Bringing homemade lunch to work helps woman lose 11 kg

By Thuy An   December 31, 2023 | 03:06 pm PT
Nguyen Minh Ngoc, 25, meticulously plans her weekly menu, shops for groceries accordingly, and portions them for each day.

It takes her 15 minutes every morning to prepare lunch for work. Her typical meal includes chicken fillets, fish, pork, and fresh vegetables.

Ngoc said the habit, which she took up two years ago, has helped her lose 11 kg and stabilize her weight at 49 kg.

Although not a rice enthusiast, Ngoc had a weakness for snacks, particularly sweet treats like bubble tea. She once gained 10 kg in three months, leading to fatigue and irritation. Worried about her health, the young woman researched diet plans online and came up with articles with promising titles that mentioned losing 5 kg in seven days, rapid weight loss, or a diet that helps followers to shed 4-5 kg a week.

Attempting the diet plans she found, Ngoc eliminated all carbohydrates and most proteins from her meals, focusing on vegetables only. She experienced dizziness and fatigue after just a few days.

She changed her approach and started engaging in intense two-and-a-half-hour daily workouts. She only focused on high-impact exercises like jumping, running, and cardio, aiming for quick weight loss, but ended up noticing muscle loosening and a pale complexion.

From a lively girl, Ngoc lost her confidence because of her acne-prone skin and sluggish body.

"Restricting eating during the day and overindulging at night made me feel guilty," she said. "I tried to purge everything I ate each night."

Ngoc before her weight loss. Photo courtesy of Ngoc

Ngoc before her weight loss. Photo courtesy of Ngoc

After thorough research, Ngoc realized that weight loss is a journey that requires determination. She devised a feasible home workout schedule and adopted an "eat clean" diet which focuses on consuming raw and fresh food for healthy weight loss. This diet emphasizes raw fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats while reducing fast foods, processed foods, and sweets.

Ngoc found losing excessive fat the most challenging phase of her weight loss journey as she did not know how to control and measure her meals portions. Eating clean also meant investing in specific raw ingredients, and family meals sometimes hindered her diet plans.

Hence, she decided to tailor her portion control. She started her meals with vegetables, then protein sources like meat, fish, or eggs, and concluded them with a small bowl of rice. This sequence, combined with slow chewing, helped her feel content for a longer time.

She also applied the "plate rule" to control her carbohydrates intake. Each of her meals was divided on a plate, ensuring half was vegetables, a quarter carbohydrates, and the rest protein.

She alternated between various types of vegetables like spinach, cabbages, and cauliflowers. For carbohydrate sources, she chose brown rice, corn, and oats, while proteins came from lean pork, fish, chicken filet, and eggs. She also minimized sweet treats and fried, salty foods.

The "plate rule" effectively measures a meal's nutritional content. Similar to a pie chart in terms of shape, it helps visualize and control meal components.

"I initially found this diet challenging but eventually got used to it," Ngoc shared. "I also made sure to savor each bite."

Ngoc’s daily 30-minute to hour-long home workouts enhance her fitness. Photo courtesy of Ngoc

Ngoc’s daily 30-minute to hour-long home workouts enhance her fitness. Photo courtesy of Ngoc

As she had dinner with her family, Ngoc attempted to control her lunch’s portion by taking her home-cooked lunch to work. Doing so allowed her to adjust flavors and manage food intake.

She prepared and marinated ingredients in the evenings and refrigerated them. Waking up 15 minutes earlier, she readied her breakfast and lunch.

She frequently used an air fryer for efficiency, opting for water instead of oil in stir-fries and using mild seasonings. She occasionally cooked oil-required dishes.

"Being overly strict isn't necessary for weight loss," Ngoc advised. "Eating white rice with pork is fine, provided you exercise afterwards."

She emphasized self-discipline over stringent regimens for effective weight loss. Nutrition, she noted, contributes 70-80% to weight loss success, with exercise playing a crucial role as a combination of diets and exercise helps people achieve their desired result faster.

Ngoc's weight loss success led her to start a YouTube channel, sharing her exercise routines and diet plans, gaining widespread support.

Despite her weight loss, Ngoc maintains her "plate rule" diet, occasionally indulging in sweets or low-sugar bubble tea with colleagues. She allows herself a weekly "cheat day" when she eats whatever she likes without worrying about weight gain.

"It is okay even if it slows the fat loss process," she remarked. "What matters is maintaining good health, a positive mindset, and life satisfaction."

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