Feeling hungry away from home? If you need a fast fix then hawker food or fast food, is often the easiest choice. But what are the healthier options?
1. Set a realistic goal
To achieve anything, you need to have a realistic target. First, find out the healthy weight range for your height. If you need to lose a lot of weight, divide it into a number of smaller targets – a few kilograms for each stage – so you can get a sense of achievement as you tick off each milestone. If you are very overweight or have health problems, or if you're helping your children lose weight, make sure you get advice from your doctor first.
2. Get organised
Work out a calorie-controlled meal plan so you know what to eat and when. Vary it as much as possible. Have a range of interesting, healthy foods to eat so you look forward to each meal. For inspiration, check out these Great Eastern recipes, provided by top chefs in Malaysia and Singapore, these dishes are affordable, delicious and healthy.
3. Track your progress
Note down what you eat each day; it stops you 'forgetting' extra items that can make the weight creep back on. That large spoonful of bee hoon still counts – even if you sneaked it from your partner's plate! Step on the scales once a week and keep a note of your weight in a file or app to keep it 'official'.
4. Rope in your family and friends
Do you have family members or friends who need to lose weight? Why not set up your own little support group? Maybe you could have a weekly weigh-in, noting each member's weight loss and offering each other encouragement.
5. Don't obsess
Don't weigh yourself every day; weight doesn't come off daily at a steady rate. If you don't lose weight one week, don't worry – you'll probably lose extra the following week.
6. Going cold turkey – or treats now and then?
Some people manage to lose weight better if they have the occasional small treat. That's fine if you build it into your weekly allowance. Other people prefer to forget all about fried, sugary or calorie-laden treats completely. But, either way, one or two lapses along the way won't do you any harm. Forget them and move on – tomorrow is a fresh start.
Exercising at the same time as lowering your calorie intake will speed up your weight loss. Choose an activity you enjoy. Even small things like getting off the bus a stop earlier to walk the extra distance, or walking to the MRT or bus stop instead of taking a taxi all burn extra calories.
8. Treat yourself
Give yourself a little non-edible reward for reaching each stage of your eventual target. As you're probably saving money by eating less, consider putting it into a fund for new clothes – or even a short holiday abroad when you reach your target. You'll want to celebrate the new you!