Updated: May 23, 2021
Quite a few students ask me about my diet and how to keep fit. To stay healthy, exercise and diet go hand in hand. My secret weapons for the respective areas are yoga and eating clean.
First of all, please understand that being slim is not the same as being healthy. For those who are trying to lose weight, don’t judge yourself by what you read on the scale. BMI and your weight are only part of the equation. Don’t forget that muscles weight heavier than fat. You don’t want to be "skinny fat" --- meaning you are well within the ideal weight but have the same risk as an obese person. Observe your fitness level by how well you fit into your clothes and the ease and the range of movement you have. Focus on increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat by doing more weight bearing exercises and eating healthy.
Mind and Body Connection
Yoga is one of the most effective ways to keep fit and lose weight. There is always the physical aspect of yoga which you move and flow and sweat. There are many forms of yoga practice – such as Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga, Power Yoga, Hot yoga, etc. In the course of practice, you build heat, strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility. Yoga has been proven to be a weight-bearing exercise in which a12-minute daily practice can significantly increase bone density in the spine and, to some extent, hip bone density. It also provides better balance and co-ordination and protects against falling. You may challenge that all these benefits can be found in some other exercises. So why does yoga stand out in losing weight and improving health?
In addition to the physical aspect, there is also the mental and emotional aspects of yoga that affect our physiology. When we practice yoga, we focus on our breath. Our breath is the foundation of our well beings. It helps calm our mind. In yoga, we learn to practice meditatively. Mediation helps re-wire our brain and enables us find harmony and balance in our body. When our mind is balance and stable, our body will naturally crave for healthy food and reject food that is not good for us. When your mindset has changed, your lifestyle will follow accordingly, hence the reason for being able to stay fit and lose weight and maintaining a healthy life style.
You are what you eat
First of all, I eat to stay healthy and not to sculpt my body. Sculpting your body will require special diets and strict commitment. Second of all, I am not the type of person who can go on a diet. The moment I think of dieting, I will feel deprived and my body will start craving for things that I don’t usually care for. Thirdly, those who know me well would say that I have a healthy appetite – a nice way of saying that I eat a lot! In other words, my idea of healthy eating is not about starvation or deprivation of any kind. My definition of eating clean:
cut out sugary and salty things
say no to processed food or sauce and gravy
avoid oily and deep fried food
eat more fresh veggies and fruits
To keep your healthy eating sustainable, it has to be a life style change. Don’t ever deprive yourself. Just eat moderately and enjoy life. Learn to cultivate a mindset of loving healthy food and treat your body like a temple. That being said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t eat any fried food or desserts. But truth be told, a good cup of black noisette coffee gives me the same pleasure as a scoop of ice-cream.
For someone who doesn’t cook, I always love having salad for dinner for its simplicity and healthy reasons. I usually spice it up with things like avocado, nuts, cranberries, cheese, apple, eggs or even chicken breast or whatever goodies I can think of. I’d serve it with a wicked home-made dressing (if anyone is interested, pls let me know).
Today I want to share with you a simple authentic Thai recipe of clean food that my god-daughter, Joyce, from Thailand taught me during Covid-19. It is easy to cook. Nutritious and tasty yet also simple and clean. I love it so much that I now even grow my own basil leaves at home. Happy cooking!
Chicken Breast/Thigh (no skin, no fat) – minced or chopped to small pieces
Basil leaves (chopped)
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Optional if you must:
Fry the garlic together with chili and basil leaves
Add in chicken
Season with a few drops (!) of fish sauce and oyster sauce to enhance the taste
Add a fried egg or two
Serve with rice