Since February 6th, I have been eating a Nasi Lemak a day for a streak of 30 days.
On 22 February 2017, at Day 17 of this experiment. I dropped 4kgs:
On Day 31 (8th March 2017), I lost a further 1kg
In this post, I lay out the psychological and physical strategies of the #NasiLemakDiet, and showcase the hows and whys eating Nasi Lemak is possible for weight loss.
Important: I don’t recommend anyone to do this diet. This is a personal experiment, one i’m using to analyze my own eating habits and help people who are lead nowhere by “traditional” dieting advice. Please take away more than “omg this guy lost weight eating Nasi Lemak, I can do the same too” without further context.
The 6-step guide to Nasi Lemak weight loss:
- Calculate your maintenance calories, eat 20% below that.
Within that calorie deficit, eat 1.5- 2g of protein per kg body weight (e.g., 60kg bodyweight, eat 90 to 120g protein).
Eat 1g of fiber per 100 calories you consume (i.e., 2000 calories, 20g fiber).
Eat 1 Nasi Lemak meal a day.
Eat mostly whole foods to fill rest of your meals/ calories.
Lose weight, troll people, win at life.
Why this works?
Somewhere, somehow, we got our nutritional priorities wrong.
It’s not the type of food, it’s not supplements, it’s not eating after 7pm,
It’s not carbs, it’s not fat, it’s not beer, it’s not sugar. It’s not noodles vs rice.
It is the amount of food you eat. Amount = Calories
Your calorie intake is by far the most important factor in weight loss. But don’t quote me saying they are the only factor.
(For a deeper understanding of the topic. Renaissance Periodization, 3DMJ, Alan Aragons Research Review, Lyle Mcdonald are online treasure troves that deserve much, much more attention.)
There are 6 psychological “tricks” I’ve applied to “hack” this diet, raising the success rate.
1. Create accountability
On day 0: I posted this FB status: If I don’t lose 8 kg in 100 days, eating a Nasi Lemak a day, I’ll be RM750 poorer.
I also booked a video shoot in May for my company- FITBOX, with myself as the talent. No business owner in his right mind wants a fat ass to model for his company.
Negative reinforcement is a powerful tool. Fear of losing is oftentimes more powerful motivator than incentives.
2. 0 choices = 0 distractions
We make more than 200 food related decisions a day; that’s a ton of cognitive load.
As absurd as this sounds, having to eat a serving of Nasi Lemak everyday nullifies much of my food decision making.
Side note: Variety increases eating capacity. Do you stop at one plate in buffets?
When dieting: “Should I eat? Where should I eat? What should I eat? How much should I eat?” are questions that shatter an already weakened willpower, leading me to my next point.
“It’s far easier to change our environment than to change our mind”.
The week prior to the Nasi Lemak Diet, I “cleansed” my kitchen and fridge.
I devoured 3 packets of Tim Tams and 3 x 1 liter boxes of ice cream. Not recommended, but this “purification” was the set up to a pain free diet.
It had to be done: convenience and accessibility leads to consumption.
If I had to make eye contact with Tim Tams every time pass the kitchen, I had a life changing decision to make. Even after 10 successful “No”s, it just takes a big, fat, delicious “Yes” to create a 500 calorie dent in my diet. Tim Tams make are my kryptonite.
“Your willpower sucks.”
Indeed, thus I don’t rely on it. Reliance on will power posits that it has to be ON 24/7. There will be a point where it exhausts. Designing my environment to work for me, rather than the opposite was the main idea behind the “cleanse”.
I can get 2 delicious Nasi Lemaks within 5 minutes from my place. I just pop by the stalls on the way home. In one stall, I don’t even need to leave the car (McDonald’s who?).
Clean or not, forcing yourself to eat somewhere 30 minutes from your home/ workplace isn’t ideal. Not to mention the absurd price point (a digression worth getting into)
For busy adults, lack of convenience is a major hindrance to a diet adherence.
Pick an accessible place, it’s a decent trade off.
I’m having a ton of fun doing this. The whole process is enjoyable.
From posting daily Nasi Lemak on Instagram, to writing daily takeaways from eating Nasi Lemak, to seeing a weekly drop on the scale, to envisioning my final physique on shoot day.
(and an even absurd goal, to grace a magazine cover holding a packet of Nasi Lemak).
It’s extremely important to have complete enthusiasm and delight in whatever you do, even if it’s dieting.
Setting an achievable goal is extremely important,
However, people set up to absurd “outcomes”: Lose 10kg in a month to get into a wedding dress, to get beach ready.
8kgs in 100 days is doable for me, if broken down, it’s a 600g weekly drop. Also, instead of setting goals, I set habits – 3x a week of weight training and at least 5x a week of eating below 2.5k calories, not perfect but within my capacity.
Will I see better results if I eat “better” foods?
I’d love a good bowl of brown rice, grilled chicken, vegetables, they’re awesome. I’d probably lose weight faster as it’s a more satiating dish than Nasi Lemak.
But I don’t have the time, nor do I want to spend an astronomical fee for food that doesn’t necessarily translate to superior health or results.
For the hardcore #fitspo crowd, i’ll probably be criticized for my lack of willpower, strength, determination, compassion, IQ, culture, humor, righteousness, sexual prowess…
But honestly, I just don’t have the fucking time, and I don’t want to make time for it.
For the busy crowd out there, via the #NasiLemakDiet, I want to showcase that lack of time or budget to “eat clean” is not a curtain call to your fitness journey.
I eat Nasi Lemak everyday to lower the barrier of entry into “fitness”. Fitness should fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around.
The journey is far from over, I have 69 (lol) more days of Nasi Lemak adventures to go. Follow me on Instagram or check out the hashtag #NasiLemakDiet !