Disclaimer: We are not medical experts. This article is intended for educational purposes only. And though all information are provided in good faith, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. As such Londoni cannot be held responsible for any problem which you may experience as a result of this article.

Please consult your local doctor or a specialist for your medical problem.

We sincerely hope that you - or anybody else that is suffering from this illness - make a quick recovery and have great health.

2. Food & drink

80% of weight loss comes from food & drink - and only 20% from exercise

Good food is the real secret behind weight loss – it contributes to 80% of your weight loss whilst exercise contributes 20%.

Eating healthy energetic food will also purify inner system and improve health thereby preventing (or reducing the chances of) diet-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.

A six-pack is made in the kitchen, not the gym.

A popular saying in the fitness community

Stop "comfort eating"/"emotional eating". Food is neither the problem nor the solution

We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward.

A lot of people suffer from 'emotional eating', or 'comfort eating'. This is where you eat to distract yourself from negative feeling. You are using food to make yourself feel better and to get some real satisfaction other than the negative feeling that you're experiencing. You're not eating because you're hungry, but because you feel sad, lonely, angry, anxious or bored. Hence food becomes a quick, accessible, and easy solution to fulfilling emotional needs, rather than filling your stomach.

Are you a stress eater? Do you have any idea of how much emotional weight you are carrying?

Are you an emotional eater?

  • Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
  • Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
  • Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
  • Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

So how do you distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger? This can be difficult, especially if you use food regularly to deal with your feelings. Though the dividing line between the two can be a little blurred, there are few noticeable signs.

The difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger:

  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly = It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).
  • Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods = When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating = Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full = You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn't need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach = Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame = When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it's likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.

Using food from time to time as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.

Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed. You beat yourself for messing up and not having more willpower. Compounding the problem, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have a harder and harder time controlling your weight, and you feel increasingly powerless over both food and your feelings.

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Most people think emotional eating is due to lack of self-control. However, in my extensive work with eating disorders and disordered eating, I would say that is rarely the case. If emotional eating were a simple issue of discipline, we could easily find this discipline without torturing ourselves over meal plans, paying money for special diets, and constantly obsessing about who is eating what and when. And, of course, no eating disorders.

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For many the negative feeling can seem overpowering - even uncontrollable. They usually know that they are suffering from it, and would look in the mirror and realise they put on more weight. All that extra weight represents all that sadness and loneliness that is bottled inside them.

If you're one of these people then comfort eating can cost you in many ways than you realise. Beyond the health-related and physical drawback such as weight gain, unhealthy body, and increased chances of illnesses, comfort eating can be financially expensive and socially damaging. Constantly munching on junk food can be detrimental on many levels. Also your mood swing can push loved ones away.

Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. It usually makes you feel worse. It's not good for your self esteem and can undermine your self worth. Afterward, not only does the original emotional issue remain, but you also feel guilty for overeating. So what's usually your next response? You comfort eat more as you react to this new negative emotion. It's a vicious cycle.

It's time to be free of this burden and negative cycle.

Before you can break free from the cycle of food cravings and compulsive overeating you need to become aware of your problem and recognise what triggers your emotional eating. You then need to change these habits to stop it from sabotaging your happiness and positive progression. Learn to disassociate the extreme emotional value you attach to food.

Yes, food is a beautiful blessing. A great pleasure which many of us take for granted. However, it is something we need to survive. It has great nutritional value. Food is NOT a solution for our emotional problem.

When you're sad don't reach out for food. Instead unload your misery on loved ones. Seek real solution to your problem. Do something positive that removes the burden, else you'll hide and withdraw and keep on going through that old negative cycle.

Don't use food to numb your depression. Don't think you can eat away your problem. Things DO matter. YOU matter.

