Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How I Dropped 10kgs in 6 Months with Diet

I was fat (still a little now haha!) but compared to last time, I was a giant! Low stamina, low self-confidence, low metabolic rate. I did not know how to take care of myself. What I meant by taking care of myself is first and foremost taking care of my own body health. I exercised but only occasionally. Being a fatty was not fun, definitely not attractive as well. I got bullied everywhere I went. I got teased in classes. One bad thing led to another. Fat -> Being bullied -> Low self-confidence -> Resentment -> Revenge? Joking! I have forgiven those who bullied me.

But the moment came when I finally decided to sign up a one year subscription of Fitness First, the nearest gym to where I was staying -- Casa Subang, at that time in August 2011. I had a personal trainer, Cheryl, who coached me on the proper ways of lifting weights and a few basic steps on free style training. And off I went! The first six months went by without me seeing any tangible result. No weight loss, just slight change in my body shape. I became slightly more muscular, but my body fat was still around 27.5% and body weight at 85kgs.

Then realisation came. I had to control what I eat. It never dawned on me that food is one of the most important parts in shaping my body weight. So here comes a change in lifestyle and complete overhaul in my diet. I had consumed too much junk food and all sorts of "rubbish" into my body. I formulated my own diet strategy and I followed it religiously every day. Before I knew it, it worked!

Basically, these are the food with high protein, high fibre and low fat. Ideally I ate lots of vegetables and fruits and drank lots of water. Most importantly but often neglected is sufficient amount of sleep, at least 7 hours every day. 

So here are my few tips on the kind of food I eat and don't eat:

1) Breakfast: 2 slices of wholemeal bread filled with peanut butter spread, 1 banana, 1 cup of semi-skimmed fresh milk, 2 half-boiled eggs. 

Peanut butter?! If you think peanut butter is bad for you, think again. Your body needs good fats to burn off bad fats. Food that contain good fats are peanut butter, avocado, sunflower oil, olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil and so on. Banana is plenteous in minerals, vitamins and potassium (can help to control blood pressure and heart rate, the top rival of sodium i.e. salt). Fresh milk is full of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Eggs are vital source of protein and good fat as well. Wouldn't 2 eggs for breakfast a little too excessive on my cholesterol level? Not really. Study has shown that, despite being high in cholesterol content, eggs do not contribute much to raising your cholesterol level. The belief that if you eat cholesterol, it would raise your cholesterol level in the blood and increase your risk of heart diseases, is simply a myth and wrong misconception. In short, it will increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and it helps remove bad cholesterol.

2) Lunch: Half rice, preferably the size of my fist that will form a quarter of my plate, another quarter portion of meat, another quarter of vegetable or tofu. 

There are plenty of restaurants nearby Taylor's College, and many of my classmates liked to eat at some mixed rice (or economy rice) restaurants. The key here is HALF RICE. The portion is extremely important because it's the intake that will unintendedly cause excessive eating. The Japanese practice "hara hachi bu" means eat until you are 80% full. Obviously at first I got hungry easily, but soon my stomach got used to it and I felt satiated fairly quicker.

I love meat! I am carnivorous but there were certain things I refrained myself from. I literally removed every single tangible fat from chicken skins and pork belly meat. What about KFC? I still ate KFC but I removed fat layers underneath the crispy chicken skin. A bit tedious but it was worth every single effort. I got paranoid of the fat at that time. I thought the tangible fat would be directly converted into my own body fat. I knew it was wrong but I didn't care. It worked for me.

3) Dinner: Proper meal just like lunch (before 7:30pm), or an apple, a banana and a cup of milk or yoghurt (after 7:30pm). 

It was for obvious reason I chose to eat before 7:30pm, so that I would have allocated enough time for complete digestion. I tried to eat light food for dinner because there is no need to consume so much calories and barely use it thereafter.

Above are the things I have consumed daily for the first six months of 2012, but there were also a list of food I had refrained from eating and its alternatives throughout that period:

- White rice and Noodles (Alternatives: Brown rice, Mihun, Oat and Grains)
- Junk food (Alternatives: All types of nuts such as peanuts, cashew nuts, walnuts etc) 
- White and Milk Chocolates (Alternatives: Dark Chocolates)
- Soft drink (Alternatives: Milk, chocolate milk is fine post-workout, soya milk, honey lemon, green tea)
- Fried food (Alternatives: Steamed food, grilled food, stir-fried food) 
- Ice Cream (Alternatives: Greek yoghurt with honey currently tops my list of favourite food along with salmon). 

It certainly was not easy, but when I first seen the result, it became an addiction. I did not want to go back to the stage where I was fat and ugly. It involved a change of lifestyle altogether. Not that I no longer indulge myself in the food I have listed above, but I still consume some of them in moderation, while the rest I have completely stopped eating them. I was told I can eat everything, but in moderation. Anything excessive is not good.

Six months later, I dropped 10kgs to 75kgs. Of course weight is just one of the many indicators to gauge if one is healthy, and it may not be the most accurate one. Because one may be heavy but is made up of low body fat and mainly muscles. Or one can be very skinny but because he/she barely exercises, the body contains lots of "skinny fat". So weight on its own can be misleading. But I kept believing and I succeeded!

Dropping 10kgs may not be a big deal, the true difficulty lies with maintaining the weight. I had been tempted several times to eat slightly more since I am thinner now, but I always tried my best to hold on to my conviction.

Going Forward 

I am currently 80kg but that doesn't mean I am unhealthy, despite still being slightly overweight. I have stopped drinking soft drink altogether for 4 months now and I am feeling better than ever! I try to attend gym every morning on weekdays, at the same time play badminton every Sunday evening. I jog around my neighbourhood on Saturday for at least 3 rounds too.

I am slightly more muscular now compared to 3 years ago when I first dropped to 75kgs, but I am aiming to reduce my body fat percentage further. I must do more cardio exercises and control the amount of my food intake, at the same time not neglecting the free weight training. It would be ideal if I could drop my weight back to 75, and ultimately 73.

Regarding my diet, currently sugary drink is the one evil culprit I am trying to refrain from. So if you caught me red-handed for drinking something sweet, you are allowed to tell me off and you will be rewarded RM1. A few exceptions are honey, green tea (it's not even sweet!) and fresh fruit juice. Chocolate milk and soya milk are to be consumed with extra care and moderation.

I am also looking to prepare my own lunch box soon, so I can eat healthier. I am impressed by my friends who can prepare their own lunch the day before, and it is actually easier than what I thought. Once I start buying my own groceries, I will cook my own healthy meals.

What about you? I hope you are healthy too, because really the best insurance you can buy is by taking some time off to exercise and eating right. Nothing else comes close to it.

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