If you’re human, like me, you would have most likely put on some weight in December.
With all that festive feasting, how could you not?! Alcohol, cakes, indulgent meals…. yep, December is kinda notorious for that. So by the time January comes, one of the top few tasks on most peoples’ New Year’s Resolutions list would be “to lose weight”. I know it sure is on mine! I’ve lost a significant amount of weight last year, but my progress got kinda stagnant towards the end part of it… however, a new year is for revived opportunities, so say goodbye to complacency and hello PERSEVERANCE!
In case you don’t know, here’s how much weight I’ve lost:
“HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODEHHHHH!!! NOW PASS ME A BURGER OR I’LL EAT YOUR DOG.” - the old me on the left
LOL. I knowwwwwwwwwww. It’s awful. And kinda (very) scary. Trust me, when I was scrolling through my old photos trying to find the fattest full body shot of myself I could find, my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw this. Like, I always knew I was gaining weight, but I could NEVER fathom just how much. You know that quote, “You don’t know what you’ve lost until its gone?” Yeah, in my case its about the amount of fats. I’m not sure of the exact number but I think I’ve lost approximately 10-11kg since then.
To be fair, this was probably THE most unflattering picture of me ever taken…. AND the worst dress I’ve ever worn, in the worst possible angle. It’s amazingly cringe-worthy on so many levels. Not even just cringe-worthy, GASP-inducing! I was really big but I don’t think I really walked around looking like that everyday…. there are plenty of other pictures of me looking like a normal fat person (if that makes sense lol), but this one REALLY takes the cake. This one stole the whole cake and ate it by herself hahaha. I contemplated over whether I should post this picture or not, but I figured I have nothing to lose since I’m not that person any more. I am the much healthier and happier girl on the right side of the pic now! The pic in the purple dress was taken 31st December on the last day of 2012. Within 10 months, I think I made good progress and I’m proud of myself. I thought I would have binged and caved in to my old habits eventually and my weight would rebound back up again, but I’ve maintained it surprisingly well! In my old post, I mentioned that I aim to lose 7kg this year, so that is my new goal I have to work towards in 2013.
Quite a lot of people have been asking me lately, “How did you do it?” (I suppose some thought I’d never able to do it) so I decided to do a blog post with some of my own tips that helped me along the way, to provide some motivation to the people out there that truly need it. I’m not reaching out to annoying girls who are perfectly normal sized but complain that they are fat, I hope to reach out to actually overweight people who have a physical and mental condition that they want to mend. From the messages I’ve been getting, I know some of you feel helpless, but you are not. Everyone already KNOWS how to lose weight – eat less, exercise more. It’s just that simple. But what people want to hear is other straightforward baby steps that they can take so that the task seems more feasible, and not too daunting. What they want to hear is an easier solution. I can tell you this, losing weight is anything but easy, especially if you do it the good old fashioned way (excluding slimming pills, diet suppressants, detox teas, liposuction, fad diets, bulimia) but taking small steps so that your body gets accustomed to your new lifestyle change will make it much easier. I still have a considerable amount of work to do and progress to make before I’m well satisfied with my body, so I will have to refer back to this list whenever my strength happens to waiver this year…. which I pray will not happen, but I know it will some time or another, I am only human. I don’t claim to be a diet / body / health / nutritionist expert of sorts, but this list below has worked well for me, and I hope it will for you too.
Shiberty’s list of 10 ways to lose weight effectively:
1) Drink more water in between and right before meals.
Water is the healthiest and most natural diet suppressant.
• Not only does drinking enough water aid in keeping your skin clear, body hydrated and your brain functioning properly, it also results in you feeling full for longer periods of time. When I feel like snacking in between meals, I drink a lot of cold, CARBONATED water to make my cravings go away. 80% of the time, it works. 20% of the time, unforunately I succumb to my temptations. The gas and bubbles from the drink makes me burp and kind of bloated, which is a fab solution when you’re hungry although you’re not supposed to be… it tricks your body into thinking that you’re not. Also, drink half a glass of cold water before you have any meal. It WILL decrease the amount of food you will eat quite significantly. I try to drink carbonated cold water whenever I can, it works better than still water.
2) Skip supper.
Everyone knows that to lose weight, you have to eat less in general.
• Most importantly, you have to watch what you eat at night, from 7pm onwards. In the day, your metabolism rate is much higher and burns up calories faster than it would at night. The excess calories that don’t get used by the time you sleep will be stored as sugar in your body, and converted into fat cells eventually. I can’t tell you to skip dinner because that would be unhealthy, but have a light dinner made of mainly protein and vegetables, and ALWAYS skip supper when you can!!! A good way to make sure you don’t succumb to supper cravings is to sleep earlier. Wake up and have breakfast the next morning instead. People who head to bed after 1am will definitely feel kinda hungry by that time, unless they had a late dinner, which is also not good. When I feel hungry at night, I go to sleep. You can’t feel hungry (or any conscious feeling at all) when you’re asleep. If you’re too hungry to fall asleep, which happens to me some times… for gods sake, fix yourself something light to snack on then off to bed you go!