Tips to break out of the bad habit of emotional eating:

  • Identify your personal triggers = What situations, places, or feelings make you reach for the comfort food? Common causes of emotional eating are stress (which, if chronic, leads to high levels of the stress hormone called "cortisol" which triggers craving for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods which give you a burst of energy and pleasure), stuffing emotions (temporarily silencing or "stuffing down" negative emotions), boredom or feeling of emptiness (where food used to fill up and distract you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life), childhood habits which can carry over into adulthood (perhaps driven by nostalgia of cherished moments with family), and social influences where it's easy to overindulge the food is there or because everyone else is eating. You may also overeat in social situations out of nervousness. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and it’s easier to go along with the group.
  • Find other ways to feed your feelings = Don't use food to fulfill yourself emotionally. Instead, turn to your 'pick-me-up' if you're depressed or lonely (e.g. call someone who always make you feel better, play with your pet, or look at favourite photo or cherished memento), do a fun activity if you're anxious (e.g. expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk), treat yourself if you're exhausted (e.g. sip a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket), and do some activity which removes your boredom (e.g. read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy such as woodworking, scrapbooking, etc.).
  • Pause when cravings hit = You're more powerful than you think!! Emotional eating tends to be automatic and virtually mindless. Before you even realise what you're doing, you've reached for your comfort food. But if you take a moment to pause and reflect when you're hit with a craving, you give yourself the opportunity to make a different decision. Also learn to accept your feelings - even the bad ones.
  • Arm yourself with healthy lifestyle habits = When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. But when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating. Make daily exercise a priority (as physical activity does wonders for your mood and energy levels, and it's also a powerful stress reducer), make time for relaxation (give yourself at least 30 minutes every day to relax, decompress, unwind, and recharge your batteries), and connect with others as spending time with positive people who enhance your life will protect you from the negative effects of stress.
  • Sleep well (i.e. between 7-9 hours) = When you're short on sleep you tend to crave foods that give you a quick energy boost. This is because there are two hormones in your body that regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. However, when don't get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite so you want more food than normal, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don't feel satisfied and want to keep eating. So, the more sleep you skip, the more food your body will crave. As well as making it harder to fight food cravings, feeling tired can also increase your stress levels, leading to yet more emotional eating. To control your appetite and reduce food cravings, try to get plenty of rest — about eight hours of quality sleep every night.
  • Keep an emotional eating diary = One of the best way to identify your emotional eating pattern is to keep track with a food and mood diary. Record every time what you ate (or wanted to eat), what happened to upset you, how you felt before you ate, what you felt as you were eating, and how you felt afterward. Over time you'll see a pattern emerge. Once you identify these triggers think of healthier ways to deal with these feelings.

Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandora’s box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become mindful and learn how to stay connected to your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.

What’s more, your life will be richer when you open yourself up emotionally. Our feelings are a window into our interior world. They help us understand and discover our deepest desires and fears, our current frustrations, and the things that will make us happy.

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I’ve often asked people what they would have to feel if they did not binge or overeat and the common answer is, "I would have nothing to look forward to". And at the end of a long and hectic day, a big bowl of ice cream can be especially effective in temporarily soothing our exhausted, hard-working selves. Why? According to many sources, eating sugars and fats releases opioids in our brains. Opioids are the active ingredients in cocaine, heroin and many other narcotics. So the calming, soothing effects you feel when you eat ice cream and BBQ potato chips are real. And breaking these habits can be like kicking a drug habit.

The solution? Find other ways to reward and soothe yourself besides food (and other self-destructive behaviors.) Will these other ways be as effective at soothing you as food? Absolutely not! The things you come up with will help somewhat. But, in order to truly give up emotional eating, you are also going to have to practice tolerating difficult feelings.

...Emotional eating is a powerful and effective way to find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges. If it didn’t work so well, no one would do it. In order to stop this cycle of emotional eating, you have to make a commitment to reach deep inside yourself to find a place of grit and strength.

Jennifer Kromberg, Clinical Psychologist

Go back to the happiest moment in your life. Go back to that one day when you thought it couldn't get any better.

Chris Powell

Don't see food as the enemy but, likewise, don't see it as some divine experience. Whether we have a weight problem or not, many of us see food as a form of comfort or reward. The only way to get around this is to strike a balance with regard to how we eat and how we think about food.

If you do slip up by having a bar of chocolate, then don't beat yourself up about it - it most likely hasn't done irreparable damage to your diet.

