Why eating Girls’ Generation’s ‘800 calorie diet’ is not going to work for you
Celebrity bodies – those perfectly defined abs, size zero waist line and them beautiful legs. Who wouldn’t want them?
From my own personal weight loss success and as a personal trainer I talk to a lot of people, especially girls who ask for weight loss advice. Many of these girls name Korean celebrities such as Lee Hyori and the girls from Girls’ Generation as the bodies they wished they had. That’s fine and I encourage people who have a fitness goal to have someone they look up too but this is usually where the problem begins.
A friend once told me that she wanted to have a body like Yoona from Girls’ Generation and to my disbelief, she took drastic measures such as skipping meals and forcing herself to starve. Now, my friend is a fit and healthy girl who was often envied by her friends for her body but yet, she still saw the need to lose weight. “But Yoona has such nice legs” she would often say.
Let me put Yoona in the spotlight for a bit. In 2010, she revealed her body weight on the second season of Family Outing for the first time. Before I do tell you how much she weighed, keep in mind that she would have weighed at least 2-3 kg lighter because of her wet clothes. For a height of 168cm (or 5’5), the scales showed that Yoona weighed a mere 48.5kg or 107lbs.
On the Body Mass Index scale (BMI) this would put Yoona’s BMI at 17.8 or classified as underweight. Now, do remember that this figure would’ve been a lot lower because of her wet clothes at the time that she was weighing herself, which would have meant that her BMI would’ve have showed her as severely underweight.
I want to look at Girls’ Generation as a whole for an example now. As the biggest Asian girl group in the world, they are looked up too by millions of girls and this is what worries me. Media reports such as the claim that the members of Girls’ Generation were only eating 800 calories a day scares me. Although they dismissed this claim and said that the girls ate 1200 calories, I’m sure many girls would have tried to dangerously live on 800 calories a day to look like their idols as a result of the report.
I will just have to trust in SM Entertainment that the 1200 calories a day is sufficient for Girls’ Generation’s strenuous dance practices and back-to-back performances. However, no two people are the same and thus, some of us may need more calories in order to not suffer from malnutrition. Bigger people need more calories to function their bodies properly and for those who are trying to take on their idol’s 800 or 1200 calories diet may be forcing their bodies into starvation mode and lack nutrition deficiency.
Nutirition.com recommends that ‘you should not consume less than 1200 calories per day if you are dieting for extended periods’ and that diets under 1200 calories per day ‘are not nutritionally adequate and over a period of time, you may not be getting enough of certain nutrients.’
My sister once tried to stay on a controlled calorie diet of 1200 and she is a fairly big girl. While she did initially lose some weight, she was complaining of being more tired and sleep and after a while, her weight loss plateaued and she stopped losing weight. After I told her to increase her calorie intake by about 300, she was saying that she felt she had a lot more energy and now she has shed over 10kg as a result.
The reason for this is simple – if you do not eat enough, your body will go into starvation mode and start hold onto fat. Your body is actually very smart and if you are not feeding it enough, it’s going to find other places to feed energy from and most of the time, it’s from your lean muscles. The loss of your lean muscles will mean slower fat burn as muscles burn fat. So, if you’ve lost all of your muscles what is that going to mean? Probably easier weight gain in the future.
Real and achievable celebrity bodies
These celebrities are a lot fitter than your typical person and they have access to nutritionists, personal trainers and other medical experts that most people don’t consult with before embarking a diet plan. If they say that they’re eating 1200 calories, that’s their pregoritive but I don’t want you to think that it’s okay or that it’s what you should be eating because what’s right for them, isn’t necessary right for you.
However, I am worried about how Korean celebrities often reveal how much their calorie intake is. It’s not only encouraging young teenagers to take on the same intake but sends the wrong message that to look good, we must eat like them.
I want to point out a few celebrities who I think have great bodies and are great role models and sends a clear message about healthy eating and exercise.
3. Yoon Eun Hye
Who would’ve known that the 28 year old star from the iconic Korean dramas Princess Hours and Coffee Prince had a chubby past?
Yoon Eun Hye who nows sports a great figure, breaks her meals into about 5-6 meals a day. Eating regularly not only keeps you fuller during the day but will also keep your metabolism burning throughout the day.
The star’s diet includes rice to stay fuller for longer, plenty of vegetables for essential nutrients and snacks such as strawberries which actually takes your body more energy to burn it than it actually is – giving you a negative calorie intake.
2. Jeon Hye-Bin
The 29 year old actress/singer has been praised for her fit body since her singing debut in 2002. Hye-Bin credits exercise and healthy eating for her figure and has even wrote a book about it called Jeon Hye-bin’s Stylish Body which was published last year.
Jeon Hye-Bin is so dedicated to her fitness goals that she even released an exercise app earlier this year, which shows the correct techniques to perform exercises.
1. G.Na / Gina Choi
Often labelled as having a ‘mannequin’ body, the 25 year old singer says ‘A positive mindset is the secret to my diet. I don’t force myself to diet, and just try to enjoy everything I can. I do eat a lot, but dancing on stage naturally helps to maintain my physique.’ A perfect diet is one where you eat what you like and enjoy how you exercise.
I often advise people and my clients to eat slower so that you give time for your mind to process the food and register that you are full before you overeat. G.Na also acknowledges that eating slow without any rush has helped give her incredible figure.
G.Na revealed that planning meals and enjoying her favourite snacks has helped. ‘It’s important to have a meal plan, but I can’t give up jellies no matter what. Thanks to jellies, I’ve been able to lose weight and increase muscle mass.’ She said.
My top five tips for getting ‘that’ body
- Get enough sleep and wake up early to eat so that you kickstart your metabolism.
- Drink plenty of water and break your meals into 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day to stay fuller for longer and keep your metabolism burning.
- Do resistance/weight training. It will help build more muscles to burn fat.
- Eat the right foods! No matter how much you exercise, if you do not eat the right foods, you will not see any results!
- Stay motivated. Majority of people who join undertake a workout/eating program, quit at around the fourth week. Ask a friend to exercise with you, studies have shown that people who diet/exercise with a friend lose more weight.