3) Weigh yourself everyday.
When I was gaining weight, I kept myself off the weighing scale for as long as possible..
• I ran far away from it whenever I saw one. I couldn’t face the truth. Not for a long time. But now, I jump on the weighing scale everyday, for a reality check. If you want to lose weight, you HAVE to face the truth – that your body is in an unhealthy state right now, and you NEED to do something about it. Look at your weight. Is it a number you’d like to see? No it is not. It sucks. It’s so damn high, what the hell happened to you? What number would look a lot better on the scale, and what dress would look really good on you if your weight actually were the number you hope for it to be? Plan a weekly target for your weight loss. Don’t get far fetched and think about how much weight you want to lose in the next half a year. Start slow, but steady. Start by losing 500g this week. 500g is really easy, you could lose 500g in a day or two if all you ate was a moderate amount of salad, fruits, protein and water. When you lose your first 500g, you’ll instantly feel a mini sense of triumph. And that sense of achievement and self-fulfillment will become addictive, as you see your weight drop more and more every day, even if its only by 200g sometimes. If you wanna get thinner, you weigh yourself everyday to monitor your progress, to make sure you’re on the right track. You don’t leave it to chance and luck and hope weight loss just happen to you. If you’re not seeing enough results, TRY HARDER. Just like how if you wanna get rich, or when you’re doing a business, you calculate your finances and sales profit all the time to keep track of your record!
4) Eat when you need and want to, but in small, controlled amounts.
When you need to eat:
• It’s better to have 4 or 5 small meals throughout the day, than to have 1 or 2 gigantic ones. Your body breaks down the food easier and faster when it comes in moderated amounts. A sure bet to lose weight is to snack frequently on healthier options in between lunch and dinner, so you don’t end up eating too much at night. Snack on dried seaweed, cheeses, fruits, anything that doesn’t have a super high amount of carbs / sugar will do just fine. Or drink carbonated water, like I said! Most people look forward to dinner because its their biggest and most indulgent meal… That’s gonna have to change!
When you want to eat:
• If you have a craving that lasts for hours or even days and it just won’t seem to go away, satisfy it. If you feel like ice cream, have some ice cream. Share it with a friend. Don’t order your usual 2 scoops of ice cream. Have one scoop instead. If you can bring yourself to, have only a few spoonfuls, enough to satisfy your craving and keep yourself sane. Sustainable dieting is so important. Most of the time, people give up their diets halfway because it drove them insane. They felt like they couldn’t eat anything at all. So I’m taking a different approach and telling you, EAT if you really feel like you want to. But always learn how to moderate. If I’m dying for pasta, (one of my favorite foods) I will have pasta for lunch, in a small portion much lesser than what I’d normally have if I let myself indulge. Then I’ll opt for a low-carb meal for dinner to make up for my high intake of carbohydrates in the afternoon. This way, you’ll find its much easier to adhere to your diet for prolonged periods of time.
5) Don’t over order when you’re dining out in restaurants.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
• When you look at the menu in a restaurant, you wanna order literally EVERYTHING. You let your gluttony get the better of you, and you end up ordering more than you can eat. Damn it! Over-ordered again. But the food is already in front of you, on the table….. You’re gonna have to pay for that anyway…….. Mama always taught you not to waste food. Gah, you hate seeing perfectly good and yummy food being thrown away. Hate wasting food, hate wasting food. Must finish everything. So you reach out into the table, and you keep putting food into your mouth, even when you should have and could have stopped 300 calories ago. You’re not eating because you’re still hungry, you’re eating just because the food is there. It’s in front of you. A natural reaction. If this scenario sounds like you, then you’re JUST like me. Stop doing that.
• Don’t order your starter, main course and dessert all at the start of the meal. Order a main course first, then think about whether you’re hungry enough to have a side dish. If you are, why not share it with your dining partner? Don’t even think about dessert until you’re done with all the savory food. Think ya got space in your tummy? Drink half a glass of water. If you still insist on dessert after all of that – fine, go ahead. But chances are, you won’t. When you think you’ve had quite enough but afraid you may reach out for more, proclaim loudly, “I’m really full now.” I do that when I’m with a group of friends and it prevents me from eating more coz if I do I’d look really stupid, and a liar. LOL. Or, simply ask the waiter to clear your table. Voila. The food isn’t in your face any more, so you don’t have to think about whether you should continue eating. Problem solved.
6) Stop eating when you feel adequately satiated, not when you feel full or bloated.
Your stomach is like a muscle you can train.
