When I turned 26 (nov 05) last year, I looked at the mirror and didn’t recognize the person staring back at me. There and then, I decided I have had enough. Enough of wallowing in self-pity, enough of not staying committed to my fitness goals, enough of being disappointed in myself, and decided to be the change I wanted for myself. This is just the beginning of a life long journey and I am already excited for the next leg of it. #workit PS: yea, that’s a captain America shirt and when civil war comes out, I will probably be on his team ?
I shared my progress on Facebook last night, and some friends wanted to find out what I had done to lose weight. This post is just my experience over the last 60 days.
So here is my 7-step weight loss plan!
1. Determine your body type
Being a mesomorph is one of the main reasons I am able to lose weight easily. The reverse is also true, I can gain up to 2kg in a week if I remain inactive. To maintain my weight, I need 20mins of moderate workout at least 4–5 times a week.
2. Determine your body fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, calorie intake
It is important to monitor your body fat percentage, and not just focus on how much weight you are losing. Weight loss can result from many reasons, water loss, muscle degradation, and you want to be sure that you are gaining muscles and losing body fats.
Calculate your body fat percentage here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/becker11.htm
The amount of energy (in the form of calories) that the body needs to function while resting for 24 hours is known as the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This number of calories reflects how much energy your body requires to support vital body functions if, hypothetically, you were resting in bed for an entire day. In fact, your BMR is the single largest component (upwards of 60 percent) of your total energy burned each day. While you can’t magically change your BMR right away, knowing your personal number, how it’s calculated, and which factors most influence your metabolism, can help you use this data point to create a smarter strategy for weight loss (or maintenance).
Check your basal metabolic rate here: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-calculate-bmr/
Calorie mindfulness: In order to lose weight, you need to have slightly less calories going in than you need, so your body will tap into the reserve energy stored in your body. Be sure, you don’t starve yourself. This will result in your body going to “starvation mode” and it will do everything to hold on to the fats in your body because it thinks you will not be able to get nutrients on time. Losing weight is possible when you eat right. This will come in handy when you move on to the stage of determining your diet.
Check your optimal calorie intake for weight loss: http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
3. Set your goals
You need to set goals for yourself. This can be intimidating. I had a total weight loss goal of 21kg, and wanted to loose 6″ off my hips (I started at 41″ when I came back from my holiday). This can seem very difficult and almost impossible to achieve.
I broke down my goals into mini goals, so that I would feel motivated every time I reached one of my mini goals. This kept me going especially during periods when I would hit my plateau.
Personally, my plateau points were 72kg and 69kg. The next plateau point I will reach is at 65kg. This means that for 1–2 weeks, I will not see any change in my weight. Don’t freak out if this happens. Sometimes your weight might even go up. If you have been eating healthy, and consistently working out, this just means that your body is putting on muscle and soon you will notice the fats melting away. Everytime I break my plateau points, I lose another 1–1.5kg in 1 week.
Mental preparation for weight loss regime is critical for maintaining this as a lifestyle rather than just a phase that you go through to get a “summer body.” You need to believe that you can shed the weight and this should be supported by why are you doing this. Is it to just look good for a holiday or are you making a commitment for life? This way, you won’t be yo-yoing between your weight, which itself is bad for your body.
4. 80/20 rule of losing weight
Hang on! We are halfway through the plan and we aren’t even at the workout plan? There is a simple explanation for this, that you have to remember.
Losing weight is a strategic game plan. You need to have a plan in mind before you start hitting the gym aimlessly. Sure, you will lose some weight, but will you be able to keep it off? 80% of your body is shaped in the kitchen, and only 20% of is dependent on your workout itself.
So what does this mean? It simply means that you have to be mindful of your diet. Knowing more about your food, how it is being prepared, and the nutritional values of what you are putting into your mouth will help you change the way you eat.
I used to eat everything because I am such a food lover. I still eat what I love but in moderation. Previously, I used to have chocolates on a daily basis, and now I only have it once a week maximum.
5. Your body is maketh in the kitchen
I spent a lot of time researching on diets that will help me optimise my weight loss. I had done something similar in 2014, when I was even more of a health nut so I had a head start this time.
Start with small, gradual changes to your habits. This will help you commit to the new changes. Diving headfirst into a complete overhaul can be a shock to your system and you are more likely to switch back to your old habits. I enjoyed going onto pinterest and discovering new healthy recipes to try out.
My food plan breakdown:
- Breakfast: I start by drinking either lemon water or Ginger honey tea to kickstart my digestive system. I like to add chia seeds to my drinks so I get an extra boost of fiber & nutrients as well. Breakfast is either Oats with some berries or a protein rich breakfast of 2-ingredients banana pancake. I have now taken to spreading a little coconut butter on my pancake, just to switch up the flavors some days and it is packed with healthy fats!
