This quote is the catalyst to the #NasiLemakDiet
“Just because the problem is hard,
doesn’t mean the solution has to be”
No doubt, losing weight is hard, but… what if the solution were so simple, you can eat 1 Nasi Lemak a day and get the shredz and the girls (and guys)?
After 59 Nasi Lemaks in 59 days:
In a previous post, I talk about how the #NasiLemakDiet is set up for success.
In this post, I’ll talk about some diet struggles, random shenanigans, insights, and Nasi Lemak recommendations.
6 Lessons from 60 days of Nasi Lemak
1. Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast
For a diet to succeed, there needs to be a deadline, there needs to be consequences. But more importantly, there needs to be room for shit to happen.
I don’t think setting huge goals is the way to go. Gigantic tasks paralyzes creation. You’ll likely spend most of the time asking: Where do I start?
Instead, set achievable goals bounded by achievable deadlines: In the early 70s, IBM has one of the lowest sales quota in the industry, but they kicked all their competitions’ asses. Why? Low quotas allowed IBM’s sales people to overshoot their sales quotas easily and not have a daunting and unattainable goal hanging over their heads.
It’s easier to set path towards a goal that’s visible along the horizon, rather than take the entire mammoth by the horns.
Personally, balancing between urgency and patience is the single biggest factor in adhering to 60 days of #NasiLemakDiet, and I believe it applies to other aspects of life, too.
2. Don’t Believe your own Bullshit
2 weeks into your diet, you’ll hear voices:
“I’m not going to fit into my clothes, screw diet”
“Oh man, I’ll lose all my strength in the gym”
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’m losing my Boobs!”
“Hmmm, if eating more increases metabolism, this snicker bar will help”
“I took the stairs today, I deserve this ice cream”
Our inner voice will be our greatest deterrent. You can choose to will through it, but you can also tackle the problem through smarter goal setting
Eyes on the prize, remember why you set out on this journey.
3. Rewiring Social Media
Survivorship bias is the logical error of focusing on people or things that “survived”, but overlooking those that did not due to their lack of visibility. (wiki)
When failures are overlooked, any idea seems bulletproof. However, for every successful UBER, there could be 1000 failures that never made the front page of “Entrepreneur”.
The fitness industry is no stranger to this logical fallacy. In fact, we thrive on it.
“Success” testimonials by clients is the most effective strategy to draw eyes to gym memberships, diet plans, supplements, training regime by a fitness “icon”.
In reality, the ones that make the spotlight are the tip of the iceberg, floating on the fats that cling unto unsuccessful clients.
Social media perpetuates survivor ship bias, and I’d like readers to approach the #NasiLemakDiet with this awareness: I am a “survivor”.
I am a personal trainer, I have had 8 years of exercise experience, I have existing muscle mass and strength. These explain the superior results.
If you’re new to lifting weights, it’s unlikely you’ll replicate the results at my rate. But I can say with certainty: With time, you will see results.
Despite the numerous factors surrounding this equation (read here), weight loss boils down to Calories IN < Calories OUT.
“It works for me, it will work for you” is not the main reason behind the #NasiLemakDiet. I merely wish for you to take action, fail, and repeat and learn.
4. The Best Nasi Lemak!
Here’s another logical fallacy: The guy who has eaten 60 Nasi Lemaks for 60 days straight is the best judge for the tastiest Nasi Lemak. I probably have the worst taste bud to offer Nasi Lemak recommendation.
Personally, I find that all good Nasi Lemaks follow a set recipe for success: fragrant santan rice, crispy fried chicken, spicy sambal with a touch of sweetness.
So, after 60 days, here’s my verdict:
But here’s an insight: You won’t go wrong crowds: Village Park, Nasi Lemak 223, bumbung are all decent selections.
However, for those expecting a listicle…
5. Two Must Try, Off-The-Radar Nasi Lemaks:
Nasi Lemak Wrap, La Juiceria
Regular readers would know my stance on “Eat Clean”, however, I cannot deny this: La Juiceria’s Nasi Lemak Wrap is a winning idea.
The fiery sambal is like paint to a canvas: the quinoa and tortilla wrap.
Adding to the taste is the well marinated (skinless) rendang chicken, crispy lettuce and cucumber. At the heart of the wrap is a soft boiled egg, with just the right runny-ness of the yolk, so you’re “eat clean” remains eat clean.
Note: Anchovies and peanuts are served separately, and Quinoa replaces rice in this “Nasi Lemak”. Though i’m sure they have an option to swap it with brown rice.
Address: Ground floor, Verve Shops, Mont Kiara. Operates from 8am to 10pm.
Nasi Lemak Jalan Setia Indah:
The aforementioned crowd rule applies to roadside stalls, too. You know a a spicy dish is worth your while when people sweat for it queuing under the 12pm heat.
This is my “go-to” stall for lunch. This family run stall serves a nice spread of dishes along with sambal that errs on the sweet side of the sweet-spicy spectrum (also has a unique hint of smokiness).
As a sucker for crunch and a hater of peanuts, the fresh ulam (shredded cabbage and leaves), is my favorite dish, along with their curry chicken breast that’s surprisingly tender.
Address: Along Jalan Setia Indah, opposite 99 market. Operates from around 930am to 4pm.
6. You WILL look like crap
Your weight will remain unchanged in the first few weeks of dieting.
If this doesn’t make you feel like crap, this will: Look in the mirror, you’ll probably look worse than your pre-diet state.
You now look softer, smaller, and “fluffier” than before. What the hell! Right? Here’s a simplified explanation to why “fluffyness” happens:
At a caloric deficit (where carb intake drops), muscle glycogen depletes. Muscle glycogen is what gives our muscle the “full” look. Thus, depleting muscle glycogen will make you look like you shrunk, or lose muscle “tone” in the first phases of diet.
“Then why don’t I look leaner?”
While fat loss is bound to occur at a microscopic level, it doesn’t immediately reflect visually. For every cell of fat we lose, we’re left with “fat pockets”. While these empty “fat pockets” no longer hold fat cells, they’ll be filled up with water, causing us to largely retain the “soft” look.
Imagine having to wear an oversized jacket, hiding our results.
Saturated fat pockets + shrinking muscle size = Perfect combo to looking like crap. This is where the self-defeating talks occur.
For lovers of surprises, good news: fat loss suddenly shows once the water flushes, and it’s not uncommon for dieters to lose 2kgs and appear slimmer overnight.
For Type-As (myself and many clients) who much prefer steady fat loss rather than a jumpy one, this can cause massive stress, increasing cortisol, which further promotes water retention; a vicious cycle.
Sadly, during the course of a diet, it’s not uncommon to face this several times.
I have no way around this, but here’s an analogy I find pertinent:
“Fat loss is like a holiday season drive on the NKVE, it ain’t smooth, and the hardest part is when you’re closest to your destination”
But the destination will be worth it.
Beauty In Chaos
Rice, anchovies, dried chili, cucumber, egg, chicken, coconut milk, wrapped within paper and leaf; basic ingredients taken for granted
Basic ingredients that amalgamate into the national food of Malaysia.
An ubiquitous personal reminder: no matter where I’m at, whatever I’m facing, how chaotic situations are, however stagnant life is, it’s not far away from an amazing end product.
Nasi Lemak is a beautiful embodiment of order in chaos, something I’m trying to embrace rather than correct at this point of life.
In the mass 21st century movement towards better health, I hope to create appreciation, not hate for the foundation of our culture – Malaysian food.
Follow @houcheelim on Instagram as I plow through 40 more days of fat rice!