• If you persistently have smaller meals, your stomach will naturally shrink as well, and it won’t need as much food to become full. The first time you cut down on your usual amount of intake, you’ll feel slightly unsatisfied or reluctant, but you’ll get used to it very quickly. You’ll feel the results of this theory in a mere week, try it. It does’t have to be a drastic difference. If you love rice, and are used to having it all the time for dinner, then instead of a whole bowl, reduce it to 3/4 bowl. After a week or two, reduce it to half a bowl. It will make a world of difference in time to come.
• Some people don’t know when to stop eating. (*raises hands* I am one of them!) They gorge themselves until they’re crazily bloated. You should actually stop eating when you feel adequately SATIATED. What does adequately satiated mean? When your tummy isn’t growling any more. When you feel like you’ve got enough in your stomach to keep you going for at least another hour or two, not the whole damn day. When hunger isn’t an issue, and when you can go back to functioning normally. Stop eating at that point. You don’t need to be FULL all the time. Eating till you’re full isn’t satisfying your body’s needs, it is satisfying your own endless greed.
7) Pick up a friendly or competitive sport with a friend.
Hate going running, or to the gym?
• Me too. The weather is wayyy too hot and humid outside to go running, and the gym is just…. well, boring. Sounds like excuses? They probably are. So rid yourself of excuses and pick up a totally fun sport with a friend! You’ll end up doing it for the fun factor, rather than exercising, which becomes a byproduct. I some times play table tennis with the boyfriend, and badminton with friends, and burn more calories than I notice. Other fun activities such as swimming works great as well – as long as you’re moving and using energy, you’re burning up calories. Exercise becomes a lot more bearable when you have a friend to motivate you – I prefer competitive sports so that I have a reason to perform even better and try harder each time we play! Find a spontaneous and reliable friend who’s willing to commit to a new activity with you. It’s important you find someone you can rely on to always show up, because if your friend / work out partner starts getting lazy, chances are you will get affected as well. Yoga? Soccer? Pilates? Tennis? Whatever you fancy. Just find something, and do it. Anything but sitting on your ass.
8) Lower your carbohydrates intake.
“Is butter a carb?” – Regina George, Mean Girls.
• No, butter isn’t a carb, Regina. Butter = fat. Technically, eating foods high in fat (oily friend chicken, fatty char siew) doesn’t make you as fat as eating carbohydrates does. If you made Person A eat KFC everyday, and Person B eat Pasta Mania everyday, Person B will most likely put on more weight than Person A because of their high amount of carbohydrates intake from the pasta. The biggest factor of my weight loss is definitely going on a low-carbohydrate diet. Low carb doesn’t mean NO carb, it just means I’ve reduced my carb intake significantly while still consuming enough to keep my body running normally. It is imperative that a person who wants to lose weight efficiently understands what carbohydrates do to your body. So let’s have a little science lesson.
What ARE carbs? Main sources of carbohydrates include noodles, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, any starchy or sugary food. Sugar = also carbs. So that means an innocent looking piece of fruit or vegetable has a certain amount of carbs as well, for it is naturally sweet. Let’s use an apple as an example. But that doesn’t mean that eating an apple will make you fat – there are good carbs, and bad carbs.
Good Carbs AKA Complex Carbs
• We can reap the health benefits of good carbs by choosing carbohydrates full of fiber. These carbs that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
Bad Carbs AKA Processed Carbs
• We can minimize the health risk of bad carbs by eating fewer refined and processed carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fiber. Examples: white bread and white rice.
• The consumption of carbohydrates can actually cause an addiction for many people, because of the serotonin release they induce. Serotonin is a brain chemical that improves the mood and induces a relaxing effect by decreasing stress and anxiety as well as reducing pain. People with low serotonin levels may therefore reach for more and more carbohydrates in an attempt to feel better, which can eventually lead to weight gain.
• After eating carbohydrates, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which is mainly responsible for regulating blood sugar levels by letting the carbohydrates, broken down into sugar, enter the cells of the liver and muscles to be used for energy. However, insulin also has the role of regulating fat storage. High levels of circulating insulin, which are associated with the consumption of carbohydrates, help with the storage of carbohydrates and excess calories not required for immediate use as fat. In other words, carbohydrates promote the release of insulin, which in turn promotes fat storage.
(Source 1, Source 2.)
These days, I don’t even have to exercise excessively or starve myself to lose weight – I just have to lower my carbs intake, and I usually see weight loss results within days. I’ve lost as much as 2 kilos in a week simply by reducing processed carbs, and eating more protein, fat + complex carbs such as fruits and vegetables. Coupled with increased exercising, the results can be quite drastic. Like an 11kg sort of drastic-ally wonderful. Losing weight isn’t the difficult part, it’s MAINTAINING the weight that is the biggest hurdle. After losing some, you’ll gain some back… but your aim is to keep most of it off!
