Growing up, I never really had an ideal body figure; I was the chubby kid who loathed doing anything physically draining. The funny thing is, I used to have some kind of eating problem when I was little. My mom told me that I could not drink milk directly from any container; she needed to spoon it into my mouth; I was not even able to slurp it through a straw, pathetic. Thus, I never used baby bottle like the majority of other toddlers. I also had issues with chewing several kinds of food, I might even throw up if I thought of it as too hard to digest.
Thankfully, those troubles had disappeared before I got into primary school.
Still, I never knew how it felt to be skinny. I was quite blessed despite my not-so-flattering body type, I never really caught any serious illness. I think that was why I did not really want to change my appearance into the better one in the very first place. My family and my friends, I suppose, did not make it a big deal either. I was happy with my situation. It was like, ‘as long as I am healthy, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.’ Well, I was too naive to consider myself ‘healthy’ when I was NOT actually.
As far as I remember, I was not ‘that’ obese until I just kept gaining weight throughout years. And what makes me grateful is that I am not petite hence I was able to disguise the flab in order to stay fab. However, that excuse had an expiration date eventually. I knew that I lied to myself if I said I looked okay when I was in front of the mirror. It was quite hard to admit that I was conscious of excessive weight in my own body. Emotional is the exact word to describe what I felt every time the issue was brought to the table.
Not that I did not do anything about it to find a solution, I did try to overcome it. Seriously. Acupuncture, diet pill, slimming fluid, you name it, I gave them not only one single chance, but a few! It was like jumping from one to another until I found myself exhausted following the routines. I struggled, big time.
I previously mentioned that I hated physical activities which might lead to drowsiness, especially sports. Heck yeah, I bloody detested every single one of them. I only did sport during physical education session when I was still in school. I even skipped one fucking whole year of P.E. through the eleventh grade. I should have been given a trophy or something for that sort of achievement 😛
That’s how much I despised dragging my ass off to exercise.
Can it get even worse? Well, it always could. My eating habit was so bad that I am even terrified once I recall it now. I basically ate EVERYTHING, except fruits and vegetables and other so-called healthy meals. I thought of those stuff as undeniably gross; only God-handpicked individuals who were capable of consuming them.
Don’t get me wrong though, I have always loved eating up until now. I never stopped loving it. I generally assume it is the longest relationship I will ever have with anything. The bad news is I loved it too much; it took control of my life. I was constantly aware that I did not eat right at all. If that is not bad enough, let me tell you that I did not give any damn about it.
On the other hand, I adore fine clothes as well. Yeah I know, it was a very complicated situation. Casual t-shirts were not really problematic since I still constantly managed to fit the X-Large size with a tremendous amount of effort 😛 BUT… when it came down to formal tops, like suits, and bottoms, including trousers, jeans, and shorts, it became one hell of a bother. I needed to go to the tailor whom I already got accustomed to in order to make me suit jackets and blazers just because I could not find any of them in my own size at any stores. As for bottoms, I used to be size 40, often forcing size 38 to be put around my potbelly. There was even a couple of particular stuff that I endlessly avoided: any slim fit tops and any skinny jeans. Why? Well, I simply could not wear them at all costs.
Maybe some of you are wondering where the story leads to. Well, I believe it is not only myself who have experienced similar circumstance as what I did in the past; you want to eat like a horse without looking any worse by doing absolutely nothing. As you can see, I am not naturally born with skinny genes thus that idea is undeniably not suitable for me. Reality sucks, doesn’t it? We can only suck it up inevitably.
Fortunately and unexpectedly, something came into my life. Someone, to be more precise; one of my best pals. He showed me the path where I should have been. He might not know it, but I was jealous of him at first, green with envy I might say. I sort of lost contact with him for about a year or so and when I got a chance to see him again, I was left open-mouthed. He became, you know, slenderized. Damn, I cannot believe I typed that. Of course I did not want to show him any signal of resentment since I am the kind of person who cannot easily fall bitter against anything or anyone.
It was quite a tough process for both of us because I took this matter with treacly sentiment despite knowing the fact that all he wanted to do was just to help me improve myself. He was composed enough while trying to convince me that I could do what he had done exactly the same way as his. I was full of pessimistic thoughts yet he had a vast amount of belief in me. However, I finally admitted that I agreed to do something as he suggested.
September 20, 2010 was the first day I started my journey to healthier lifestyle. How did (as well as ‘do’) I do it?
That friend of mine told me about this holy bible for those of you who want to change your body, no matter what motives you have got behind: The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’sHealth. This book really changed my point of view towards the word ‘diet’. I cannot tell you how useful it is unless you read it for yourself. One thing that I promise you that everything inside is relatively easy to follow. What I am going to share here is the basic principles of the diet itself.