On a mental level, don't make that chocolate bar an object of dread or desire - it's a snack. The more you can take the emotion out of food, the more successful your dieting will be.

Deal with the issue of discipline by reframing what you think you deserve.

A tub of ice cream may make you feel better in the short term, but it is not addressing the real issue you are trying to deal with - you need a coping strategy other than food. Linking what you eat to how you feel about yourself only reinforces negative beliefs that centre on a conditional acceptance of who you are.

Saying things such as 'I've been a good girl because I've eaten only one piece of toast for breakfast' sends the direct message that we should accept ourselves only if we are restricting our natural instincts. And this is counterproductive.

Our acceptance of who we are should be unconditional, not based on calorie intake or dress size.

It is only when this happens that we will be able to value ourselves enough to eat healthier and to lead a happier, more positive lifestyle.

Daily Mail, UK newspaper

Yo-yo-ing under fad diet - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Coming soon.

If you don’t know how to manage your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve food, you won’t be able to control your eating habits for very long. Diets so often fail because they offer logical nutritional advice, as if the only thing keeping you from eating right is knowledge. But that kind of advice only works if you have conscious control over your eating habits. It doesn’t work when emotions hijack the process, demanding an immediate payoff with food.

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What's your eating and drinking pattern?

Before you start your nutritional plan, keep a food diary. Record:

  • what you have
  • the time you have it
  • the amount/portion size
  • degree of hunger (i.e. how hungry you actually felt)
  • (optional) why you have that food and not something else
  • (optional) what and how much exercise you got that day

Do this for the next 5-7 days. You'll notice a pattern emerging.

You'll be shocked by what you think you have to what you actually have.

The food diary will help you:

  • Become more aware of your actual eating habit. This can help cut down on mindless munching.
  • Identify triggers to avoid, such as not eating enough throughout the day and then overeating at night.
  • Identify the places where you eat healthy and unhealthy food (e.g. you may find that you eat more unhealthy food at work/college/school then at home).
  • Understand how your emotions relate to your food choices.
  • Become more accountable. You may avoid eating something unhealthy so you don't have to write it down.

Remember, the whole point of the food diary is not to freak out how much rubbish food you may be eating but to identify your pattern and triggers so you can amend any unhealthy ones which are increasing your weight and preventing you from living a better life. Once you know these triggers it'd be crazy to continue with that lifestyle or pattern.

Studies show that a journal [i.e. food diary] doesn't just aid weight loss - it turbo-charges it. When researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research followed more than 2,000 dieters who were encouraged to record meals and snacks, they found that the single best predictor of whether a participant would drop weight was whether the person kept a food diary. It trumped exercise habits, age, and body mass index. The number of pounds people lost was directly related to the number of days they wrote in their log. (It's no coincidence that Weight Watchers, one of the most successful diet programs, asks participants to track what they eat).

Good Housekeeping (magazine)

Food that make you fat are...

Those containing sugar (specially processed or refined sugar) and starchy carbohydrates. Avoid fried food and those high in fat, salt and/or oil.

Table 1: Reduce/control consumption of these fatty food to lose weight
Meal Snacks & drinks Ingredients
White riceCrispsWhite sugar
White breadFizzy drinks (include 'diet' drinks, which contain artificial sweeteners)Cheese (specially cheddar and blue cheese)
PastaJuice and other sugar-sweetened drinksPotatoes
Deep fried and baked food (e.g. chips, burgers, pastries)Cream-heavy or sugar-rich food (e.g. tomato soup)Mayonnaise, salad cream, and other fatty condiment
Processed food (e.g. microwaved and frozen food)Baked potato with butter and cheese or other fatty filling (e.g sour cream)
Red meat (e.g. beef, lamb)Alcohol
Processed meat (e.g. sausage, bacon)

Source: Various including

Make healthy food the default - not the exception. Eat more of...

Vegetables, especially green vegetables. Also drink water regularly throughout the day.