9) Always wear nice clothes that actually fit you.
Why? I’ll tell you why.
The Clothes Know Best
• The easiest, idiot proof way to tell if you’ve gained weight is trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans, or a dress that would normally fit you just fine. You don’t even have to voluntarily step onto a weighing scale to find out – your clothes will instantly tell you. Now, if you’re the type who likes to wear baggy, loose-fitting stuff all the time, your weight gain may not be immediately obvious. And it doesn’t feel good when your clothes that used to fit, don’t any more. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll do something about it.
• When I was a UK Size 14, some times I’d buy a dress that was UK Size 16 just in case I got even fatter. It was almost as if I was prepping myself for future weight gain. These days, I swear by all UK size 10 dresses, even if some times they’re a little tight around my hips or chest. On several occasions I wore dresses so tight fitting, I could barely breathe in them. BUT I’M NOT GOING TO BUY A GOD DAMN SIZE UP ANY MORE. Doing so is pretty much giving myself the OK to become fatter again. I will not accept this behavior from myself. What I wanna do, is downsize even more. If my dress is tight, I’m going to lose enough weight so that it fits perfectly, and hopefully one day it will be loose, like all my other now-redundant UK size 12s, 14s, and 16s!!! I have quite a lot of clothes that don’t fit me at all any more, mainly ranging from UK 14 to 16s. I know how hard it is to find nice clothes when you’re of a certain size, so if you’re interested in buying my pretty clothes off me (all in perfect condition), drop me a mail at Shiberty@hotmail.com.
Wear Nice Clothes To Feel Good About Yourself
• There was a period of time I recycled the same old boring, ugly clothes over and over again, because those would be all that’d fit me. Fashion didn’t even matter to me, and I just let myself go. No make up, hair was shit, fashion sense was also shit… It was severely depressing. Even if you’re a big girl, you deserve to indulge in fashion! Pamper yourself and wear nice clothing. It will inspire you to shed some pounds so that you may look even better in future outfits. Completely letting yourself go and not caring how you end up looking or feeling like, is the worst possible thing you could do for yourself. Don’t let yourself go, don’t lose hope. I know its inevitable that you lose some self-confidence when you gain weight, which is why you need to regain your self-love back. Most girls don’t bother to lose weight because they don’t BELIEVE that they are worth the change, or that they CAN do it. Losing weight is 60% mindset and willpower, 25% dieting, 15% exercise.
10) Celebrate every victory!
…No matter how small.
• Keeping your morale up is vital for weight loss. Always think positive, and give yourself rewards for seemingly little achievements. You didn’t have supper last night? GOOD FOR YOU. You had grilled fish instead of pasta? Splendid. Buy yourself a little gift (a healthy cookbook?). Tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, sister, brother or friend about it. Get them to support you. You won’t survive this journey on your own. Don’t beat yourself up over little mistakes, such as failing to resist your favorite dessert after dinner time. That’s okay. Just exercise tomorrow to burn the calories off. Don’t blame yourself if you’re not straight away seeing the results you were hoping for. It will not be easy, it will not be quick, but it will be completely worth every single tear and sweat drop that came out of this. By the end of it all, you’ll see that I was right. Like I’ve said before, you didn’t put on all that weight in one day, so don’t expect only a day to burn it off. …But it’s always better to be sore the next day, than sorry.
Aside from all that I’ve mentioned above, of course I have to highlight that I was extremely fortunate enough to have undergone acupuncture weight management treatment with Eu Yan Sang and be their featured blogger, which gave me the push I desperately needed! Read about my weight loss journey with EYS here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3. Oh, and if you have a friend whom you know that is struggling with weight issues or someone who needs some encouragement and inspiration – do me a favor, & help me share this post with them!
Always remember: Your body is constantly a work in progress.
No slim or trim figure lasts forever unless you bother to maintain it. And no overweight or obese person will be fat or thick forever either, unless you continue stuffing your face and gorging your body with unhealthy food day after day. I’m on the same path, just like you. We are all in this together. I hope by the end of 2013, I can look back on my current pictures and say “Look how much smaller my arms / thighs have gotten!”. TODAY is always the right day to start making a change. If you don’t do it in 2013, when will it ever happen? A year from now, when you look back, you’ll wish you’d started a year ago. Take it from a person who once proclaimed to the world that she loved food more than herself. I still love food to the heavens, hell and back. And I’m really fucking lazy when it comes to physical activities to boot. You can do it if you want to. But only if you really, REALLY want it badly enough. So ask yourself…. do you, now?
Hear this, and repeat after me: I’M DOING THIS FOR ME.
Not because some assholes are calling me mean names. Not because I’m being pressured into it. I’m doing this out of my own good sense and will because I’ve finally had enough of my own lame excuses. Because I need to start loving myself properly again. Because I deserve to be healthy, and happy.