5 Healthy snacks you can have while trying to lose weight

As you guys know how health-conscious I have been recently, I have been paying extra attention and caution to my food and drink intakes.

Many of you have approached me with questions on tips to lose weight.

Here are some of the snacks I would recommend that you guys to consider if you are looking for healthier alternatives, i.e. less fat, sodium, sugar, carbs…

1. Fruits

You can never go wrong with fruits. Have them before your meal or 2 hrs after a meal would be ideal so that these simple sugars won’t turn into excess fat.

Can fruits make you fat since they are made of sugar?

Answer is, simple sugars are much easier to digest compared to complex sugars such as pasta.

Moreover, whether they result in an increase in fat % depends on few factors :

a. the amount consume – at the most, I would take 2 types of fruits for snacks. I doubt one can stuff so many fruits at one go or a day to result to the ‘fattening’ state.

b. whether you burn off these sugars which would convert to glucose for energy or stored as fats (excess). I would have a piece of banana before my evening run, say about 1.5h before, to fuel my energy and 1.5h to 2h is a good timing for digestion so you won’t get stitches or stomach cramps. It’s also 1 of runners’ top favourite energy food before their marathons ๐Ÿ™‚

2. High fibre foods

Chew on veggie sticks or munch on a piece of bread that contains low-glycemic index.

Glycemic indexย (GI) is one of several metrics used to quantify short-term changes in blood glucose levels in humans following the ingestion of carbohydrate-containing foods.Glucoseย is the body’s source of energy; it is the fuel used by the brain, muscles, and other organs. Glucose is set at 100, and all foods are indexed against that number. Therefore, foods that are quickly digested have a high G.I., and foods that are digested more slowly have a lower G.I.

Simply put, choose food with low GI would allow you to feel fuller for a longer time as they are digested more slowly.

Wholemeal/multi-grain bread/Quaker oats (packet) or snacks like SoyJoy is good.

3. Salads

Further to point 2 above, salads make great snacks or meal replacements too! You need not only add veggies, you can play around with the ingredients yourself. I prefer preparing my own salads as I know what my own preferences are. Meat is not fattening if you eat them moderately and choose the right meat and parts to eat.

For salads, throw in strips/chunks of chicken breast or smoked salmon. I assure you they are very yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have mine with only lemon juice as dressing or no dressing at all.

4. Cereals/Muesli

Consider having packet of instant cereals that are yummy and yet contain little calories!

Either that, pack a box of cereals or museli (or muesli bar?). You can have them with or without milk.

Cereals/cornflakes can be said to be fattening due to high carbs and some contain sugar as well.

Choose wisely. I like plain cereals or either that those with dried fruits such as Banana Nut Crunch – that’s my all name favourite.

Of course comparing cereals and veggies, the latter is less fattening. But this is just my suggestion if you find salads boring or tasteless. At least cereals are less fattening that chocolate cakes and stuffs.

5. Yoghurt

It’s not one of my favourite food but it’s definitely one of the healthy foods recommended to consume.

Get plain yoghurt and combine with your own choice of fruits. This is healthier and less fattening than those fruit yoghurt. You may also consider adding fruits to your plain cereals/oats ๐Ÿ™‚

Drinking water alone will not keep you full for a long time and it’s a hassle to keep having to relieve yourself.

If your stomach is growling for hunger, listen to it. Listen to your body.

Feed it right and exercise.

You will lose weight gradually in no time.

I hope this helps you girls who are trying to lose some weight.

Disclaimer : I am not a nutritionist (although I’m very keen in studying that…) nor a personal fitness trainer nor a qualified doctor, but just a health-conscious person who have tried and tested the above as healthier alternatives. I’ve done some of the homework for you guys (out of my own interest) so I thought it would be good to share it on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading and yay to healthier lifestyle! ๐Ÿ™‚

Running Tips

Nike We Run SG 2013

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Runner’s tee

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Finisher’s tee

I have been running recently but not that regularly like 3-4 times a week, most of the times, it’s just 1-2 times a week.

But boy, was I surprised to discover that I could actually break my own personal record at the Nike Run. On certain days where my stamina decides to be awesome and my body is filled with loads of energy, I can run 6km non-stop. So that was the benchmark I set for myself whenever I run. Stopping after 6km is somehow less guilty.

But during the recent Nike run, I managed to complete the 10km run without stopping at all! Sure, there were times when I felt that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself but for most of the physical workouts, be it running, swimming, weight-lifting etc, it’s over and above your physical limitations. Mental endurance and strength plays a major role as well.

If I were to just stop and accommodate to my physical limitations, I might not complete 10km without stopping.

I’ve met many runners who vomited, experienced cramps and there was even a girl who collapsed and then later passed away at the hospital. My condolences.

We have heard how many active participants passing out/away while participating in such events and we often question ourselves why. Shouldn’t these people be fitter, be healthier than the rest of us?

More often than not, it’s the cardiac arrests or issues related to the heart that caused the problems and tragic.

