My top 3 “be careful” foods

There have been a couple of traps I have fallen into. Sadly every time I fell it was too late there was no way to take it back. Oh y'know, the type of trap where there happens to be some nuts at home and I start eating by the handful cos "nuts are healthy" right? Or the time where I thought I could eat as much avocado as I wanted cos it's a natural whole food.

That's right! It's still possible to gain weight off "healthy" food. "Healthy" doesn't automatically mean you can just stuff yourself silly. It doesn't mean you should avoid them, no no. It just means you should be mindful when eating them.

Foods like...:

1) Nuts. Every type of nuts. Generally 100g of any type of nuts is around 650 calories. Yep not a typo. 100g is basically 2 to 3 handfuls (my hands) and 650kcal is basically 3 bowls of rice. I remember my teenage years where we'd randomly have a huge bag of nuts at home, and I always loved it cos it meant "snacking on healthy food" which meant that huge bag never lasted more than 3-4 days.

I'm in awe right now math-ing out how many calories that was. And that wasn’t filling AT ALL.

2) Avocado. Oh avocados, how I treated you like any other fruit. I thought you were in the same family as melons because of your color. I thought we were friends cos I thought you were best friends with salad, and salad is so so low in calories (without sauce). But of course not right? And here at home you have to be extra large in size.

Half a normal avocado is about 160ish calories. Some days before I'd have 2 avocados for breakfast cos "why not?". And why not? Cos that's an instant 640kcal! that's like 9 slices of bread!

3) Eggs (with yolk). I was so thrilled to learn that the whole cholesterol issue was a myth, I still couldn't go all out with eggs cos the calorie sneaks up on you. An egg is about 75kcal each. Doesn't sound like much right? I can eat 3 eggs before I form a sentence in my brain and suddenly that's 225kcal. And if I do that again in the afternoon that's 550kcal.

550kcal is like, one hearty bowl of ramen!

What foods get out of control easily for you?

“Can you give me a diet plan?”

I get DMs everyday asking this exact question. I wish I could. I really do. If I could come up with some kind of sustainable meal plan that’s a one size fits all for everyone I would.

But I can’t.

Especially not without knowing anything about you. To build a diet plan I’d have to know a lot more about you, such as:

1) Your favorite foods
2) Foods you don’t like
3) Foods you have easy access to daily
4) Your daily schedule
5) Your goals(beyond a number on the scale)
6) Your cooking skills (if any)
7) Medical details such as allergies
8) Your eating habits, tendencies
9) Your sleep schedule
10) Your exercise schedule
11) Your motivation level
12) How much are you willing to change from your current day to day routine
13) How you deal with change
14) Your relationship with food

And... I’m pretty sure I’m missing a few.

But..! These are all questions you most likely have the answers to for yourself. Having the answers, you could slowly build a diet plan for yourself.

The goal? To eat less, and move more. I know I know that’s simplifying it way too much. But it kinda does boil down to that...

How?

1) Steer towards eating a 80/20 balance. 80% nutrient rich whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats. And 20% of whatever you want.

2) Pick a physical activity. It could be anything from 5000 steps a day, hiking, dance, yoga to basketball, soccer, gym, running, anything. Choose your favorite, and keep a consistent schedule. Once a week, twice a week, doesn’t matter.

The goal is to be consistent. You can always turn up the frequency and intensity later.

And from there it's really just day in day out. Almost the same thing every single day. Striving to be a little bit better than yesterday each day. And keeping it up for as long as possible. Not weeks, not months, but years. Start as small as you feel comfortable, and work your way up as slow as you need to.

Consistent imperfection will always beat inconsistent perfection.

Always.

“How do I get past a weight loss plateau?”

Whenever I hear that question my first instinct is, “is it really a plateau?”

For some a plateau is when the scale weight isn’t moving at the speed it use to move at before. For others it’s staying at the same weight for 3 days, and for some it’s staying at the same weight for months.

I think the first step to getting past a plateau is to be honest and ask yourself whether it really is a plateau. Personally I define a plateau as my weight staying the same for over 3-4 weeks while I’m doing the exact same things.

Exact. Same. Things.

