Monday, 14 April 2014

Can an Asian eat clean? Part 2

When I first started eating clean, I was actually doing okay. The people around me (including family) just thought I was on a diet that was going to end at some point so they left me alone. They didn't realise it was an entire lifestyle change. I started doing my own groceries and making my own foods - bear in mind this is usually a no no for Asian homes, but for my mum it was more a nuisance because I started taking up space in her kitchen.

Here's some of the things I hear quite often:

"You don't need a diet!" 

"You're making me feel bad for eating this"

"You're so healthy its disgusting" (that half sarcastic/not really comment) 

"If you keep this up, you're gonna live to 100!" (not a bad comment, but its indirectly suggesting I shouldn't be "so healthy")

"I can count the number of grains on your plate. ZERO!"

"You're Asian, you MUST eat rice!"

"You have a disorder." 

Just like Daphne says here in Part 1, the list goes on. I suggest you take a read of this if you have found this post first. I'm building on what Daphne has already written, hence Pt 2.

I was born in Australia and have lived here my whole life. My whole extended family is in Australia and love a reason to have a family get together. They will do this as often as time allows us (public holidays, someone's birthday, just because we haven't done one in a while...), and every dinner is a feast. This is just how it's been since forever. Who am I kidding? I love food, I love to eat!

Can you eat clean through all of this? How?

Yes you most definitely can! Life is made up of the decisions that you make, specifically in relation to food - what you eat, how much of it you eat and when you eat.

Daphne's self questionnaire in making decisions:
  • Do I really want this? Does this fuel my body?
  • Have I been training hard recently? My body might need some rice/other complex carbs to recover and fuel.
  • Ok, I have not been working hard but that fried rice is made by my beloved grandmother and I really want it.
  • Are there other kinds of sugar (such as a dessert) I prefer to have instead? 
For myself, I currently exercise 5-6 times a week. I'm very active, so I struggle more with portion sizing than being clean. In saying that, I do allow myself treats a few times in a week - I love "bad" food. One lolly/cookie (we have a bottomless candy jar at work) every few days is not going to harm me. One scoop of ice cream after a long week's work is a well deserved treat. Going out for dinner with friends? Your meal is in your hands, there many options on a menu.

With clean eating, comes portion sizing - how much is too much? It's really easy to overeat with eating clean.

We've heard all the "recommended" intakes of food, ratios of carbs:protein:fats, energy per day, 5 veg 2  fruit, that list goes on forever. In the end, all of these are just averages that came from studies. Take these as guidelines and you won't be too far out. You need to consider:

1) How much are you currently eating?
2) What types of foods are you eating?
3) How active are you?

I won't make specific suggestions, because this is all just about learning what your body is trying to tell you. If you are eating a significant amount of unhealthy, try substituting for healthier options. When your body has adapted to the changes, then start looking at decreasing over intake and adjusting different foods for balanced nutrition. I will mention these things:
  • Eat when you are hungry, not bored or used to eating at that time (I'm a huge offender of this, I'm working on it though!)
  • If you work a 9-5 job, I suggest you eat breakfast (fuel your body and brain with nutrition, not coffee)
  • Don't try to make a huge change to your diet suddenly. Have you noticed that people who try fad diets often gain back what they had lost, usually more, once they stop the diet?
When you are eating foods that are unprocessed or not very processed, they are denser in nutrition. This means that lesser should keep you full. Sometimes this takes a while to kick in - I eat really fast, so I ALWAYS have to remind myself to just sit still for about 10-15 minutes, and I will feel full from the meal I just ate.

You will learn to have a lot of patience - taking it one step at a time is not easy, but it will increase the chances of all your hard work in making changes stay that way.

I am aware I have not mentioned anything about weight loss here, I am encouraging a healthy lifestyle, which will naturally come with fat loss and aid muscle gain. Think healthy, not skinny :)

xx Melissa


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