I have been advised by my family and bf to go for a health check-up, which I am really procrastinating… But I know I should. I’m just too chicken to find out the truth.

Anyway, that aside.

I’m not a hard-core runner/exerciser,yet… although I’m certainly more active now than before and I’ve been trying to keep to a more healthy diet recently too. (:

Nevertheless, here are some tips which I would like to share, especially if you are just starting out like me.

Things to do before running :

1. Grab a bite, preferably a piece of banana.ย 

Banana is packed with loads of carbs amongst other vitamins and minerals, which you can unload during your run as these carbs would provide fuel and energy for your body.

I have tried running 10km previously (Yellow Ribbon Run) without eating at all, and ended up a dead chicken. I started walking after 6km and usually, my appetite after exercising is lacking. So I had very minimal food after the run and ended up having to stop the bus and vomit along the road side. That was extremely embarrassing but thankfully, my bf was with me the whole time.

I’d also tried to run on an empty stomach (which I mean that the previous meal was already digested long ago) during my own evening runs and ended up almost dying as well.

So recently, I’ve heeded advices online to eat about 1.5h/2h before running. And yes, it certainly did help. The reason why I didn’t eat anything before running previously was due to the fear of having painful stitches/cramps, but then I’d realised that gobbling something small like a banana would fill your stomach and provide you with the energy required. Also, it is not too heavy that it would cause you indigestion and cramps.

Personally, it’s also more of a reverse psycho thing because now that you’ve consumed one of the highest-carb-loaded fruits, it gives you no excuse to push yourself further and run the extra mile… You know what I mean? ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t have bananas with me before my Nike run so I just grabbed whatever I could find, forcing them down my throat. I just needed to fill my tummy with something, and preferably healthy as well. And I chose muesli (high in fibre) but bad choice, because reaching about 8km or so, my tummy started to hurt… you know the kinda thing you have when you need to shit?

Haha, so yes bad choice. I’ll never eat muesli before working out again….

Even if your run event starts at an unearthly hour, you should always make it a point to wake up earlier to fill your stomach with something approx 1.5h-2h before the event starts.

Trust me, don’t gobble down just before your run or skip the food intake… otherwise you will definitely regret it.

2. Have sufficient rest the night before

This statement discredits me because I don’t get sufficient rest before my runs, sad to say.

It’s quite self-explanatory so I’ll leave as that.

3. Empty your bladder/bowels etc

Another self-explanatory statement.

4. Hydrate yourself, but notย excessively

It’s always good to hydrate yourself either with plain water or isotonic drinks.

For myself, I’d always preferred plain water over isotonic drinks. Even at hydration points during the run, I would opt for plain water over isotonic drinks. It makes my stomach a little queasy so I tend to avoid it.

But it’s great to drink it after a run.

Don’t drink too much before the run and during the run, if not it might cause stitch as well and well, you will need to empty your bladder again.

I usually try not to stop to hydrate myself at the hydration point, but maybe only the 3rd pitstop. Because it causes me to stop and I don’t do that if permits because it would adversely affect my stamina (I was told of this back in sec sch but am not sure how true is this). Of course, you should stop if you’re feeling pain/discomfort etc.

5. Don’t eat something that is too heavy or spicy for your stomach to take the night before

You wouldn’t want your running event to turn into having the runs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

General tips :

1. Train regularly. No one can participate a running event/marathon without training themselves well first.ย 

Training about 3 times is good enough. At least better than my training schedule.

2. Warm up and cool down exercises

Sure, there will bound to be aches and all, lucky you if you don’t. But never skip the warming up and cooling down exercises They would do your muscles a great deal of help. It prepares your muscles before the run and helps to relieve aches thereafter.

You should feel the stretch and tension on your muscles, especially at the thighs and calves if you are preparing for a run. I mean where else should you feel them at right? Ankle rotations and stretching at the hips/waist are ideal too.

I don’t do much vigorous warm up exercises such as shuttle run or jumping jacks to preserve my maximum energy for the run later. I don’t want to tire myself out so quickly….heh.

3. Track your running logs

May or may not be accurate but at least you know how you fared. I use run keeper app to help track my pace, calories, distance covered…

It’s free too.

By having running logs, you can assess your own performance.

Although I have qualms on its accuracy because it doesn’t take into account different relief/terrains, e.g. uphill and downhill… so calories burnt and pace may not be accurate and fair.

Nevertheless despite the above,ย I’m still quite a beginner to start off with so I’m trying to discover more useful tips for myself which I can share with you guys as well.

I hope they would be useful to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh and yes, as per the title, I managed to complete my 10km Nike Run at 1h24mins, a total improvement of 10mins from the Yellow Ribbon Run at 1h34mins.

10mins is alot and every min and ever sec do count as well, actually. ๐Ÿ˜›

Have run running!

In the mean time, I guess I will go find out more about High Intensive Interval Training (burns fats faster and improves stamina) as well as knee supports…I’m suspecting that I might have runner’s/jogger’s knee ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Remember, it involves BOTH physical and mental endurance. Without either one, you will not achieve your target.

Till then, thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