Laarni Yu Talks About Managing Your Food Habits

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Hi, I am Laarni, a Registered Nutritonist-Dietitian. Just like you, diet was and is my personal issue. Believe me, I totally understand every frustration, desperation, fear, and struggle that you have when it comes to dieting or being healthy in general. For many years since childhood, I was obese. Yes, you heard me right. I was obese, weighing 67 kilos at the height of 4’10 back then. So, why I took up Nutrition? That’s because I want to get inspired and be an inspiration to many people who share the same issue of weight. By profession, I specialize more on the therapeutic side of nutrition, specifically weight management.

1. What type of foods can help one stay healthy?

There’s no one type of food that can provide all the nutrients you need; that is why a balance of everything from protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals is necessary. Moderation is key. To stay healthy, access to nutritious foods should be the first to consider. Tolerance to a variety of food is also important to make sure the body can effectively absorb the nutrients otherwise it will only pose more health complications. Food should be prepared in simple ways, as much as possible, with natural and fresh ingredients without preservatives and unnecessary seasonings. Eat more fruits and vegetables, more fish than meat, eggs and dairy. If you must eat fat, make sure it’s good fat from nuts, avocado, coconut and fish.

2. What is your suggestion for people who have a perpetual hunger for fast food?

Hunger can be a state of mind. I believe hunger for fast foods is a battle of the mind more than anything. Food can be really enticing visually and can trigger a strong urge to eat. This is the case with junk food, which is advertised massively triggering all the senses and when you give in, it leads to unstoppable liking. A taste that you will crave mindlessly. To start, education about how fast food can damage one’s health can help. On the more practical side, I would simply recommend anyone with hunger for fast food to make it a conscious effort and commitment to stop whenever you feel like eating fast food. However, every once in a while it is alright to binge.

3. Can you tell us about the toughest case you have worked on and how you helped that person reduce cravings and get healthier?

The toughest case I guess is the craving that happens when a person is starting to diet and even more when the person has learned to control it and the moment she gave in again, it gets most difficult to control it again. The relearning process is the most difficult. Aside from that, I think quitting and starting all over again is second. As a Nutritionist, gauging the person’s level of willingness to relearn and continue is the key to unlock the person’s fear, hesitations, frustrations, and weaknesses. It’s a make or break decision but I choose to be bold with this question, “Do you still want to continue?” By the way, I ask this during the start of the conversation and take note of the person’s initial answer. Then further counselling follows, after which, I’ll ask the same question again. If I successfully reset the person’s motivation and confidence, then it is good. Otherwise, I will lay another set of options that will give the person another chance to continue. This process always works for me and my clients. Cravings are a whole lot more than just the urge to eat. Underlying issues should be the first to manage. Sometimes, cravings are just the first line of defense a person struggling from it has.

4. Why is it important to eat protein rich foods for breakfast?

A protein rich breakfast is important to make you feel full longer; it also aids in curbing your appetite and cravings later on. Protein is slower to digest, thus, sustaining you until the next meal. It makes you more alert; have it with some some form of carbohydrates to fuel the brain, especially in the morning.
5. Is it true that one needs to eat every 2 hours to stay healthy and lose weight effectively? If yes, what foods should they eat?

In my practice, 2-3 hours or 3-4 hours meal interval is a general recommendation. It depends on the person’s tolerance, activities, and culture of course. It can be 3 major meals with 2 snacks or 2 major meals and 2 snacks. What’s more important is to understand what a snack means. A piece of fruit is already a snack. A handful of nuts, a glass of fruit juice, and even a sandwich can be a snack. I advise more of protein and good fats for snack more than carb-loaded foods and sweets in order to manage further cravings. If the urge for something sweet is too strong, then opt for a piece of fruit or 2 squares of dark chocolate instead.

6. How can one eat 6 meals and still lose weight?

Eating 6 meals daily and still lose weight. It’s possible, given you have the proper portions,combining the right food groups and consuming them at the right time. It’s actually the best option to sustain energy and manage cravings.
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