- Lunch: For the first two weeks, I didn’t have any meat at all. I was mainly vegetarian and I would have seafood anytime I craved meat. This is something I do to cleanse my palate. It helps me to adjust better to the healthier options I am switching to in the upcoming weeks because their flavors are more light and usually meat, especially red meat, masks their flavor. Since then, my lunch consists of a serving of salad with some protein component. If I am cooking from home, I have salmon fillets in my fridge which I fire up over a pan and have it with some veges. If I am buying from outside, I look for grilled options and eat with no-carbs. Or at the most, as a wrap.
- Snacks: This makes a huge difference! I swapped out all my sugar treats that I normally reserve for this time, with nuts or berries and the change was incredible. Without all this refined sugar running through my blood, my mind is more alert, my skin got clearer, and there weren’t any epic dips in my mood during the evening from the dreaded sugar crash.
- Dinner: I kept my dinner light. Usually it was some steamed fish with boiled or grilled vegetable medley.
- Other tips:
- Drink water! I cannot emphasise the importance of staying hydrated. It shocks me how little people drink water. I usually have about 1.5L of water by lunch, and another 1L by dinner, and then about 2–3 cups of water before I sleep. My friends call me a camel. haha!
- Instead of eating fried food, switch to grilled or steamed food
- Start eating more alkaline food instead of acidic food
The benefits of the alkaline diet are said to include higher energy levels, fat loss, increased concentration and clearer skin.
- Reduce or stop processed food. If it has too many chemicals, then you know it’s bad for you.
- Stop intake of alcohol or limit yourself to just one glass.
- Reduce dairy intake or just stop it altogether
6. Workout routines
I love to work out. I love how I feel when I am doing weights and I can feel myself getting stronger.Every time I am able to lift a heavier weight, or increase my reps from the last time I did it, I would get an euphoric high that is kind of addictive.
Biggest myth that women must overcome: Using weights will make you into a ripped out hulk!
Girls, go pick the weights, the barbells, the kettle bells! You will not pack on muscles like a ripped body builder. We don’t have enough testosterone to develop overly bulging muscles. You can lose fats faster when you have more muscles because they are the ones burning the fats in your body.
“You need to exercise at full intensity because the end goal is to burn more calories, and high intensity exercise does just that,” says Natalie Jill, a San Diego, Calif.-based certified personal trainer. High intensity workouts mean you’re going all out for as long as you can. If this sounds intimidating, think of it this way: You’ll burn more calories in less time.
I usually go to pinterest to give me inspiration. I have saved all the workouts that I do here on Pinterest. When I started going back to the gym in November, I started with just 20mins in the gym. Sticking to going to the gym 3 times a week, working out with HIIT trainings helped to rev up my stamina and got me back into the headspace I needed to commit to the change.
“You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training,” says Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat. “Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle,” says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. Patton recommends 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.
On days that I don’t have time to commute to my gym, I will work out from home. I have saved a list of workout videos that you can mix and match to create your own personal workout playlist.
You just have to commit to coming back 2–3 times a week,and soon you will find yourself doing more. If you are a beginner to working out, it would be better to join classes with a trainer or have a 1-on-1 trainer.
Form is everything in exercising. If you do it wrong, you are more prone to injury and your workout wouldn’t be efficient anyway. I have worked with personal trainers who have guided me in getting my form right so I am able to work out without much guidance.
When it comes to workouts, you should do activities that you love. Because this will make you happy to do it, and you will look forward to the activity so you will keep going back. Think about it, aren’t you more likely to do something that you love rather than something that you hate? Our subconscious mind is built to drive us towards pleasure. So try out different activities and do what gives you most happiness.
My weekly routine:
- Sunday: Interval running for 10mins. (slow warm up for 3mins, then 40s sprints for 4 rounds 20s normal pace, 200m all out sprint, 2mins cool down)
- Monday: Arms, back, shoulders
- Tuesday: Legs & core
- Wednesday: Cardio & strength training from home
- Thursday: Arms, chest & shoulders
- Friday: Legs, thighs, & core
- Saturday: Break [the break day sometimes swaps around depending on my commitments for the day but I stick to working out 6 days a week]
- Warm-ups: I do 8mins on the staircase climber machine, then 10mins on the row machine, and then either strength or cardio on the rope-pull machine.
- Cool down: Stretches to loosen up the muscles, and it varies depending on the muscles being worked out that day.
- Music: I love listening to music with fast beats, inspirational lyrics while I work out because it helps me to keep my pace.
I plan to incorporate more HIIT trainings moving forward because they are amazing fat blasters!
7. Give yourself a break
This is a lifelong commitment. It’s not a fad. So give yourself a break. When you are out, and you see a cake that you really really want to have, buy it. Share it. Or eat it by yourself. Research has shown that if you constantly deny yourself, you are bound to binge when you finally get what you want. So just savour the moment. There is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure.” Just “pleasure.” And you deserve it!