Table 2: Great vegetables and fruits for healthy body
Meal Vegetable Fruit
Skinless chicken & turkeySpinachBerries (e.g. blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, blackberry, strawberry)
Oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, trout and herring)CabbageApple
Brown riceCauliflowerPomegranate
Whole grain breadBroccoliCitrus (e.g. orange, lemon, lime)
Whole-wheat pastaSweet potatoBanana
Lean cut meatCucumberNuts (e.g. almonds, mixed, pistachio, Brazil, cashew, walnuts)
CarrotsGrapes (especially red ones)
AubergineCoconut
LentilsAvacado
Beans (e.g. blackbeans, kidney, green)Cherries
Sweet peppers (aka capscium)Apricot
TomatoesKiwis
AsparagusMango
Peas
Pumpkins

Source: Various including

If you're already eating many of these food then great. Just make sure you eat them regularly, especially the vegetables. Remember there's no limit on how much vegetables you can have.

If on the other hand you don't eat them regularly then do it! Encourage and motivate yourself by making a list of goals. Just make sure your goal is:

  • important to you e.g. say "I want to do this" instead of "I should do this"
  • specific and positively stated e.g. "I will eat a low-fat yoghurt and piece of fruit after working out four times a week" instead of "I won't eat unhealthy food after working out"
  • under YOUR control e.g. "In the weekend I will buy the vegetables I need for the whole week" instead of "I'll let my mum do the shopping and eat anything decent she may buy"

Stock your kitchen with good foods to keep your body healthy and you satisfied as you cut calories. Buy fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and lean meats (round or loin cuts).

Eat a bit of protein with every meal to keep hunger at bay and to help preserve muscle as you’re cutting calories. Aim to have three ounces of protein with each meal. Three ounces of protein translates into any of the following:

  • 1½ ounces of nuts
  • 3⁄4 cup of cooked dry beans
  • a portion of meat or poultry the size of a deck of playing cards
  • a portion of fish about the size of a cheque book/checkbook
Sample food plan

Eat regularly throughout the day - but keep your portion small and healthy. Have a healthy snack between meals to boost energy and stop feeling hungry. Don't go long hours without snacking as you'll end up binging due to starvation.

Table 3: Examples of daily food meal
Breakfast Meal Snack
  • Porridge oats with semi-skimmed milk. Add mixed nuts (but make sure no sugar coating) topping or honey for taste
  • Boiled egg (but no more than 6 per week)
  • Toast made with wholemeal or granary bread
  • Oat cereal with half cup of 2% (vanilla) Greek yoghurt and mixed berries or banana topping
  • Chicken curry (with skin removed)
  • Lean lamb curry with spinach
  • Chapati (made with wholemeal bread and no added butter) with vegetable curry/side dish
  • Boiled rice with daal (or other pulses)
  • Scrambled egg with veg (e.g. broccoli, tomatoes, spinach & red onion)
  • Roasted chicken with little curry gravy + baked sweet potato + carrot + broccoli
  • Grilled chicken with honey + roasted vegetables (e.g. carrots, asparagus, beans, pepper)
  • Omlette with herbs and red onion + roasted broccoli
  • Fresh fruit (e.g. apple, orange, grapes)
  • Handful of unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, cashew, mixed nuts, etc). Avoid processed ones (e.g. sugar, salt, or chocolate-coated)
  • Handful of cherries and berries
  • Low-fat yogurt raita

Source: Various including

Healthier alternative
Table 4: Better alternative to common food and drink
Swap... with

Breakfast

Whole milk (or pasteurised milk)Semi-skimmed, 1% fat or even skimmed milk
White breadWholemeal bread (not brown bread as it's just a coloured version of white)
Sugar-coated breakfast cerealWhole grain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded whole grain wheat cereal with no added sugar
A sprinkle of sugar on your breakfast cerealTopping of fresh or dried fruit, which counts towards one of your five a day
Breads made with ghee (e.g. parathas, puris, peshwari naan)Wholemeal or grainy bread
Chapatis, rotis, naan breadChapatis without fat (e.g. no ghee or butter). Choose healthier spreads (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat and low-fat varieties) rather than butter
Omlette cooked in butterOmlette cooked in tiny amount of olive oil
Butter or gheeLower-fat, unsaturated fat spreads