If there’s been ‘cheat days’ or events here and there I don’t consider it a plateau. I like think of it as breaking even. I worked hard, and went out the celebrate so the ‘damage’ and ‘hard work’ broke even.

But there certainly have been times where I was doing everything right, and my weight just wouldn’t budge.

By definition if you’re not losing weight, then you’re not in a caloric deficit.

So how do you get past it? You gotta create a caloric deficit by either:

1) Eating less. Audit your everyday foods and cut another 100kcal, maintain it for a week and adjust from there.
2) Moving more. Exercise, or more steps, or just simple being more active such as walking, taking the stairs etc.
3) Being mindful of bites, licks, and tastes. They seem harmless but can easily add up.

Plateaus happen naturally and not because you did something wrong, but it’s likely that you lost enough weight that your old caloric deficit is now your maintenance calories.

So the simple answer?

Gotta create that caloric deficit again.

“How do I stay motivated?”

You gotta do something you like.

I think that’s the ultimate answer. I know I know, In the past I’ve said motivation is fleeting, and that it comes and goes, but I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately and I think it’s possible to get it stay longer.

All of my failed diets in the past during my morbidly obese days, they all had one common theme...

... I hated it.

I’d be lying if I said I was OK with it. The only reason I’d be ok with it is because I was expecting results from it. I sure wasn’t expecting to be on the diet for the rest of my life. I wanted to get what I came for, and get outta there as soon as possible.

So what happened with my latest diet? The one that got me out of morbidly obese territory and into a normal weight within 2 years?

I didn’t hate it.

Yep, I’m being careful with my words. I didn’t hate it. I don’t love it, but I really don’t mind it at all. Many have told me, “oh you have to weigh all your food? And put it into an app? What kind of life is that? I could never live like that...” and they’re right.

Perhaps they can’t, but I can. I really don’t mind weighing food, inputting it into myfitnesspal, reviewing my food on a daily basis and cross checking that with my daily scale weight. I don’t mind it at all. If anything I feel comfortable.

I feel comfortable knowing I’m in full control of my weight. Will this suit you? I have no clue, but if it doesn’t I highly recommend you to not force yourself to like it. I’ve been there before. Trying to force myself to love a particular method because there’s so many testimonies about it, but in the end it was just prolonged misery for me.

So my current take on motivation?

You gotta do something you actually like. Or at the very least something that you don’t hate. That along with being realistic about the journey. Acknowledging that the journey doesn’t end when you hit your weight goal, and understanding that maintaining weight is as much work as losing weight.

I think that helps you to stay motivated.

"Can you suggest a diet for weight loss?"

I'm sorry but, I can't.

I would if I could, but I can’t.

Alright technically I could. I mean I could tell you to go on some ridiculous water fast, or detox or cleanse. And then convince you that the only way get there is to stick to the game plan for at least 14 days. It’s almost guaranteed results. I think somewhere in between is where I charge you a few bucks for the game plan?

But the moment you stop the extreme diet and go back to eating normally all the results suddenly disappear. So you’ll come back to me and ask “What happened?” And I’ll be all like, “well, you went for the standard version, here’s a better version that lasts longer” which in the concoction I add a few squeezes of lemon juice and charged you extra for it.

And that cycle repeats. You yo-yo up and down. And I would have made enough pocket change to eat McDonalds for life.

In all seriousness, I can’t cos I’d need so much more information about you to even point you at a general direction. The best diet isn’t about the exact amounts of food, nutrients, or calories.

It’s about figuring out a menu that you enjoy, which would a mean a higher chance that you stick to it, and the longer you can stick to it the better chance at a consistent caloric deficit or surplus depending on your goals.

It’s about building a relationship with food. Building long term sustainable habits that last a lifetime. It’s not going to happen over night. It’s an ongoing process that could last for years.

I feel the first step you take is to become more mindful and more aware of food. Be mindful of how much you’re eating, when you’re eating, why you’re eating.

Be aware of the different values of food. The difference between half a bowl of rice and a whole banana. You don’t need to know all the little details, but be aware of the similarities and differences.

I believe that in itself, will stir you to make better decisions, which in turn will help you build the best diet for you.