Wednesday, 23 April 2014

5 Weight Loss Tips

After shedding about more than 40 pounds now, I decided I would like to share the 5 tips that had help me come this far. It’s not been an easy journey but it has been a satisfying one.

1. Burn The Extra Fat

Day 7 - Gym
Hit the gym or simply go for a walk/jog/run

Personally, there is no shortcut in losing weight. You’ve got to get your a** up and start working out. If exercising isn’t something that you’ve done in the past, then start slow. It is impossible to morph from a couch potato to a world class athlete almost immediately. I couldn’t even brisk walk for 5 km when I started. Surely exercising sounds dreadful but trust me, the endorphin released during a workout is amazing. Instead of making me tired, exercising had kept me more focus, energetic and happier.

Start off with cardio exercise like walking for 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. If you have access to the gym, even better. Alternate walking or jogging with a 30 minute on the eliptical trainer or cross trainer. When your body is more seasoned to the extra work, go for a jog or a run instead of walking. From lots of online resources, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great exercise method for weight loss and it had worked for me (not sure if it works for everyone else). I would normally run for 2 minutes and slow down for 1 minute and repeat the cycle for about 10 to 12 times.

It would also be a bonus to be a little less lazy and take the stairs instead of the lift; to park your car further away and walk and to walk instead of take public transport when traveling to somewhere within walking distance.

In short, just get up and start working out!

2. What You Eat Is What You Become

Together with exercising, having a healthy diet is equally as important. For 2 decades of my life, I’ve indulged in a unhealthy lifestyle filled with fast food and processed food. Coming to realise that continuing with such a lifestyle would eventually lead to health complications later in life, I was fearful of having to face lengthy healthcare problems and endless hospital visits in the future. Thanks to a running high blood pressure trend in my immediate family and having lost loved ones to cancer, it was a wake up call to snap out of this killer diet.

For starters, eliminate processed food. See those canned drinks, canned food and processed food? They are a killer to a healthy body. A canned drink could easily contain up to 5-6 teaspoons of sugar. With all these excess sugar, it gets stored as fats if the sugar is not used up by our body. Those canned food and processed food, have you wondered how much sodium and saturated fat it contained? Well, start reading the nutrition labels and you would be surprised how much preservative, sodium and saturated fat is in those processed food. Although they are delicious, it is putting health at stake.

Everyone loves their instant noodles. I loved mine too and it was my staple for a long long time. But, throw instant noodles out the window. Literally, filled with carbohydrates and MSG and minimal nutrition, it is just pure junk. Yes it is convenient, easy and delicious but that doesn’t change the fact it is just junk. Help yourself and take a step further to eliminate those air filled bags of potato chips.

By eliminating all the unhealthy food in the diet, start to take a healthier approach in eating. Weight loss is not about starving or stuffing yourself with only vegetables or salad every meal. It is all about healthy eating. For instance, choose to bake or grill food instead of deep frying them. Increase the portion of vegetables and fruits daily and reduce the excess amount of carbohydrate and meat. Opt for balsamic vinegar over creamy salad dressing. Choose wholemeal or bran products over those made from highly refined flour.

These small baby steps would take you far :)

Choose healthier food options
Up the amount of vegetable intake

3. Don’t Try Reaching For the Moon

Be realistic. Weight loss is not a miracle, it is a slow and enduring process. So, set realistic aims and goals and don’t be disheartened if the goals are not achieved on time. Instead, keep calm and carry on. One of the biggest mistake I’ve made when I was trying to shed some pounds in high school and college was trying to achieve the impossible. I would make aims like losing 3kg in a week and do nothing much about it.

There should be great dreams and goals but set realistic short term goals and adjust them accordingly to real time conditions. My aim to lose 16kg when I started seem like something unreachable but with an aim of losing 2-3kg a month, it was easy to achieve and achieving each small target would spring you further to want to nail the next goal. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

It would also be great to write down the motivation for setting foot on this difficult journey. Be clear of the reason why you would want to go through all this pain and hard work. It would be great to do it out of self motivation and not because of external factors which are ever changing. Mine were the fear of getting trapped with weight related diseases and trying to breakthrough the impossible in life.

Set your aim and go for it!

4. Essential Cheats

Yes, I cheat and cheating is what keeps me going. Despite all the healthy and clean eating, cheat days are quite important. Cheat days is usually a day where you would be more relaxed on the diet and indulge in something sinful like some roast pork, char koay teow or maybe a heavenly dessert for those with sweet tooth. And if you must, indulge in some junk like potato chips or even instant noodles. (I am definitely guilty of this)

Cheat days actually help maintain the weight loss struggle. Throughout my whole struggle, I would cheat once a week and indulge in some of my cravings. But of course, don’t be carried away and cheat for one whole week or that would just waste all the hard work and effort.
You always need a break once in awhile.

Roast Pork
Indulge in sinful things like this Roast Pork *drools*

5. Counting Calories

Write down everything you eat even a piece of cracker or a cup of coffee. Aside from eating a healthy meal, calories counting helps to keep track of the amount of food eaten against the real amount of food needed by the body. Aside from that, calories counting actually motivated me and acted as a warning if I am eating too much. The breakdown in carbohydrate, protein and fats etc in my calories counter help to track if I’m overeating certain food groups.

For those with smartphones, download apps like My Fitness Pal where you could easily input your food intake and record the amount of calories in each item. My Fitness Pal would also help to calculate the actual amount of calories needed each day according to your weight and height etc. Contrary to the standard 2000 calories a day for women, everyone’s caloric needs defer from each individual so keep to your needs.

Be meticulous, record everything that enters your mouth.

For those hoping to get fit and lose some extra fats, I hope these tips would help you achieve your goals.

Disclaimer: The writer shall be relinquished from any claims of any injuries or liabilities incurred directly or indirectly as a result of following the above blog post.

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