Meal

Frying (e.g. fish, chicken, meat, etc)Grill, boil, steam and bake
Vegetable cooking oil(Extra virgin) olive oil, soya, sunflower oil. Use oil sparingly. Using non-stick cookware for deep-frying can help you to limit the use of oil when cooking curries
Chicken with skinSkinless chicken grilled or roasted without fat
White riceBrown (basmati) rice. Or have smaller portion (i.e. fistful) of white rice
White (plain) flour or chapatiWholemeal flour or chapati
Fried riceBoiled rice
Fatty meat (e.g. lamb breast, duck)
  • Lean meat (e.g. lamb or beef) grilled or roasted without fat
  • Liver and kidney
  • Cut down on fat by changing the menu and cooking dishes that require no frying
Deep-fried vegetables
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Raw, boiled, steamed or grilled vegetables
Creamy or cheesy sauces on your pasta, meat or fish dishesTomato- or vegetable-based sauces

Snacks

Sugar in teaHoney
Sugar-coated biscuits
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruit (e.g. strawberry, plum, peach, etc)
Fizzy drink100% fruit juice (with no added sugar) mixed with soda water
Crisps
  • Low-fat crisps
  • Nuts & seeds
Deep-fried, thinly cut chipsThick-cut, reduced-fat oven chips. Avoid adding extra salt. Avoid soggy batter and soggy chips as this is a sign that they have absorbed lots of fat from being cooked in oil at the incorrect temperature
Sandwich with mayonnaise (or salad dressings)Sandwich with no mayo (or low-fat salad dressing)

Source: NHS & British Heart Foundation's pamphlet "Cut the Saturated Fat"

Late night snacking or eating before sleep

We all do it. But here are few healthier alternative to satisfy our craving during the night:

  • Cherries = A natural food source of melatonin, or the "sleep" hormone.
  • Green leafy vegetables = From kale and spinach to broccoli, all leafy green veg is packed with magnesium, which is commonly referred to as "nature's tranquilliser." Salad = sleep. Simple.
  • Kiwi fruit = In some instances kiwi can increase a person's total sleep time and quality. Kiwi is also good for cellulite, a condition in which the skin appears to have areas with underlying fat deposits, giving it a dimpled, lumpy appearance.
  • Oats, banana, and yoghurt = All natural sources of tryptophan, the amino acid that our body uses to make the sleep-inducing substances serotonin and melatonin.
  • Nuts and seeds = Another good source of tryptophan. Plus, nuts and seeds are also packed with magnesium, which has many benefits including reduced symptoms from conditions such as chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia.
More food tips...
  • Weekend is NOT an excuse to go 'bad' – don't be good throughout the weekday and think you can binge in the weekend as a reward. You're likely to end up pilling on all the calories that you've lost during the weekday. You may even add more weight. Instead, incorporate your comfort food as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Never skip breakfast – have a large breakfast as you have rest of the day to burn it off.
  • Drink water regularly throughout the day – keeps you hydrated, helps break down food, cleanse your system. Invest in a decent sized water bottle and bring it to work.
  • Be careful of ‘healthy’ food having fatty dressing or fillings (e.g. sandwiches with cheese, mayonnaise, etc).
  • Have salad regularly with meal. Great way to keep energised and healthy, especially for kids. Make exciting salad (rather than the typical lettuce-tomato combination).
  • Eat lentils (daal) and other pulses (e.g. kidney beans) regularly.
  • Cut down on sugary and salty products e.g. sugar-coated biscuits, fizzy drinks, crisps, etc.
  • Remember, most of the time we eat with our eyes – so eat from a smaller plate to make your meals look bigger.
  • Eat 4-5 hours before sleep. Gives you time to burn the food and avoid storing it as fat. Avoid night-time snacking too – eat a fruit instead.
  • After frying spices, pour off any extra oil before you continue cooking.
  • When you finish cooking, drain off some oil from the top of the pan before serving.
  • Buy a non-stick pan and spray oil or use small amount of olive oil when frying onion and spices or making a tarka.