How to Diet like a “Tau Keh”

I write for myself, and for people needing help.

But today, I’m writing for a select few who seem to have everything right in the world: recognition, wealth, influence- The “Tau Keh”s of the world.

VADER

(I use the broad term “Tau Keh” to encompass individuals holding high positions in a company: CEOs, directors, senior managers, chairpersons, owners etc)

The “Struggle” at the Top


Backstory: several Tau Kehs that train with me struggle with their diet.

The recurrent pattern: Social obligations that involve food. They overeat in luncheons, dinners, galas, meetings etc.

A environment of “abundance” promotes overeating, and these are by no means small makan affairs, though I still don’t understand the logic of 10 course meals when 3 is more than enough.

20160119_192800
2 hours after dinner began. Food kept coming in even when everyone’s stuffed silly.

In social events, willpower is as useful as a plastic knife in a zombie outbreak.

On a dinner table, “No” is as hard to say as it is to be done. How do you reject a business associate’s second serving of cake? How do you leave a full bowl of food untouched when everyone’s chowing?

Tau Kehs are as human as we are. They suffer from the same diet pitfalls as we do. Going to yumcha sessions and order nothing; pass on a piece of cake handed by the birthday girl; not many of us can do that.

How do you combat this ineradicable human nature?

You don’t.

In this post, I’ll showcase 2 strategies to help tau kehs and busy adults alike navigate and win at social eating.

Prelude


These strategies follow this basic tenet: Weight loss = consume less calories than you burn.

Rule # 1: Calorie in < Calorie Out = weight loss. 

You can literally do anything with respect to this rule and lose weight, but some methods work better than others.

  1. Meal frequency: If you’re only eating 1800 calories, eating 3 meals of 600 calories is more fulfilling (and psychologically satisfying) than eating 6 meals of 300 calories.
  2. Food type: Eating mostly satiating food makes it easier to adhere to a low calorie diet.  Avoid drinking your calories.

The Clean Myth:

With wealth comes the capability to eat “better” foods, but better foods are still subject to the law of thermodynamics. Eat more, you gain more.

BATMAN

Food quality plays a huge role, but it is still subservient to calories. However “clean” a food may seem to be, there is a consumption “tipping point” that leads to weight gain, and that tipping point is going above your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (do your math here).

I’d like for everyone to understand that almost all foods are OK to consume, just be wary of your total calorie intake.

This is basically a long winded prelude to say: Don’t shun food at the company dinner of your own company. GEDDIT?! 

Dieting like a Tau Keh


1. Win at Breakfast

Let’s unleash the elephant into the room, you don’t need to eat a large breakfast.

There is no metabolic nor health benefit to consuming food immediately upon waking up. Martin Berkhan of LeanGains laid out a solid argument (point 7) on why the myth perpetuates.

Now, for those who are used to eating close to 1000 calories for breakfast, this takes time to adjust.

A small breakfast allows room for more food during lunch and dinner, where most social feeding occur.

Remember, in such events, saying no to people and food is 103424 x impossible. So, prepare beforehand.

grandmas-got-a-gun-colleagues-be-like-you-sure-youre-not-eating.jpg

At the comfort of your home, eat less. Eating less doesn’t mean starve. Certain foods better suit breakfast than others.

Typical breakfast foods: cereal and milk, coffee and kaya toast, roti canai and milo, all pack tons of calories without the satiety.

BFAST
Recipe for a huge lunch.

On the other hand, low GI food combination: sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin, casein protein powder, whey powder, eggs, bacon, fill you up due to their high fiber and protein content.

Sample first meal: Both at 400 calories (48g protein from whey/ casein), leaving me 2000 calories to consume for lunch and dinner, which looks like this:

2. Surrender Breakfast

An extreme version of strategy 1, again popularized by Martin Berkhan. For the detailed approach, check out leangains guide.

Skipping breakfast creates an even larger room for social feeding in later meals.

In short, it’s basically consuming one’s whole day’s worth of caloric intake in an 8 hour feeding window. I.e., if your first meal is at 2pm, your last meal would end at 10pm, during times outside your feeding window, consume  no calories. Zero calorie beverages are fine (coffee with stevia, americano, water etc).

As-Dark-as-Black-Coffee

Skipping breakfast creates an even larger room for social feeding in later meals.

Having a large caloric “quota” also opens up room for that slice of cake and that bottle glass of wine.

Note: Entirely scrapping breakfast is an even harder adjustment to get used to. Anecdotally, people usually get used to it after a week, but for anyone with gastric issues, consult a physician, experiment carefully.

On Leading


I write for myself, then for people needing help.

In the sea of information, I cringe at the ones that suck. I cringe a lot.

Though it worked for me, and dozens others, I’m not naive enough to think my method is law. There are many ways to tackle a problem, and none of them may work for you.

I merely wish my writing inspires trial, and through the trial, navigate, and find your own methods.

Perhaps then, you can lead others to the right path with your approach.

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“Leading”, 1 Nasi Lemak at a time.

In a connected world, it’s easy scroll through portrayals of successful people and conclude “Wow, they’re amazing, I can never do that”.

While this is not the point of this article, I implore everyone to look at the commonalities we share these “immortals”: We share the same diet flaws, we share the same strategies to fix them.

I wanted to type something cliched like “we’re not that different after all”, but we are, and that’s the beauty of it. If it hasn’t been done, then it can’t be quantified, you don’t have to “outdo” anyone, you don’t have to outdo these superstars.

You just have to do. 

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