At the beginning of this month, I decided to do the #31NoRiceDays challenge. This meant I had to NOT eat rice during those 31 days (ie. the whole month of October) – and I had to do it CONSCIOUSLY. Gulp!
Rice was a staple in the main meals everyday in my life so just the thought was quite unimagineable.
But you won’t know what you can do, or in this case, can do without, until you try it. And I am pleased to say that I DID IT!
So, what happens when you do not eat rice?
1. People look at you funny
When you decide to do something that is not “normal”, be sure that people will react. And the reactions vary widely:
Some will insist you eat “at least just a little” – though they mean well, you have to be firm and politely insist that you will not.
Some will tease/tempt you with it – again, you just have to be firm
Some will scoff/doubt that you can do it – more than ever, these should make you more determined
Some will encourage and support you – this is the best kind of reaction:
When I started the challenge, only 1 other person was doing it with me. At the end of the challenge, there are at least 6 of us altogether encouraging and supporting one another along the way. 1 of the them has even stated that he would go on to do the Atkins diet next! This would be a lot more challenging than not taking rice so I wish him the best of luck!
2. You learn something about your eating habits
I learned that eating on time or not being hungry was important. As it was during these “very-hungry” moments that I would be most susceptible to forget it and “fall-back” on what used to be the “norm”. There were a few occasions where I thought of having rice. There was once where I very nearly took some onto my plate! But fortunately, I remembered and I was able to consciously decide to eat something else. Thus I survived a month without a single grain.
I learned that not eating rice was relatively easy – in comparison to eating clean/eating healthy! I documented my eats using the #31NoRiceDays hashtag on instagram and there were a number of meals there I wasn’t so proud of. While I indicated up-front at the start of the challenge that it was NOT a low-carb diet, I did try to reduce the amount of carbs I took as well as processed foods. There are some days I succeed. There are some days I successfully failed.
I learned that vegetables and water are my bestfriends. It just became natural to eat more vegetables and drink more water when I did not take rice. Not quite sure why, but both are good stuff so at least that’s one eating habit that I’ve happily acquired in the process.
I learned that I can survive without rice.
3. It will change you
While I didn’t expect to have a bikini body by just not eating rice, I did hope to lose some weight in the process. And I am pleased to note that I did lose about 1.5kg and 1 inch off the belly. Nothing much to shout about but it’s still a change that I happily accept. Also, a slower weight loss is more healthier and sustainable compared to a sudden one – the latter means something is very wrong somewhere.
Coincidentally, I also went for a medical check-up towards the end of the challenge and written off with a clean bill of health plus an average BMI, so while there’s loads of room for improvement (like exercising!), I am healthy and that’s what is most important.
Apart from the physical changes, there is also a general sense of feeling more “lighter” and healthier. I don’t get as sleepy or tired after non-rice lunches compared to when I had rice for lunch. And there is just a positive feeling about life overall.
As I approached the end of the #31NoRiceDays challenge, I kept asking myself: Will I go back to eating rice again or would I continue with the non-Rice path? Or will I go completely low-carb? Or will I only eat real food (no processed foods)?
I can conclusively say that I will continue to reduce the amount of carbs I take (including rice) as well as processed foods. And it will not be a one-month challenge; it will be a lifelong one.
Cheers to healthy eating!