As a professional glutton, I have a love-hate relationship with my job. In my early career as a food writer, I was tasked with finding the ten best risottos in Jakarta. On one of the days of this venture I visited three different restaurants, which put me off risotto for good and made me gain weight.
Nevertheless, I still get excited when trying out new types of food. I’ve just finished evaluating ten different eateries in Medan, North Sumatra, and I’m satisfied with what I found. One of the staff was surprised that I write about food for a living, believing that a woman in my profession should weigh 100 kilograms. She therefore asked me for some diet tips, and I do happen to know some techniques for getting rid of few kilos.
Eat small portions
Don’t pile food on your plate. Usually, I’m required to sample three to four signature dishes during a restaurant review. Instead of eating full portions, I ask for a small sharing plate, which allows me to control the amount that I eat. But if I really like a dish that I’m tasting, I’m not reluctant to ask for extra spoonfuls.
Eat fewer carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can quickly expand your waistline. However, I’m a big fan of noodles, so resisting bakmi ayam (Indonesian-style noodles served with chicken) is a big challenge. I always remind myself that my job is to sample the flavour of a dish, which can be achieved by eating the topping only.
Drink plenty of water
According to The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, water causes the body to burn extra calories, and by drinking two litres of water per day you can burn nearly 100 of them. While I’m not really sure about calorie burning, water does help me to feel full and reduce my appetite.
Don’t eat on an empty stomach
Don’t go to a restaurant on an empty stomach. You will find that you order too much and finish the food too quickly. By the time your tummy signals your brain that it’s had enough, you’ll have already polished off the lot. To void overeating, I consume snacks before going to a food review. This makes me less ravenous.
Eat more vegetables
Stuff that grows in the ground is good for you. Eating plenty of vegetables helps to reduce your appetite for meat. Eat your greens before starting on the protein, then you’ll feel full faster.
Bring your friends
A lunch invitation from a client is always tough, often involving four to seven courses. And leaving food uneaten on your plate will be considered impolite. To solve this problem, take along friends to split the dishes with.
Don’t be afraid of wasting food
Wasting food is a sin. As a food writer, I’m guilty of this. But I often have no choice. However, if a dish still looks appetising when I’ve had enough of it, I put the leftovers in a doggy bag and take them home for someone else. (CHIKA HALIM)