In the world of dieting, it seems almost impossible to have your (figurative) cake and eat it.
But one Malaysian woman may have discovered the secret to a sustainable meal plan, which led to her shedding 13kg within three months.
In one fell swoop, she's also inspired many with her delicious-looking daily meals by following a diet known as "Suku-Suku Separuh", or "quarter-quarter, half".
The method of food portioning encourages people to eat half a plate of fruit and vegetables, a quarter plate of protein and another quarter of carbohydrates. Known as the Malaysia Healthy Plate diet in the country, it was advocated by the Malaysian health ministry in 2016 to promote healthy eating habits.
According to a translation of her Facebook post by World of Buzz, the woman named Nurain Sazila shared that she originally weighed 75kg, and her weight now stands at 57kg.
Her post was accompanied by photographic evidence of her colourful meals, which define clean eating. The best part? They look so yummy we wouldn't mind going on the diet too.
Nurain wrote: "These are a few platings of my 'Diet Suku Suku Separuh'. The pictures are all by me and a few of the platings are done based on my mood."
She added that it is an "easy diet" that is suitable for beginners. Those who fear not being able to fill their tummy can choose to add more fibre in their meals.
"I lost 13kg in three to four months, and then I took baby steps after so that I remain happy and do not feel stressed while on the diet," shared Nurain.
As a note of encouragement, Nurain said the key to losing weight is patience. "You have to be patient when you want to lose weight, even if it means aiming for only 2kg a month, because 2kg x 12 months = 24kg. Slowly, but surely!"
We don't know if it's the excellent lighting in her photos (or that it's lunchtime), but it's amazing how she can make even tempeh with rice look absolutely delicious.
But the one thing that she evidently must have at every meal is a healthy dollop of sambal chilli — good to know that a little chilli oil doesn't really get in the way of one's weight loss plan.
SIMILAR CONCEPT TO SINGAPORE'S MY HEALTHY PLATE
So is this the best diet you can put yourself on?
"It promotes a healthy, balanced diet by encouraging half a plate of fruit and vegetables, a quarter of a plate of protein and another quarter of a plate of carbohydrates, preferably wholegrains, at each meal. It is definitely a sustainable diet as it includes all food groups, which provide nutrients unique to various aspects of health."
But she cautions that the cooking method used is an important consideration when implementing the diet to lose weight.
"You may fill your plate with the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fibre, but if they are cooked with lots of oil, the meal will still be high in calories and thus not ideal for weight loss," said Phoi.
Noting that Nurain employed "low-fat cooking methods and eats food like salads, grilled proteins, and plain rice," Phoi said the lower calorie choices are a step in the right direction, over "higher calorie local foods".
She added: "With a weight loss of 13kg over three months, it falls within the ideal weight loss rate of 0.5 to 1kg a week. This is a slow and steady weight loss, which makes it more sustainable than fad diets, with less risk of weight regain."