Nasi Lemak & Fitness 101: Calorie Flaws

This is not your standard “diet” article. It is imbued with controversy, and I will piss people off.

That’s great. I’d like to leave an impression.

Haters, skeptics, non-beliebers, I implore you- stay till the end. Then, judge.

Kerabu rice

I am a true, blue (yellow and white and red) Malaysian.

The fitness wave has swept the country by storm. With this wave came a crusade to everything wonderful about Malaysian food.

The war on carbs, holocaust on sugar, and fats-sacre are everyday campaigns by Instagram fitness gurus who push clean eating.

But why?

According to mainstream media, it’s making our asses fat, and killing us by the second (bite).

(I thought about writing a long-ass post bashing on “eating clean”, but I’m all about that #goodvibes. Also, someone else already did a good job – check it out here).

The Change I’m For

Going out of your way to eat clean with the goal of looking good is testing to the human body and mind; an unnecessary test.

When we deprive ourselves of the foods we are fond, most of us will lose weight, but more often than not, we find ourselves forced back to start position after falling off track and gorging our faces off; the cycle repeats

This is being promoted by models who post heavily edited pictures on social media, preying on the hearts of millions, who ultimately end up in a destructive loop.

“Write about something
that makes you angry”

– a quote from a podcast I can’t remember

Anger stirred the creation of this guide’s framework. But I’m no longer angry.

I’m enlightened, if you’re willing to listen, I’ll do my best to teach.

I am obsessed with teaching the art of eating anything and maintaining a good figure, a healthy mind, and a healthy body (in this order); I think the former 2 precipitates the latter.

I am confident that this is the way we as Malaysians can finally end the struggle between “health” and “life”. The solution is is fairly simple.


Let’s get started.

The Malaysian Body Guide

This guide requires you to count calories.

Calories are extremely important. It is the primary factor that determines the success of your diet. Heck, it should even be factor 2, 3, 4 .

However, let us start off by detailing the flaws of calorie counting.

Problems with Calorie Counting

Foods come in 3 main macronutrients, and the caloric breakdown of each are:

1g protein = 4 calories
1g fat = 9 calories
1g carbohydrate = 4 calories

Flaw 1

1 gram of protein, despite being 4 calories, does not equate to 4 calories when consumed.


What the hell?

Almost 30% of the energy consumed in 1g of protein (30% of 4 calories = 1.2 calories) will be lost in the process of the nutrient’s breakdown; this phenom is called Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).

On the other hand, fats (9 calories per gram) is stored with close to 100% efficiency. (Source)

Flaw 2

The more we eat, the more we burn. How?

The above stated TEF plays a role. Also, another component,  NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), is involved in this miracle.

NEAT is something rather innate (reason to praise your parents), explaining why a leaner person is more likely to subconsciously fidget, move around, perform burpees and backflips in between replying e-mails.

In contrast, a fatter person will feel like gravity is doubled after overeating.

Flaw 3

Similar calories from different macronutrients elicit different physiological responses.

What this means: 2000 calories from carbohydrates only, versus 2000 calories of optimal amount of protein, fats and carbohydrates, will make a huge difference in how you look.

Also, 500g of carbs from brown rice and 500g of carbs from sugar makes you feel and perform extremely different, despite both totalling 2000 calories.

These factors are important when we talk lifting.

Flaw 4

Your body is organic.MFP

You don’t burn exactly what a formula says you will. MyFitnessPal* puts you at 2550 calories? You’ll be closer to 2800 calories on sexy time days, and around 2300 calories on Game Of Thrones marathons.

(*I didn’t meant to diss the app- it is amazing. I personally use it to track my calories, I find it better than other apps in the market)

Calorie counting isn’t perfect

It’s the closest thing we have to being objective.

Screw Perfection.jpg

Till part 2.

The main reason why this took forever for me to post (I bought this domain back in June 2016) is the fact that I want to cover every single aspect on the topic of food tracking. I needed it to be complete, even my outline was longer than this post. 

I needed up to date journals, provide the right formula, to prepare perfectly.

This paralyzed me.

It took me a while to finally come to terms with the fact that this isn’t for my idols, this is for you.

The Malaysian Body needs to be bigger than me and my desire to impress people in the industry, it has to be for the non-fitness people whose life could potentially transform; I will write with that in mind.

Lin Yu Tang Quote

8 thoughts on “Nasi Lemak & Fitness 101: Calorie Flaws

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