I learnt this early on, when I was first introduced to my personal nutritionist, that it was useful to log everything that I would eat in the next three to five days, which included weighing my meals and adding my training schedule. This method also enabled my nutritionist to understand my routine and how my body processed energy.
However, I did face several challenges.
Despite my best efforts to control the right amount of food for my body, I surprisingly felt my energy levels were lower, especially when I trained at high intensity. After consulting with my nutritionist, I was told to have a recovery meal or drink within 30 minutes of the workout, and anything later would cause my body to miss out on the crucial window for recovery. Since then, I make sure to always have a little snack or shake with me after training, infinitely makes me feel better.
As a professional athlete then, my primary dietary focus had been to ensure that my body is getting the best nutrients it needs to perform at its best. I discovered that my body responded better when I made some switch in my daily consumptions, such as swapping dairy milk with almond milk and sugar with honey or taking my black tea in the mornings with no sugar and milk to cut out animal fat and processed sugar.
Now that I’m retired, I eat a lot less since my metabolism isn’t working overtime. I keep to my three-meal-a-day routine and occasionally shift the meal portions around. Compared to when I was competing where I had a small breakfast, medium-sized lunch, and a big dinner, I now keep to a smaller and lighter meal at night since I’m not doing anything after 8pm.
Food is so engrained in our culture and lifestyle that now the thought of starving off nasi lemak for long periods is daunting. Instead, I find that making minor tweaks to my lifestyle by balancing my meal each day is a better and healthier approach. One method that has worked for me is to have a meal plan for the week. You can have full control of your meal plan and may include your cravings as well. With a general idea of what you will be eating during the week, you will be able to better focus on what is in front of you and help you avoid eating something else out of your schedule.