There is a misconception people have with overemphasising exercise more than diet. There is some truth in ’the more you exercise, the more calories you burn’. However, in this article, I will like to challenge that truth.
When I first started on my fitness journey of gaining muscles and losing weight, I fell into the trap of focusing on exercising and neglected my diet. It was effective for the initial six months when I started to feel stronger and look bigger but I wasn’t getting any definition on the abdominal area. I could feel muscles in my core, but it was just not showing physically. So, I decided to read more on ’How to get six-packs?’ and I found out that indeed, dieting is an important aspect to reduce body fats and still retain muscles in other parts of the body.
Then there were the questions of ‘how to start?’ and ‘where to start?’ I started dieting quite abruptly and experienced several negative effects that I would like to share.
#1: Falling Sick
I was falling sick frequently because the body had to adapt to the sudden change in diet. Just imagine for 18 years of your life, you have been eating anything you feel like, be it salty, sugary and oily food, and immediately, you cut these over a period of two weeks. It was a major shock to my body and hence lowered my immune system, causing me to fall sick easily.
#2: Enhanced Cravings
I did not balance my macronutrients and ended up craving for a lot of sweet stuff, feeling light headed and lethargic at times. It is important to listen to and observe your body while on a new diet because it tells you if you are doing the right thing. I felt light headed at times from the lack of salt intake and found myself craving sugar food more often due to the vitamin-deficit in my body. Lastly, cutting down on carbohydrates caused my moodiness and lethargy.
My personal advice is to gradually change your eating habits and decision-making. Dieting is really a lifestyle and it should be cultivated and ingrained into our daily lives with the consciousness of listening to your body. I am aware that many hardcore gym-goers and bodybuilders might have a different opinion, but my goal is for more people to think of the long-term sustainability of their actions.
We must understand the difference between healthy eating vs clean eating. An example of healthy eating includes choosing grilled instead of fried chicken and consuming wholemeal rather than white bread.
On the other hand, clean eating involves consuming boiled/grilled chicken breast without any kind of sauces, boiled/baked potatoes and steamed vegetables.
In our daily lives, we have many choices of how we want to feed our bodies. It is important to choose the healthier option (less salt, sugar, oil) for our meals.
How do I plan my diet then?
My suggestion is healthy eating for a period of two months to get your body adjusted to the concept of less salt, sugar and oil in your daily dietary needs. After that, to plan a clean diet; eliminating salt, sugar and oil for two weeks (means home-packed meals) and go back to one month of healthy eating.
Gradually decrease the period of healthy eating and increase the period of clean eating and eventually, you will start to have more days of clean eating compared to healthy eating.
In summary, everyone wants results fast. We are humans and we tend to be impatient but there is an old saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I would like to add that without proper knowledge, your plans are bound to fail too.
*All these are based on my own experiments, which I did to my own body and there was no scientific research involved.
The opinions expressed here are based on the personal experiences of our YouthCreators.
Content by: Bryan Phang