Thanks for visiting my blog. This blog chronicles a mostly 4-year journey of love, life, and loss. It's now time to retire. However, feel free to browse and read through the posts.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

How to Lose Weight (the stuff that really works)

About 4 months before my graduation, I decided that it was time to shed off the freshman 15 I had gained over the course of 4 years. I wanted to lose 13kg in 4 months so that I could weigh the same as I did when I first matriculated – which was 51.5 kg. My final weight the week before my graduation was 54kg, a whooping ten kilos less than what I had weighed at the beginning of the year. I’m not sure how much inches I lost off my waist – I never got round to buying that tape measure from Amazon – but I know certainly stopped looking pregnant (!).

I lost weight through REGULAR exercise six times a week & an overhaul of my diet. There’s a lot of info, tips & tricks online on how people lost weight (some of which are great, read them). Here’s my spiel on what I did that changed it all for me i.e. moving from I want to lose weight to actually losing weight.

  1.  I set a goal – set a goal of how much you want to lose e.g. I want to lose 10kg or 1kg. It’s not enough to say you want to lose weight. It’s like that SMART acronym they tell you during motivational speeches. Let your goal be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-based. I aimed to lose 13kg in 4 months i.e. roughly the rate of 3.5kg a month or 7-8 pounds a month. That meant I wanted to lose almost a kilo a week. A kilo is roughly two pounds, and a pound is about 3,500 calories, which means I wanted to reduce my caloric intake by 7,000 calories in a week – both through exercise and my diet. That’s about 1,000 calories a day, and you can do half & half – 500 calories from your diet and 500 from your exercise. 
  2. I educated myself – The Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” And the same is true when it comes to losing weight. I gained extra weight out of ignorance. Exercising irregularly for only 20 minutes at little resistance will not make you lose weight. It’s a question of simple system dynamics. If you burn more than you take in, you will lose weight. Otherwise, the scale will never move. I googled for tips. I calculated my BMI and BMR i.e. how much calories you burn at rest. Mostly though, I relied on the advice of my good friend Shefali, who introduced me to Blogilates. I modified many of Cassey Ho’s workouts so that I could do them at the gym. I heard cardio is the only thing that burns fat, so I did cardio for 30 minutes six times a week – running, walking, sprinting, staircase-ing. Whatever it takes to get your heart thumping. I got rid of my main snacks (cheesecake, kimchi rice & mozzarella sticks), replaced whole milk with fat free milk or almond milk, regular yogurt with fat free yogurt or greek yogurt. I had mostly salads for lunch. I don’t take sugar usually so that helped. I researched on calories and knew the basics e.g. one egg is 70 calories. You don’t have to use this method (counting calories) but whatever you do, educate yourself. 
  3. I motivated myself – I was sharing with my best friend recently that we have to have learnt by now how to encourage ourselves – intrinsic motivation! The same applies to all that comes with attempting to lose weight. You have to learn to motivate yourself. Do whatever it takes. I went to the gym first through the motivation of two friends (bless your souls), but I eventually realized that their stamina could not sustain me. I had to own the process. You have to own the process and you can’t do it until you decide to get up and go to the gym, do twenty push-ups instead of ten, run at 6mph instead of walking 4mph. I would motivate myself by imagining that I had become so fit I would instruct the older women in my church on how to lose weight. Yes, dream! :-)
  4.  I allowed myself to fail (but not too often and don’t compare yourself and get back up ASAP) – In April, I didn’t lose any weight. I knew I had eaten dessert a lot and failed to watch my calories. I cheated on too many days. I was saddened until I realized that the process had consumed me. I was weighing myself every other day waiting for the scale to move. I was looking at myself in the mirror too much. I was testing my core for strength too much. I had increased my cardio to 45 minutes and had begun running for an hour every Monday. I thought I had reached a plateau until I realized that I had overdone the process. Yes, I had cheated, but more importantly, I had let losing weight become an ingredient to my happiness. You don’t want to become obsessed with your weight. You don’t want to think your world will end because you gained kilos. Throughout my weight loss journey, I reminded myself that I was out to achieve not just a healthy body, but also a healthy mind, heart and soul. Never ever bash yourself. You are not your weight. You are not your weight. 
I have retired from my weight loss journey and I am now on a toning and lifestyle fitness journey (one day I will write about that journey). To read the only two posts I wrote about losing weight (I was too busy losing weight to write), click here.

Resources for you (in their order importance to my weight loss journey)

FRIENDS (!) - Neil who first motivated me to be serious about the gym, Tamu who joked about the gym but is a serious gym superstar, and Shefali who taught me more effective cardio and stopped me from harming my joints (ouch)- she knew everything I didn't know. A friend who knows her stuff is invaluable. 

BLOGILATES BLOG & YOUTUBE A woman you will say you hate but you will love her deeply when you can do ten burpees without straining (too much). I used printouts of her videos in the gym and modified her meal plans. 

SHAUN T’s FOCUS T-25 - Fast 25 minute workouts for the days you can't make it to the gym

BMI/BMR CALCULATOR - Get to know your stats


  1. Next time, write about how you gained that weight. I am working on doing so here. :)

    1. Hahaha. American food will make you grow fat very fast!! I'm on a bad diet right now but hardly any weight gain, so really, most American foods unless you are on a strict diet :P eat lots of fries and fatty chicken etc. Plus cheese. And then eat all the time. That should do it. Also drink hot chocolate everyday - with full cream.

  2. remember our great spinning efforts? :) You took things to a WAY higher level, friend! You rock!

  3. Good work…unique site and interesting too… keep it up…looking forward for more Lose weight i was really impressed by your blog please keep on sharing such blog.