Transgender model stays slim without skipping snacks

By Minh An   September 14, 2023 | 03:00 pm PT
Ha Anh, a transgender model who made it to the top 10 at the 2023 Miss International Queen Vietnam contest, maintains her 62-centimeter waist without skipping any meals, including snacks.
Nguyen Vu Ha Anh, 25. Photo courtesy of Anh

Nguyen Vu Ha Anh, 25. Photo courtesy of Anh

The 25-year-old model applies a "three main meals, two snacks" rule to her daily diet and only eats until she feels 80% full to maintain her slim figure. She focuses on providing her body with all of the four mandatory nutrient groups - carbohydrates, protein, fats, and vitamins and minerals - through her diet plans, limiting the amount of carbohydrates she takes in, and controlling her portions by rarely eating out.

Anh usually has a boiled egg and a banana or potato with plain milk for breakfast. She sometimes has nuts or cereal too.

For her lunch, Anh often prepares dishes that are rich in nutrition and low in calories, such as vegetables or brown rice.

Meanwhile, she has boiled dishes, most of the time fish, meat, and vegetables, for dinner.

Besides these three main meals, Anh has two snacks throughout the day, at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Her favorite snack choices are sugar-free yogurt and low-sugar fruits, including dragon fruit, watermelon, or guava. Having snacks helps Anh avoid feeling hungry or exhausted, even with her intensive workload.

"I voluntarily set these rules for myself, so I find following them joyful instead of stressful," Anh said.

According to Anh, the dishes she often has are all easy to find and prepare. Still, she frequently alternates between different dishes and does not rely on any one food source.

Anh finds the most challenging thing she encounters while maintaining her lifestyle is that her intensive workload sometimes prevents her from having time to prepare her meals and maintain a stable sleeping pattern.

She also exercises on a daily basis to maximize the effect of diet plan. Squats, sit-ups, and plank are among her favorite exercises because they help her maintain her toned figure and improve her core strength.

"Losing weight is a long journey, and maintaining the decreased weight is another difficult problem," Anh said. "But you have to be patient and determined to become the best version of yourself."

Anh can now pull off various fashion styles thanks to her nice figure. Photo courtesy of Anh

Anh can now pull off various fashion styles thanks to her nice figure. Photo courtesy of Anh

Anh’s lifestyle is backed up by science.

Dr. Nguyen Van Tien at the National Institute of Nutrition says eating less for more meals throughout the day is better than limiting the number of meals but taking in a lot of food on each occasion. He recommends people not strictly rely on specific dishes, nor eat things that are too different from their usual diets.

"Adjusting the portion of dishes that you usually have guarantees the effect," Tien says.

Scientists claim that small meals help people to have more balanced cholesterol levels, as studies have shown those who have more than four meals a day have a lower level of neutral fat and a higher level of the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) compared to those who have less than three meals a day. The higher the level of HDL someone has, the less likely they are to suffer from cardiac diseases.

It is worth keeping in mind that those who are on a diet should provide themselves with all of the four necessary nutrient groups as well. Deep-fried, stir-fried and heavily-sauced dishes, as well as sugary beverages, should be minimized. Dishes that are rich in fiber and low in calories should be added to the plans of those who want to lose weight.

However, David Levitsky, nutrition and psychology professor at the US’ Cornell University, argued that those who experience binge-eating disorder may find sticking to the three-meal rule more effective in helping them control the amount of food they take in a day.

"Simply cutting down on snacks and supper helps these people lower the amount of calories they take in their bodies, which contributes to helping them lose weight."

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