Hitting a Wall: Weight Loss

Weight loss, weight gain: A struggle that everyone faces.

Wall art

This June marks the 7th anniversary of the beginning of my weight loss journey and for the first time ever I am revealing all. For me, it will never be over: I will always monitor my weight, in case of hiccups along the road, but more on that later…

Tall blue flowers

My story starts in high school.

I am naturally muscular and athletic, so I was never skinny growing up. My dad has thick legs, calves and thighs, and I inherited that. It was my biggest insecurity until I started to gain weight in my sophomore year of high school, then my junior, then my senior year. Soon it overtook the top position of enemy number one. It just kept building up and I never really stopped to analyze how. All I knew was that it was making me unhappy.

Then came senior prom.

Before weight loss
The guilty photo, 2010.

I took one look at the photos from that night and it was like I ran head first into a wall. I hated how I looked and some of the photos were particularly unflattering, of intensifying that insecurity. I just sat there nitpicking every little flaw until I scolded myself.

“Stop whining about it and do something!”

I was wasting time thinking about how unattractive I thought I was, when I could be using that energy to plan how to change the situation. I made a promise to my self right then and there to start my journey. Since graduation was only a week away, I set that as my official start date. This gave me time to analyze my lifestyle and properly prepare myself to undertake this monumental task.

 

Question One:

How was I sabotaging myself?

Answer: Hedonism. I was doing and eating whatever I felt like doing, regardless of it’s potential effect on my health. A year prior to this I had a health scare and it was exacerbated by these negligent decisions.

Question Two:

What was an easy first step I could take, to help motivate me for the long haul?

Answer: Cut out the crap! I was eating family size bags of Heinz Salt and Vinegar chips and drinking cream soda daily. I would purposefully choose chip brands which had the most salt and vinegar coating for that special mouth feel the chips give you, an almost painful feeling but enjoyable. For an obvious reason that was a horrible decision (high sodium intake, practically abusing my heart). The soda I drank simply because it was there. My mum would buy cases of soda at a time instead of healthy drinks. Another easy to cut out food was ramen. I was the master chef of ramen, creating different variations to suit the taste of the day. My favorite recipe: celery salt, dried basil leaves, and half the broth mix poured in while cooking the noodles, the rest at the end. When I stopped to look at the nutritional label I was shocked to learn that, in fact, one package of my favorite brand, Top Ramen, was two servings. That meant that a chicken flavored pack was not 38% of my daily sodium intake for the day but instead 76%!

When I cut out all of three of these culprits, my first 10 pounds melted off. That was the only change I made: I did not increase my level of exercise.

Question Three:

How can I get myself to exercise more?

Answer: Experiment. At first I tried walking and jogging on the treadmill mixed with circuit training but the monotony of the treadmill bored me and the stares and interference from the gym bros demotivated me. Luckily, when I went off to college the school gym had “free” workout classes (included in the semester gym fee), an indoor track, and racquetball courts. For the longest time, I stared in envy at the people racing around the track, wishing I could be like them but instead settling for my boring treadmill. One day I plucked up the courage to try it out and it’s been a love story ever since!

Every once in awhile, I mixed things up by going to the kickboxing classes. These left me feeling incredible and toned as all hell the next day. I took up racquetball as a way to keep my strength up in between tennis seasons and discovered that if I actually tried, I could last for hours continuously on the court. (Which is not exactly good for your wrist…)

When I started to find exercises that I could do consistently, I finally dropped my “last” 20 pounds. I finally had an excuse to go on a shopping spree, buying new tops, new pants, new bras, everything*!

Let me explain why I parenthesized “last.

My body has not budged from that final number. I might fluctuate within 5 pounds, but it always returns to that number. It is the number that I remain at with a balanced lifestyle, whether I sneak in a few slices of pieces pizza and some fries or whether I am a saint. When I was a stock associate, doing heavy lifting everyday, my weight remained the same then too; I lost fat but I gained muscle.

I’ve had to accept the fact that I might never reach the “number” of my dreams and what the BMI table tells me I should be based on my height.  I hit another wall and needed to change how I approach the issue. Now, I base my judgments on how I feel. Can I feel my lower abdominal muscles when I move a certain way? Can I lift that box without effort? I listen to my body and and it gives me a live update on my progress.

After weight loss
A happy moment recently, 2017.

I am in the final stage of my journey, my final Pokémon evolution form. I am happy and content with my body but I know that I need to stay vigilant. It is so easy to have one too many “cheat” meals because life can be hectic and jam packed with family engagements, coffee catch-ups, and work assignments. I would much rather eat a few bites less of splurge meals everyday than to have to lose the weight later. I recently wrote about a hitch in my progress and how I am getting past it in two posts.

My journey is ongoing; weight loss and maintenance is a life-long lifestyle change and I am fully committed!


One happy side benefit of this journey has been discovering new, indulgent but healthy recipes such as banana-based pancakes!


What are some of your tips, recipes, or stories for weight loss? Comment below!

4 thoughts on “Hitting a Wall: Weight Loss

  1. Congratulations on feeling good in your own skin! You look really happy in the last photo =o) To stay in shape i like to switch it up with yoga and Hiit workouts and keep a healthy diet. I also rarely eat out since I don’t know what they are putting into my food.

    dreamofadventures.com

    Liked by 1 person

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