Fad diets are a no-no for fitness star Kayla Itsines
Fitness star believes in eating healthy instead of cutting out specific food
Your diet is important, especially when it is used to complement your fitness regimen.
But going on a diet isn't, said Kayla Itsines, known for her Bikini Body Guide (BBG) fitness programme.
Fad diets are a no-no for Itsines, the most influential fitness star in the world last year according to Forbes. She believes in making healthier choices instead of completely cutting out specific foods.
Her first brush with dieting was in 2013, when she attempted to go on a chicken-rice-and-broccoli-only diet to support her fiance Tobi Pearce, who was preparing for a bodybuilding contest.
A week into the diet, Itsines drove to a nearby petrol station and got herself an ice cream.
Speaking to The New Paper at a media breakfast session last Friday, Itsines, who was in town over the weekend to conduct a BBG bootcamp at FitnessFest 2018 presented by AIA, said: "That's not something I'd usually do, but the diet was making my body crave sugar, as I was deprived of my usual fruits and meals."
And that was the first and last time the 27-year-old Australian ever went on a diet.
"I told Tobi I couldn't do it anymore, and at that point I understood why so many people struggle when they try to go on a diet," she said.
"A lot of them have the wrong mentality about dieting. They want fast results and immediately jump into a diet, but end up failing."
Instead, she believes in having a balanced diet that allows her to enjoy her indulgences - such as pizza and creamy gnocchi pasta - from time to time.
Itsines, who comes from a Greek family, grew up on a Mediterranean diet and credits many of her food choices to her upbringing.
She said: "My mother would cook naturally healthy meals like pita bread stuffed with vegetables and rice.
"She made sure I always had a salad at every meal and kept me off fast food."
Now, Itsines' regular meals include two pieces of toast with olive oil, tomatoes and anchovies for breakfast, pasta with a light sauce for lunch, fruits or crackers for an afternoon snack, and roast meat with vegetables for dinner.
She said: "It's not so much about what you eat, but how you eat."
To illustrate her point, she used a uniquely Singaporean example - kaya toast.
"There's nothing wrong with eating bread, but adding a thick slab of butter and kaya makes it unhealthy," Itsines said. "Instead, you can have bread with healthier condiments like olive oil."
Itsines also encourages people to eat their greens with every meal.
"Don't just cut down your food intake, such as going on a no-carb diet. Make sure you are also eating right.
"I would also recommend avoiding deep fried foods, although I do love honey fried chicken," she added, with a laugh.