I did lose weight.
The comments of my family and friends are finally sinking in. I really thought they were just being polite or extra nice when they say "baket ang payat mo" or "you look like you went back to your College days". It didn't occur to me until now that the most effective way for me to lose weight, is to actually not obsess about it. True that it's different for each individual. We can opt for strict diet plans, subscribe to expert help (ie. Cohen), and/or engage in new sports or workout.
Coming from someone whose weight can swing from sick-looking payat to alarmingly heavy, I learned to understand that my body responds not only to what I eat (and not eat), but to what I do and my overall attitude. It has a lot to do with commitment, balance, consistency and most of all, understanding how your mind and body works.
I hope what worked for me can work for you, too. I don't know how much pounds I lost so far, to be honest, I never keep track. You'll learn why. All I know is that I already NEED, and not want, a new wardrobe because my clothes are starting to look like they're not mine.
1. Start slow, but start now. I started to reduce my intake for a beach outing in February. All I wanted was to look decent in my swimsuit, but then I also realized that while I do love my body, it can be much much better. So I started three weeks before my Pundaquit getaway, and never looked back.
2. Eat less, and eat right. Eating less of the bad stuff is different from eating less of the good ones. If you want to lose weight, the first thing to do is examine your diet and lessen your overall intake. Next, dissect your diet further and decide on food that you have to keep or kick. It's not rocket science. It's common sense, you read it over and over again. More of the good stuff means more natural, organic, freshly prepared, lean, home-cooked food. Less of processed, junk, preserved, fatty, salty and sweet. And I said less, because I have sinful pleasures i.e. soda and sausages like any normal human being. If you can stay away from the bad stuff 100%, good for you. If you can't, that's okay and normal. Don't be too hard on yourself. A little bit won't hurt.
3. Satisfy not stuffed. When I was younger, I eat to my heart's content. I will eat as long as I want to. Then I end up bloated and on the verge of purging. I enjoy the food while I eat it, get sated, and eventually sick that it's no longer a pleasurable experience. Now, I learned to listen to my body, and stop when I feel satisfied but never stuffed. It can be a bit pricey to eat small, frequent meals when you're not home, but you can always ask the waiter to wrap the remaining food on the table. It's also similar to eating only when hungry. You can have lunch at 10 or 12 or at 1.You're body will tell you when, so listen.
5. Quality over Quantity. My best friend gave a the book on how French Women Don't Get Fat. My immediate take away is to go for quality over quantity. If only I learn to eat the premium kind (of meat, of veggies, of pastries, of chocolates), then I wouldn't need a lot. Classic example is that I get more satisfaction from a premium kind of dark, nutty chocolate than a cheap, overly sweet candy bar. Or a handful of fresh nuts or natural chips can be a lot better than a big bag of junk food. It needs a bit of practice and self-control, but I slowly learned to always go or even spend more for the better option.
6. Read. Read about health risks from being overweight. Read about experts' advise on keeping your body active and healthy. Read about natural seasonings. Read about cooking your own pasta using fresh ingredients. Look at magazines. Read how mommy's health affects her baby. Read about cancer. Read about success stories of people who defeated obesity. Read blogs. Read about fashion trends. In short, read about anything and everything. You are not only devoting a good time to learn (rather than eat out of boredom), but you also get helpful insights, tips, new learning and inspirations. I won't get tired of asking my readers to READ. It doesn't matter if you read actual prints or digital content, just read. And do it everyday.
7. Don't be obsessed with the weighing scale. I don't have one in the bathroom. I only step on it when I visit my cousin's house because for whatever reason, they have it in their living room. You can of course get one for yourself, but you don't need to check your weight everyday. Why? One, it can be frustrating because you'll feel like you're not losing significantly, and two, it's more real when you "feel" your weight loss. Your pants, shirts and dresses will give you amazing clues!
8. Treat yourself. When you start to feel lighter, or learn to go for the healthier option, or when people start to notice and compliment you, reward yourself. It can be in a form of your favorite quality meal, a glass of wine or how about buying yourself a new, one size smaller dress? :)
9. Move your butt. I run and do yoga, although not regularly. I have a very busy schedule, and most of the time, I'm too tired to exercise. It's not an excuse though. You still need to move and burn those extra calories. You need a balance between eating less and right and burning enough calories. It doesn't even need to be hard-core workouts. My not-so-secret exercise? I love to walk a lot. I walk several blocks in the morning going to work, even more blocks in the evening going home, and while I have online banking accounts, I choose to to do personal banking several times a week because that forces me to walk. I go to the mall during weekends just to walk around. I walk the dogs. I walk every chance I get. It saves me gas, fights cellulite, shaves the pounds and helps keep my heart healthy.
10. Find a hobby. You know how time flies when you're busy? It's also one way to pass the time and fight the urge to munch on the limitless stash of your mom in the pantry. It's also nice to be productive. Redecorate your room, learn some DIYs, practice your makeup skills, cook a new dish, or even play a new game on your tablet. Just find something enjoyable for you. I recently find myself, I don't know why, obsessed with cleaning the house. I'm now a master of vaccum cleaners and you wouldn't believe how much you'll sweat when you have this machine on hand.
I'm no expert on weight loss, and I'm not claiming miracles if you plan to try the tricks that worked for me. But for posterity's sake, here's what my eating habits look like.
- I try my best to eat breakfast. I'm a perennial coffee drinker, but I know it's not enough. A banana, a cracker with thin spread of cream cheese or a glass of fresh juice is a good start. Don't get fooled by the "natural" word in powdered juice.
- I rarely eat white rice. I replace it with whole wheat bread sandwich or a good amount of veggies.
- I eat meat because for me, it's still the best source of protein. I eat mostly chicken, occasionally beef and rarely pork. Except when I crave for a sinful sisig. But yeah, don't finish the whole sizzling plate!
- I try to inject fish and seafood in my diet as much as I can
- Thankfully, my maturing taste buds now have an appreciation for green leafy things. Salads in particular.
- I only eat one heavy meal a day. Logically, it should be lunch so I still have the rest of the day to burn it, but since I usually have dinner at home or with my boyfriend, I eat very light for lunch and enjoy a full dinner. Half rice at the most, and lots and lots of ulam and veggies.
- Good subs for white rice: brown/redm rice, organic oats, tofu, veggies
- My occasional self rewards include chocolates, Coke and pies. All in reasonable doses. Since I don't eat them all the time, I feel no guilt on days that I do.
- I skip beer and sugary cocktails and go for red wine when I go for night outs. I never liked beer anyways.
- In the occasion that there's reason to feast on glorious food ie celebrations, balikbayan in the house etc., I abide by the plus minus rule. If I ate a lot yesterday, then today's meals should be very light.
- Thanks to J who willingly bought me a decent juicer, I'm starting a habit of juicing. It's not really for weight loss but for cleansing and overall health. Just a reminder to take it slow, I tried ampalaya, cucumber, pechay and malunggay on my first day and I almost died. I should learn more from sexy Jheng who influenced me to try juicing.
Just keep in mind that it's best to strive not only for weight loss but for better health, too. It makes all the hard work and self-discipline more worth it. So let's go, no stopping now, we have more work to do. With that, I leave you with my work in progress photos. :)
From the Nook,