On 8th February 2010, I was 26 years old weighing 76 kg, when I decided to start losing weight. I started keeping a journal of my weight-loss progress (a personal blog) since then.
For the next 7 years, I have managed to slowly and steadily stack the weights on, instead of losing them, due to poor decisions and lack of self-discipline. At one point, food was a form of solace after the loss of a beloved.
Back in February 2017, I was at my heaviest, measuring at 83 kg. Merely walking up a flight of stairs would leave me slightly out of breath. Today (October 2017), I have reached my goal of a healthier 72 kg.
What did I do differently which made me lose 11 kg over the past 8 months?
In my quest to shed those weight, I have learned to count calories and as a by-product, various valuable life skills. This is no secret, a caloric deficit makes one lose weight.
Calories output > Calories input = Weight Loss
Personally, learning how to count calories is the hardest part of losing weight. I considered myself to be relatively active. Though my job does not require me to move around much, I work out in gym at least 3 times a week. For me, it was not so much about the calories output but the input. Back then, I was just eating too much and all that gym sessions did was to slow down inevitable outcome.
I eat out every day, hardly ever prepare my own meals. For the local, common everyday food, I had no idea how to count calories and being unable to get the exact numbers really put me off.
Since it is impossible (for me) to count calories accurately down to the last digit, I decided that the best thing would be to estimate as close as possible. Just to play it safe, I always try to slightly over-estimate my intake.
With the help of free calories counting phone apps like MyFitnessPal (which has a massive database of food and their nutritional values, even for the local dishes) a lot of the work was cut out for me.
I found my BMR, set a sustainable goal (I aimed to lose 0.5 kg a week) and started logging my food intake after every single meal.
In the picture above, “Goal” shows my BMR after deducting 500 kcal. In theory, as long as I eat 1580 kcal a day, I will to lose 0.5 kg a week even if I just sit around and watch TV all day long. “Food” is what I have to manually log in after meals. You can record your calories output in “Exercise” too, but I am lazy, so I used an activity tracker.
As much as possible, I try to let all calculations run automatically. With actual numbers to refer to, I am able to make informed decisions on what and when to eat.
My goal did not include a time frame. The main aim is to lose weight. Without the additional pressure to meet a deadline, the whole experience was relatively stress-free. Psychologically, to lose weight over an “infinite” amount of time, makes the task seem very attainable and less daunting. Run 10 km within an hour? Ugh! Pressure. Take my time to cover a distance of 10 km? Pfft! Easy.
All changes are kept minor and manageable. With achievable, smaller goals, I was able to work towards the final goal with little resistance.
My diet remains unchanged. I did not starve myself or deny myself of less healthy food. This means I am less likely to succumb to my hunger/ cravings which will most likely lead to binge-eating. It was neither salad everyday (in fact, any day), nor was it fried chicken everyday. Everything was eaten in moderation as per normal.
Although I did not give up on fast food or junk food, I would subconsciously avoid on these indulgences. Not due to the fact that they are unhealthy (I am not that health-conscious), but because of their inability to fill me up despite having such high calories. I loathe feeling hungry when I have no more “spare calories” to eat.
Slight adjustments have been made in my lifestyle. I hit the gym more frequently, putting in about an hour each session.
Purchased a Fitbit to measure my energy output which is especially useful because the watch will automatically update and adjust my “calories allowance” on my app. Exercising means I get to eat more, should I choose to do so.
On the days when I do overeat, I do not beat myself up. In the grand scheme of things, as long as I keep within my daily limit 4 days per week, I consider it a success. When I was travelling during these 8 months, I did not count my calories at all. I figured you ought to live a little, sometimes.
Things got easier once I have lost enough weight to start receiving compliments from people around me. It is highly motivating to know that all my hard work has paid off.
That is about it for my weight loss adventure so far. By no means, am I an authority on fitness and health. I got all my information online and after identifying what will, in all likelihood, work for me, I put them into practice.
My next goal is set at 68 kg.
PS: This is not sponsored by Fitbit or MyFitnessPal.