Typically when you hear the word ‘diet’, you will just come to a conclusion of depriving yourself from food. Well, that is a total bogus. But hey relax, I did the exact same thing in the past; it has been altered now. The Abs Diet taught me that I ‘should’ eat six times a day.
Whoaaa, hold it right there. Eating? 6 times? In one single day?
I am pretty sure you think I am lying here, but I am not. And here is how I plan my eating throughout days:
7 AM: Breakfast
I kick off morning with my routine of having a glass of either 2-percent milk or skimmed milk, depending on what I have already bought, and two slices of whole-wheat bread; my favorite: PB&J. And remember whole-wheat bread and wheat bread are two different things, so be careful. [ALL WHEAT BREAD NOT ALIKE]
When I get bored of breads, I switch to whole-grain cereals. I never believed that a generous bowl of cereal could satisfy what my tummy needed; I do now though 🙂 A bowl of oatmeal with sliced fruits will not hurt you either.
And one more important thing, even when you are rushing to go wherever you are scheduled to first thing in the morning, never ever skip breakfast because you will feel twice the hunger later on that day and at the same time you raise the chance of getting obese by 450%! Now I ask you, how much time do you need to pour a nice glass of milk and drink it? It is enough to keep you stuffed, my friends.
Around 10 AM to 11 AM: Snack
A twinpack of nutritious biscuits, or two (you will find out why later), is definitely enough for snacking here. Having a protein bar on hand can also be the guilt-free way to make sure that you are not starving. Fruits can never go wrong 🙂
1 PM: Lunch
If you guess that I do not eat another carb after my breakfast, you are stood corrected: I eat RICE during lunch although it is portioned in a modest serving size. Instead I opt to add more vegetables because from what I have learnt, my appetite fades even longer when I consume more veggies. And don’t forget to drink water!
4 PM: Snack
You can eat what you already have before midday or you can actually mix it up. What I usually do is to nosh the biscuits at 10 AM (or 11 AM) and save the protein bar to be munched later in the afternoon. Some other times I enjoy low-fat yogurts as well.
6 PM: Dinner
The pattern is the same as lunch, but this time I leave rice out of my plate. A combination of veggies + chicken/beef/fish + tofu is not too shabby, mates!
I always gulp down a glass of milk before calling it a day like what I do in the morning and drink a glass of water. And strange enough it somehow helps me to sleep well at nights, just so you know.
See? It really is true that I eat six times a day. And to be honest, sometimes I am still confused how I can lose weight by doing so. Well, it is no magic or anything weird obviously. It is just a matter of being well-balanced. It feels as if I never changed my eating habit because I just keep making my belly happy by not letting lack-of-food attack me, in a better way.
I cheat. Yes I do. On Sundays, I eat whatever, whenever, wherever I want to. I simply do not follow anything I do during normal days. There is one particular reason why it is actually important to cheat once in while in this case: to avoid monotony. Monotony here is not only about how you feel about the diet, but also how your metabolism works. Your body is capable of eventually hitting a plateau when everything you do with it is dullsville, it might be what you eat or even what you exercise. Sometimes you just have to break the rule to be reminded once and for all. When I really indulge myself with privileges that I do not get on daily basis, at the end of the day I will be aware what I have just done is just unusual. Hence I must get back on the right track ASAP!
Another hint that I know is drink enough amount of water everyday. Most of the time we have no idea that our body simply needs to be rehydrated. And that is why when we are actually thirsty, we often wrongly recognize it as hungriness thus we choose to eat, not to drink, while it does not fulfill what our body really longs for.
One more (silly) trick that I know is when you cannot really distinguish the difference of being parched and starved, flex your abs (without holding your breath) as hard as you can for ten seconds. If the craving is gone, you only need to have a glass of water. It usually works like that for me.
Chewing food more properly can also help the repletion last longer. I used to eat my meal quickly enough because I just wanted it to be vanished real soon. What about now? I take my time to enjoy the food in front of me; speaking of taking it slow.
Eating right alone is very beneficial, but unfortunately not enough. Hence now what? Exercise is the next essential key.
At first, I rejected the idea of working out. D’oh, obviously! I was very fortunate to be introduced to Bikram Yoga back then nonetheless.
As Bikram Choudhury said, “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad. You’re never too old, you’re never too sick to start from scratch and do this yoga.” Those words were convincing enough for me to believe in it and start practicing.
