masak singgang compared to masak lemak/ deep fried
- Learn to make demands for healthier meals eg fried rice with extra veggies, fried noodles with no eggs.
- Opt for plain water instead of sugar laden drinks
Changing to a better diet
Sometimes, you may find it hard to start letting go of your favourite Char Keoy Teow or Roti Canai Banjir.
Well, chances of success are slim when you try to turn your diet 180° around!
Aim for a small change every day.
Drastic changes will likely cause stress and you won’t be able to adapt to the changes comfortably. Start by changing just 1 meal; for example instead of having 2 teaspoon of sugar in the coffee; have 1 teaspoon alone. If you must have your roti canai, aim to have it with dhal and not mutton curry. Don’t forget to get support from your loved ones and friends. You will likely eat healthy if your surrounding people adopt healthy eating habits. Healthy eating is all about eating well balanced diet which consists of all nutrients in balanced portion. Do not completely avoid any particular food as it may cause binging.
Below is an example of a low calorie Malaysian diet which provides between 1200 – 1500 kcal. Up your fibre intake by increasing vegetable portions in the dishes and including whole grain products such as brown rice whenever possible. Drink plenty of plain water in between meals to increase satiety level.
A day to day menu to lose weight – the Malaysian way!!
Breakfast : 1 bowl of Keoy Teow Soup (ask for extra veg & chicken slices) + 1 glass of Chinese tea
Lunch : 1 teacup of rice + 1 piece tenggiri fish in assam sauce + 1 cup of ulam + 1 glass of plain water
Dinner : 1 piece of Capati + ½ cup mung bean curry + 1 glass of low fat milk + ½ small mango
Breakfast : 2 pieces whole meal bread + 1 boiled egg + 1 glass skimmed milk
Lunch : 1 chinese bowl of rice + 1 bowl of vegetable soup + 1 thigh of chicken in black pepper sauce + ½ cup of stir fried kailan + 1 slice of papaya
Dinner : 2 pieces of string hoppers + 1 cup of dhal curry + 1 whole guava
Breakfast : 4 tablespoon oats + 1 glass of skimmed milk + 1 teaspoon honey + 1 tablespoon kuaci seeds
Lunch : 1 chinese bowl of wantan mee kicap (request extra veg) + 1 slice watermelon
Dinner : 1 teacup of rice + 6 pieces of stir fried prawns + ½ cup blanched mustard greens + 1 piece of orange
Breakfast : 1 steamed chicken pau + 1 glass low sugar barley drink
Lunch : 1 teacup of rice + 1 slice fish curry + 1/2 cup stir fried lady’s finger with dhal + ½ cup stir fried spinach + 1 glass plain water
Dinner : 3 slices of bread + 3 tablespoon tuna canned in water + 3 lettuce leaves, + 4 slices tomato and cucumber + 1 glass low fat milk
Breakfast : 1 cup smoothie (1 glass low fat milk + 1 banana + 2 tablespoon oats)
Lunch : 1 teacup of rice + 1 bowl of meat + vegetable tom yam soup + 1 fried egg + 1 glass plain water
Dinner : 1 bowl sup ayam berempah + potatoes + lots of vegetable + 1 slice papaya
Breakfast : 2 pieces idli + ½ cup legume curry +1 glass fresh milk
Lunch : 1 teacup of rice + 1 piece grilled mackerel (kembung bakar + air assam) + 1 cup ulam kacang botol
Dinner : 1 medium plate fried meehoon (with extra vege) + 1 apple
Breakfast : 1 chinese bowl Rice porridge + mixed vegetable + 1 glass Chinese tea
Lunch : 1 bowl soto ayam + nasi himpit + extra taugeh + 1 glass plain water + 1 slice honey dew melon
Dinner : 1 teacup rice + 1 piece steamed fish with ginger + 1 bowl chinese cabbage soup + ½ cup stir fried French beans + 1 glass plain water
This informative write-up was prepared by Ms.Kanimolli Arasu who I first met when she was the Senior Dietitian and Head of Dietetic Unit at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur. She was an asset to our services there but later realized that her true calling in life was teaching. She is currently attached to the International Medical University (IMU) as a lecturer and Programme Coordinator for the Dietetics and Nutrition BSc programme.
Learn more about her………………
Ms Kanimolli Arasu
BSc (Hons) Dietetics (UKM), MSc Health Sciences (Nutrition) (UKM)