Eating in moderation

by Cody Jackson

One of my favourite things about Thailand is all the delicious food! Thailand knows how to do food right. I love all the curries and spices.

 Before, I couldn’t even eat a jalapeno without crying but now I can thoroughly enjoy a “ped nid noie ka” green curry. Oh, and I love all the thai sweets! Luk chop, mango sticky rice, and coconut ice cream just to name a few. It’s easy to get carried away because these mouthwatering desserts are so cheap.

How do we give up dessert and still stick to our fitness goals? I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up desserts. If you are someone who can give up sweets cold turkey and not think twice about it, then that’s wonderful. Some of us, like myself, are mentally attached to sweets. I remember when I was dating my husband his freezer would always have ice cream in it yet he is extremely fit. He was the one who convinced me this method of dessert in moderation actually works because he is living proof of it.

I have many friends who want to visit dessert cafes in Bangkok. It’s a social thing. I will get Line messages inviting me just to have dessert. I constantly get hung up on the thought that if I go I will mess up my fitness goals because I’m eating unhealthy. It’s not true though because it is all how you handle it. If I go I will share a dessert with a friend or I will get a small dessert. Being fit doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. Let’s face it, eating is part of our social lives.

I used to drink a lot of carbonated soda pop. I grew up on Coca Cola and Mountain Dew. When I started getting into fitness I began to look at nutrition labels. One can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are 37.6 grammes for men and 25 grammes for women. One can of Coca Cola exceeds the recommended amount of sugar for both men and women. So, I made the decision to stop drinking it. Instead of just limiting the amount of pop I consumed, I quit out of the blue. The following days after not having a pop were rough. I had splitting headaches and I craved Coca Cola. My body felt like it was going through withdrawals. I was irritable and tired. If my body was reacting this way within the first week, how was I going to get through the following week. I broke on day seven and I remember drinking so much Coca Cola I vomited.

My body felt worse after I drank it. Quitting cold turkey like that was worse than if I had gradually quit or just drank less in general. It was harder for me to control my urges to drink. I wasn’t strong mentally either because the want for the pop made me feel miserable. I kept having to think “I can’t have that” and it just made me want it even more. If I had just made the decision from the beginning to still drink it but just not as often I wouldn’t have made myself sick.

When I ask my husband about his ice cream habit he tells me something similar. His advice is not to punish yourself. Being healthy and fit shouldn’t be about what not to eat. It should be about self-discipline and self-control. You should still enjoy the food you love without overdoing it. When he eats ice cream he will eat just a few spoonfuls and then puts it away. He does not eat half the carton and that is the key to controlling your weight.

This doesn’t mean that you should eat all unhealthy things and just limit the amount you eat of each thing. You should still make a conscious effort to make healthy food choices by eating more fruits and vegetables. I talk about moderation when it comes to the unhealthy foods. Those foods that you know are not good for you but you feel like you can’t live without them. My weakness is chocolate. What’s yours?

The problem people have when I tell them about eating in moderation is “when do I stop” and that is a fair question. This is where a lot of people fail because their limited portion size is much different compared to another person’s portion size. I like to keep it simple. If you are asking yourself when to stop eating then you need to stop. If you can look at the nutrition label then follow the suggested portion size or smaller. A great phone App I have is My Fitness Pal. It is a way to have fun reading nutrition labels. Sometimes in Thailand I can’t make out what the nutrition label says so I scan the barcode in the App and 7/10 times it will pull up the nutrition information. This App is also great for counting calories and setting nutrition goals. If you want to add me my username is CodyDurr.

There is so much information out there about what to eat and what not to eat. So many articles online tell us what not to eat. We are constantly reading about new diets and hearing about how to manage weight. One week something will be good for us and the next week we hear the opposite. It’s so confusing for me! That is why I stick with eating in moderation. I still feel great at the end of the day and my body thanks me for it.







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