I still remember how my very first class went. I did the night session and I did not imagine that it would be THAT hot! I thought 40°C and above would be just okay, strike that, it was insane! Cruel and merciless I might add. It was like the longest 90 minutes I had experienced in my whole life. On that occasion I did not really follow the supposedly 26 postures correctly because I was too distracted by the heat trapped inside the studio. However I was very proud of myself that I did not leave the class at all, I somehow managed to survive! [BIKRAM YOGA IN JAKARTA]
After that, I really wanted to challenge myself by coming in and practicing regularly. Although my intention was initially to lose weight, I have also reaped some other bonuses. I used to snore, quite loudly, now I do not. I used to find it hard to get some sleep, probably insomnia, now I do not. I used to suffer cramps in either of my calves easily during sleep when the room was cold, now I do not. I used to have back pain which was pretty nasty, now I do not. I used to get knackered pretty damn quick, now I do not. I used to be unable to control my appetite, now I can 🙂
The first three months, I lost 22 kilograms. I was wowed by what I had done. I never imagined that I was capable of doing so. Losing one kg was grueling enough for me, let alone 20kg+! It was beyond my wildest imagination. It was a huge deal.
Next I gave myself another test. My birthday is in June and so I had a target of cutting off another 18 kg to make it 40 kg weight loss in total before the D-day. I basically had six months only to make it happen, it was twice longer than the previous phase where I lost 22 kg though. Even so, working my ass off could not be bargained.
What did I do then? Besides maintaining my diet and practicing Bikram Yoga, I added another force: workout. I really hated myself for finally realizing the urge of doing exercise. You are now probably thinking how a guy like me who loathed any kind of sports could decide to do what people do when they go to gym. The secret is to take it one step at a time.
I work out five times a week meaning I still have two days off (yay!). Whether you want to lose a few or a lot of pounds from your body, your workout has to be balanced between the strength training and the cardiovascular exercise.
The main components:
1. Strength Training: three times a week
2. Cardio: twice a week
++Abs exercise: twice a week, before strength training
You can explore more here. Plus if you are seriously busy, have no time to go to the gym, well you can create your personal gym right inside your house. Things that you need to have are an exercise mat, one or two pairs of dumbbells, and swiss ball. You only need to buy them once, so it is apparently a good investment. By having only a couple of equipments there, you can develop a very broad range of exercises which train various parts of your body. Special suggestion for dumbbells, buy two pairs: one pair for the light ones (around 1-2 kg) and another for the heavier ones (6 kg and up). If you already own stationary bike and/or treadmill, you are rather luckier 🙂
There are plenty of sources, especially on the internet, which are very helpful for you to design your desired workout. Therefore, you do not have to worry at all if you have no idea how to start because I was exactly like you. Been there, done that! I had zero understanding about it in the past, but I learnt. Indeed I am still in learning process because it is just the lifestyle that I have chosen.
Apart from those exhausting stuff (sigh!), I do other sports like swimming, primarily due to its pleasure. Walking is also in my dictionary; I walk to my campus daily unless it rains. Even if the buildings happen to have elevators available there, I still prefer stairs. I have several classes which are located on the fourth floor and I do not mind at all to pass on the lifts. Jogging and running are good for you as well. I have Nintendo Wii back home and if you do too, use it the right way! There are numerous games in the health and fitness section that you can choose in order to improve your form. If you happen to like dancing games, you are in the right path already! Why? Simply because you can even dance your butt off, have fun, and obtain side bonuses at once.
Anyway, did I accomplish what I had set earlier? Well, thankfully I did.
In fact, I surpassed it again. I was elated by what I had achieved. I turned 19 and lost 42 kg. I once reached the lowest number at 67 kg a couple months later, but I am pretty comfortable with where I am now, weighing at near 70 kg. I just want to sustain the result which I have already attained so far. I choose to relax a bit now and relish the efforts I have done. I am in the maintaining program by now, not really a program I think because it has become my way of living.
One year has gone by now. Last year, I was still the chubby boy. Now I feel more confident with myself. Now I wear medium size shirts. Now I wear size 30/32 pants. Now I have so much trouble with my oversized clothing 😛 Now I have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23, formerly 38. Now I have less anxiety towards my dream job which has stereotype of proportional appearance. Now I am addicted to doing physical activities. The most important thing is now I feel healthy and I am very blessed to know how it feels to have an ideal figure at last.
Last words for you who are in the same journey as I am or are about to embark the adventure, never give up, never surrender! Enjoy the ride, whether it is good or bad, because it will be worth it sooner or later and the power of believing in yourself is just unbelievable. When you are starting to lose motivation just remember why you do it at the beginning and reflect what you are up to completing at the end.
The point is you should not be ashamed with your appearance now because it is who you truly are; never underestimate your potentials within. I was so embarrassed by 112 kg inside my body that I was almost defeated. Embrace yourself and then you will know what is actually best for you in order to make the most of your life.
If I can do it, why can’t ya?
ME IN NATIONAL NEWSPAPER!!! SUPER EXCITED!!!