Plate rule helps woman lose 13 kg

By Thuy Quynh   November 28, 2023 | 04:01 pm PT
Vo Thi Nguyet Han, 44, successfully lost 13 kg after applying the plate rule, which means classifying food sources carefully and limiting her eating red meat intake, for six months.

Han is a housewife in the Southeastern Dong Nai Province. At a height of 1.5 meters, she used to weigh 62 kg. Han’s body type gains weight easily, and she did not have much knowledge about dieting, and had never heard of controlling her daily calorie intake. She often found herself gaining weight uncontrollably, which made her lose confidence and suffer from osteoarthritis.

Her weight loss journey started when earlier this year she sought help from a nutrition coach, Phan Thai Tan, who introduced her to the plate rule, as well as how to categorize foods based on their protein origins and cooking methods. She managed to lower her body mass to 49 kg after six months, while reducing her waist measurement from 80 cm to 64 cm.

Han now weighs 49 kg only. Photo courtesy of Han

Han now weighs 49 kg only. Photo courtesy of Han

Based on Tan’s recommendation, Han started eating her vegetables at the beginning of every meal, then protein-rich dishes, and concluding each meal with carbohydrates.

Tan said starting a meal with vegetables enhances digestive system functions. Starting a meal with rice or meat may activate the gastric mucosa to generate acidic juice to process solid foods, which may cause gastric pains.

"Health experts say filling your empty stomach with vegetables makes you feel more content and thus limits your appetite, which helps control your carbohydrates and fat intake," the nutritionist said.

Han now uses a variety of vegetables in her meals, which account for half of her diet plan. She often chooses plants that are widely available and have at least two different types of vegetables in each meal. She sometimes has fermented vegetables to take in more probiotics, as well as fruit for more vitamins and minerals.

The remaining half of Han’s meal is protein and carbohydrates. For her sources of protein, Han prioritizes poultry, nuts, and peas while keeping her weekly intake of dairy products and red meat under 500 grams only. She also avoids processed foods like sausages and ham.

Experts recommend limiting red meat intake. While this calorie-high food source does have several health benefits, it often causes people to take in more energy than needed, resulting in weight-gain. Research has shown that people who eat too many animal products, particularly red meat, are more prone to obesity, which in turn may lead to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and cancers.

Han’s main sources of carbohydrates are brown rice, whole-grain bread, potatoes, cereal, and peas. She minimizes refined carbohydrates from white rice and white bread. When she has no choice other than white rice, she lowers the proportion of this carbohydrate in her meal and provides her body with more protein and vegetables as compensation.

One of Han’s meals. Photo courtesy of Han

One of Han’s meals. Photo courtesy of Han

Cooking methods are another facet that Han now invests deep consideration in. She focuses on eating raw foods that have low Glucose Indexes, while boiled dishes come next, and grilled and deep-fried foods are her least common choices.

She also replaces animal fat and margarine in cooking with other healthy alternatives like olive or avocado oil.

Throughout her day Han has three main and one to two side meals, with the interval between two consecutive meals being at least four hours. She drinks mostly water, but she also drinks a variety of teas to boost her metabolism.

In order to maintain her mood during her weight loss process, Han has Sundays as her "cheat days" when she lets herself eat whatever she wants. Still, she exercises more on such days, and before meals drinks a cup of warm water and eats a spoon of organic cinnamon to clean her stomach and decrease her calorie intake.

She also hits the gym three to four times a week aiming to make her body more toned and boost her weight loss efficiency.

Applying these rules, Han managed to keep her weight under control without having to skip meals.

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