How to achieve that "Balik Alindog": Dieting Edition

There are people who despise working out and there are people who hate dieting. I’m the latter. I enjoy eating too much to be successful at dieting. Yet here I am writing about my fact-based, scientifically-proven insights on how to make dieting bearable for normal humans.

Almost four years ago, I started working in an office job where I sit for eight hours in a day. Fellow corporate slaves who sit through the same thing know that it gets boring. And when I’m bored, food makes a great distraction. After a month in that job, I gained five kilos. I would’ve loved it if some of that weight gain went to my boobs but they all just went to my arms and thighs. It was not cute. So I had to do something about it.

I want to get this body back, you guys. Or not. It’s okay, really. I’m glad I achieved it once and was well documented.

In case you’re expecting to be informed on what diet programs work, I’m sorry to tell you that this is not that kind of post. I don’t know any dieting programs because I don’t follow any. I only read dieting articles online and adapt the ones I could manage doing. Mainly, my “dieting” involves making small adjustments in my eating habits and way of thinking.

I’m the kind of person who always wants to do the thing that people tell me I shouldn’t do. If someone says I can’t eat fries, the more I crave for fries. This personality makes for a dieting disaster. So to make things easier, I ditched the mindset that dieting means depriving myself of certain types of food. Instead, I tricked my mind into believing that I choose not to eat them. It sounds silly but by changing the way I approached the whole thing, dieting became a positive choice I made instead of some imaginary, annoying healthy person telling me that I’m not allowed to do something.

The first thing I did that could be considered dieting was cutting my rice consumption to half. Then, I cut out fizzy drinks, fast food, instant noodles and chips from my life. Not forever, obviously. I mean, I’m not crazy. My love for freshly-cooked McDonald’s french fries is everlasting. I just stopped eating junk for a month.

After getting through that month, I didn’t crave for Coke or chips anymore (except when I’m PMS-ing). I actually don’t like flavored drinks as much now. And I rarely eat fast food. Additional dieting tip: if you do order fast food, don’t order drinks with it anymore.

You could also employ “out of sight, out of mind” just like when you unfollow or block your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend on all social media platforms. Hide your food so that they don’t taunt you to eat them. If you do your own grocery shopping, tell those chips and soft drinks as you roll past them, “Not today, Satan.”

If you think your family members are going to be fine with it, tell them you’re trying to eat more healthy and maybe they could join you in this endeavor. Whoever cooks in your house won’t be happy because you’re asking him/her to create new menu items. Make the transition easier by extending help in the kitchen.

If your family wants to stick to the food they’re used to eating, then change the time you eat instead. Tell your cook that you’d appreciate it if you can have dinner ready by 6 PM. I read somewhere that you should eat dinner three to four hours before you sleep. I don’t know the scientific explanation for it but it works. And if you really have to munch on something before going to bed, eat something fibrous like oatmeal or a fruit.

Even if there’s no way to change your family’s eating habits, you still have one meal in a day that you don’t share with them. Eat healthier meals during lunch and then when you get home for dinner, eat slower and spread your food around your plate so that it looks like you’re eating a lot. Give yourself enough time to adjust to your new eating pattern, at least a month. Don’t crash diet. It’s going to make you miserable.

Full disclosure: After I took this photo, I ate so many BonChon chicken wings and japchae.

When I’m preparing for something, say a beach trip, I still eat out whenever I want. And I don’t consider it my “cheat day” either. Having cheat days implies that you’re doing something bad. And you shouldn’t have to feel bad about eating what you want. Besides, having a cheat day gives the impression that this is the only time of the week when you’re “allowed to eat as much as you want” and as a result, you might pig out on so much junk food that it nullifies your healthy eating for the rest of the week.

If you don’t want to change the food you eat, then just change how much you eat. Let’s not make it more difficult for anyone. But again, you really have to drop the soft drinks and the chips. You don’t need to drink Gatorade after every workout especially if you only work out for 30 minutes. Water is fine. You also don’t need granola or protein bars. Those things are loaded with sugar and you don’t need them in your life. If you have to drink alcohol, avoid beers and mixed drinks. Go for hard liquor like vodka and drink it straight or on the rocks. You can also opt for wine if you’re fancy like that.

I only really diet the week before my goal or event I’m preparing for. This means eating hard-boiled eggs, corned tuna with SkyFlakes, yogurt and fruits. I hate eating fruits but that’s what I snack on during this week. Romaine lettuce become my chips and Kewpie roasted sesame dressing is my dip. I also eat more fiber like oatmeal and whole wheat bread.

I love whole wheat bread. My body is basically powered by whole wheat bread. I can eat it with anything. For all the lazy people out there, here are some stuff you can enjoy with whole wheat bread:

  • (chili) corned tuna
  • Vienna sausage
  • cheddar cheese slices
  • cheddar cheese slices and butter then heat it in a pan if you want to make it a grilled cheese sandwich
  • cream cheese
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese
  • Spanish sardines
  • Spam
  • corned beef
  • fried egg and ketchup
  • bacon
  • bacon with cheddar cheese
  • bacon, lettuce and cheddar cheese
  • smoked ham (see: bacon pairings)
  • peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • your hopes and dreams

Of course I’m assuming that you’re working out the entire time this meal adjustment is happening. Some people diet hard because they don’t work out. I don’t know if that’s okay. I love eating more than I hate working out so I diet a little and I work out a little. This way, I maintain my sanity. It’s all about moderation.

Having said all this, there is a way to feel great about yourself without dieting and working out and it’s called “accepting yourself for who you are and not giving a fuck about what others think.” This is a much longer process than dieting and working out though. I heard it takes many years. I want to achieve that, too. But in the meantime, I’m working on feeling good on the outside. Baby steps.

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