How to eat right to lose weight

by Ria de Fiesta,

Posted at Mar 22 2014 01:37 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2014 09:41 AM

MANILA – Did you know that the best food for dieting include nilagang baka and pochero?

According to US-certified food nutritionist and chef Nadine Tengco, the two viands have soup, vegetables, and protein, "so you don’t have to eat so much rice."

"But not sinigang, because sinigang preps you up to eat more rice," she explained.

Tengco said rice per se is not the problem, but the amount of rice that one eats. The ideal amount of rice one should ingest every mealtime is only 1/4th of a plate.

A divided plate, she said, should contain half vegetables, 1/4th rice, and 1/4th protein.

"I have devised a way of cooking rice so that you don’t eat as much and you don’t feel deprived of it. I call it extended rice," she said.

She explained that if you put small pieces of cut vegetables (carrots, sayote, bell pepper, cabbage) to 1/3 cup of rice, it would become one cup.

"You’ll believe you’re eating a cup of rice, when you’re just eating 1/3 cup," she said.


Tengco, a nutrition coach in "The Biggest Loser Philippines," has made recipes specifically for the contestants:

Lemon water, Tengco said, stimulates digestion, preps the body, encourages detoxification and the creation of bile, so one can efficiently flush out toxins.

According to Tengco, eggs curb the appetite for the whole day. The cholesterol in the egg is not bad, she said.

"That’s old science," she added.

The mid-morning snack is optional, according to Tengco. “But if you have breakfast around 6 a.m., then you need a snack by 9 a.m.,” she said.

Tengco said skipping breakfast is a no-no if one wants to lose weight.

"My most non-negotiable is carbs for breakfast because when you sleep, you use up all the glycogen in your muscle. If you don’t feed your brain, you get brain fog and you start eating yourself up and you get muscle waste if you don’t eat carbs for breakfast. So lunch is where I advise you to skip carbs because you get lethargic," she said.

"Mid-merienda is non-negotiable because at noon to dinner is about 7 to 8 hours so you have to break that," she said.

Tengco said soup is warm in the stomach and sends signal to the brain that you are already getting full.

"The belly trimmer stimulates movement the next day, especially for people who have problems moving. It also aids in detoxification and flushing," she said.


Tengco, who helps create diet programs for celebrities, said eating is an emotional isseue for many people.

"Usually people think that you have to eat to nourish yourself. You have to eat according to what you want, your preference, your lifestyle, and there are so many components to eating," she said.

Emotional eating, according to her, is really something that is very common-like.

"Stress eating, if you notice, you’re always eating a lot of salty food and chips, and you want to bite on to something. That’s stress. When you want to eat a lot of sweets and fatty food, that’s actually a sign of sadness or depression, and you turn to comfort food. Fatigue is more stress, so you want salty food and sweet food. Happy food boosts happy hormones and chocolate gives you that," Tengco said.

But she said people don’t have to deprive themselves of eating sweets, especially after working out.

"There is a grace period, 60-90 minutes, immediately after working out. But this should not be abused. When you’ve used up your glycogen in the muscle, you need to replenish it so you eat sugar immediately after. That goes into the cells replenishing glycogen, so it’s not stored as fat," according to Tengco.

She also shared that there are four nutrients that when eaten together, can lower blood levels and can lessen fat in the body. These are fiber, which can come from vegetables; calcium from dairy products or malunggay; Omega 3 from fatty fish like tuna; and Vitamin D which can come from eggs and sunshine.


Tengco said that people, rather than have three square meals a day, need to eat every 3 to 4 hours because one’s blood sugar goes down.

"When blood sugar goes down a particular level, your body downshifts metabolism so it can extend its function. When it senses that it goes down that way, it shifts into what you call survival mode. You have to have energy to pump oxygen," she said.

"Mas mabuti pa kumain na maliliit na portion na madalas, kaysa marami na isang bulto lang. Pag nabusog ka na, itabi mo muna, balikan mo mamaya," she said.

Also, she said people need to know the difference between "gutom" and "gana."

"Ang gutom, nanggagaling sa tiyan, ang gana nanggagaling sa utak," she said.

According to Tengco, a perfect system works like this: If a person gets hungry, there’s a hormone which sends a signal to the brain that says it is hungry. It then triggers another hormone which gives you an appetite to eat. When you’ve eaten, another hormone kicks in, which says you’re full, and then you stop eating.

"The problem is, we don’t eat just because of hunger. We also eat based on our emotions," she said. "Pag stressed-out ka, ang body mo nangangailangan ng additional salt."

Right eating, she said, does not only mean eating just because your body needs it, but because we have to satisfy our appetite.

"Ang mga cravings, may pinanggagalingan na pagkukulang sa katawan," she said.