When I started joining modeling classes at Amber Chia Academy, I was under the impression that everyone of us would be asked to go on diets, to lose weight and to be stick-thin by the end of the course. And being the food-lover that I am, I was pretty worried about that. Luckily, although some of us were indeed advised to lose weight, we were not advised to do so drastically or through aggressive crash diets. This was all made clear when we were given a talk by Benny Ng, a nutritionist, on what a model’s diet should be.
Diet for a model
Benny Ng giving his talk
He started the talk by showing us the conventional food pyramid, the triangular diagram that shows the recommended intake for each group of food. Obviously, the guideline has changed throughout the years, and carbohydrates (rice, bread, pasta) are no longer recommended as the food group with the biggest portion.
The old food pyramid
Instead, the USDA has introduced a new and simpler method of dividing food groups on a plate, known as MyPlate. According to this NY Times article, MyPlate was a crucial part of Mrs. Obama’s campaign against obesity, and to remind consumers about the importance of a healthy diet. From the plate diagram, the biggest difference I noticed was that fruits and vegetables are now the biggest portion in a diet, as compared to rice and bread in the food pyramid. Also, the amount of dairy is reduced and there is no indication of fatty food on the plate. Personally I think this healthy diet makes so much more sense compared to the food pyramid, not to mention simpler to follow. As long as half of our daily diet consists of fruits and vegetables, we’re good.
MyPlate replacing the Food Pyramid
According to Benny, as models, the consumption of alcohol is almost inevitable, especially during functions and or after-show events. The shocking revelation that I found out that night was that excessive amount of alcohol could actually be converted to fat! But that’s not to say that we should avoid alcohol completely. A drink a day for female or 2 drinks a day for male is actually good for the body. Just remember everything should be in moderation.
Also, we were taught on how to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI), a common term to gauge whether one is over- or underweight, by dividing the body’s weight with the height squared. Do you have a healthy BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Now for the part that we were most interested in, how to lose weight safely. True enough, crash diets, Atkin’s diet or anything of that sort is not recommended. Those are just short-term solutions that are hard to maintain, not to mention stripping off your body from essential nutrients. The healthy weight loss is about 0.5-1kg per week. In order to achieve that, we should reduce our daily calories by 500kcal and increase our physical activity to burn another 500kcal. In total, that would be 1000kcal burnt, resulting in a 1kg loss a week. If you only reduce your daily food intake by 500kcal without doing the extra physical activity, that would be a reduction of 500kcal or 0.5kg per week. Sounds straightforward enough?
How to lose weight safely
A person’s normal calorie intake is about 2000kcal a day, so to follow the plan above would be reducing it to 1500kcal a day. Now, what would the diet of a 1500kcal be like? Look at the sample diet below, I’m surprised that the recommended food is actually pretty well-balanced (nothing of that fruits and water only sort of diet) and achieving less than 1500kcal a day is not that hard. In fact, the diet even included a night snack, something I thought was an absolute no-no to reduce weight. I guess I was wrong.
A sample diet
The slide below shows some of the low calorie food that you could include in your diet. I noticed that bean sprouts have really low calories per 100g! OK from now on I should eat more bean sprouts to make me full without adding on too much calories. LOL!
Top 10 low calorie foods
Last but not least, the talk ended with Benny advising us to practice a healthy diet by having food in moderation. Also, alcoholic or caffeinated drinks should be avoided if possible. This talk enlightened me that models can eat like other normal people too. It doesn’t mean that they have to starve themselves or go on crash diets. That’s definitely good news for me.
Picture of our class students