Woman sheds 5 cm off waist in two weeks with ‘handful’ diet

By Thuy Quynh   June 30, 2023 | 03:00 pm PT
The first thing Huyen does when having a meal is use her hand to calculate the amount of food she is about to eat. It’s known as the ‘handful' diet.

Dao Thi Huyen, 29, said she shed 5 centimeters off her waist thanks to this rule. For every meal, she eats a fist-sized portion of vegetables, a palm-sized portion of protein, a cupped-hand portion of carbohydrates, and a finger-sized portion of fat.

Huyen is 1.68-meter tall and weighs 55 kilograms, which is balanced. However, her waist is 71 centimeters, which means fat tends to go to her waist. She wants a slimmer waist without having to follow an intensive diet.

She attended a class about the basis of nutrients, learned how to have healthy and balanced meals, and managed to do that.

Huyen applies the handful diet in her lunch and dinner, and does not eat snacks. She usually has a palm-sized portion of salmon or mackerel, which is equivalent to 100 grams of protein and provides 200 calories per meal. Alternatives are red meat or eggs.

She chooses from vegetables in season for her fiber, and often has spinach or green pumpkin.

As her food intake contains all the nutrients needed, she does not feel tired or hungry.

Dao Thi Huyen, 29. Photo courtesy of Huyen

Dao Thi Huyen, 29. Photo courtesy of Huyen

The handful diet is recommended by nutritionists in estimating the amount of food a person should eat in a day. According to Good Health, this is a simple and easy-to-apply method, using people’s own hands to calculate the amount.

Nguyen Trong Hung, doctor at the National Institute of Nutrition, said this type of diet can be useful in controlling a person’s food intake and weight.

What Huyen has in a meal. Photo courtesy of Huyen

What Huyen has in a meal. Photo courtesy of Huyen

Huyen also follows the eat-clean and intermittent fasting methods to stay healthy. She prioritizes fiber in her diet, followed by protein and carbohydrates.

The eat-clean method focuses on consuming fresh, non-processed, and no-preservatives food.

The intermittent fasting method focuses on only consuming food at certain times of the day. People who follow this method normally eat in six to eight hours and completely not take any food into their bodies in the other 16 to 18 hours.

Other rules include leaving an interval of at least four hours between breakfast and lunch, as well as lunch and dinner. Meanwhile, dinner should be at least 12 hours ahead of breakfast the following day.

Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine in late-2021 suggests this method helps reduce stress levels and the risk of cancers and obesity, while increasing life expectancy and helping lose weight.

Dr Truong Hong Son, director at Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine, suggests taking vegetables before other dishes in a meal as it is beneficial for the digestive system and the way in which our bodies consume food.

An empty stomach will feel full after being filled with vegetables, and thus will not take in more food. As a result, people can better control the amount of sugar and fat they take in their bodies.

Huyen’s waist size reduced visibly after two weeks of following a healthy diet and exercising. Photo courtesy of Huyen

Huyen’s waist size reduced visibly after two weeks of following a healthy diet and exercising. Photo courtesy of Huyen

Huyen said the most difficult thing she encountered when following this healthy diet is that she had to get herself familiar with it in a short period of time, eat according to plans, and wholly cut out snacks.

She initially ate a little amount of food everyday as she believed the basis of losing weight was cutting down on food intake. However, after learning about healthy diet habits that still provide her with abundant nutrients, she now knows how to eat comfortably while maintaining her weight.

In addition to adapting her diet habits, she exercises four to five times a week, alternating between yoga and the gym, aiming to build up her muscles.

She suggests that people should not skip meals or cut carbohydrates and fat from their diets. Instead, they should adapt diet habits in accordance with their needs.

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