I am the youngest in my family. There weren’t really any immediate health concerns before I started, I was just really overweight, I got morbidly obese (40+ BMI). I didn’t really care back then, cause I was alive, and I was happy. I was 26 when I started, around 275lbs, and was 175cm tall.
What was your situation that prompted you to change your lifestyle?
There are many things that pushes someone to do their journey, many small things. I am the same, but what pushed me over the edge, and really commit to change, was a documentary. “Obesity: The Post Mortem” (2016). I don’t know when it started, but when I was young I was afraid of fatty liver disease, and seeing this documentary and actually seeing what it physically looked like, it scared me. I don’t know if I have Fatty Liver back then, but I didn’t want to find out. so I took the leap.
I wasn’t encourage by anyone, but I was inspired by one of my friends who was a runner, he was also overweight before, and he started fitness. I tried emulating him many times in the past, but I always just get back to my old habits. what changed this time was, I stopped emulating what he’s doing and figure out what’s working for me. He’s progress and activities was still inspiring to me though, and I am thankful that he keeps sharing it.
What are the challenges you faced?
Before I started my journey, I was already reading a lot of testimonies from reddit so I know what I was going into. It didn’t take me months to get obese, so I had already expected it won’t take me months to get out of it.
I didn’t find the journey hard, I trusted the science behind it. But I knew it will be long, so patience and consistency is really important. It took me 19 months to get to where I am today.
Other challenges I have faced was I was too eager to run/jog and injured myself, my left ankle got injured for 2 weeks, it set me back further cause I was using my right ankle to compensate while walking, and it got injured cause of that.
The first “plateau” was also disheartening, for 3 weeks of doing my thing, I just didn’t lose weight. I have read stories about it, but actually experiencing it was different. I never really had problem with my food, I didn’t eat too much junk food, it’s just that I eat so much, I used to eat 2-3 cups of rice per meal, and that’s just too much. I had problems with soda too and instant coffee though, I love drinking them.
How were you able to conquer the challenges?
I just waited it out, injuries heal, and plateaus pass. I just persevered and stayed consistent knowing that it’s normal.
For the soda and coffee problem, I just switched to zero calorie alternative for soda, like Coke Zero or Rite n’ Lite. and for coffee, I started brewing my own coffee.
No one really directly helped me, but reading stories from reddit and getting information from ‘/r/fitness’ really helped me a lot. aside from reading, I also watched a lot of Youtube fitness videos, I didn’t apply all of them, but to get some general knowledge. If I were to recommend just one, I’d say it would be Greg Doucette, he’s a bit intense though, if you’re the type that doesn’t like his kind of delivery, I’d recommend Jeff Nippard.
For methods/techniques that I used, it initially just started with counting calories, that’s the most important part of losing or gaining weight. Educate yourself about calories, after learning the importance of calories in our lives, it was a big game changer (for me).
I started incorporating cardio a month after I started, I just walked, then as months passed by, it became jogging, then running. I didn’t really enjoy running that much, so I bounce around between jogging, running, and walking.
After around 3 months after I started my journey, I started incorporating strength exercises, I didn’t go to gym (in the 19 months of my weight loss, I only went to gym twice), I just did body weight exercise at the start, and when it got easy, I got myself a dumbbell to make the bodyweight exercise harder. My bodyweight exercise was from the recommended routine of ‘/r/bodyweightfitness’, as time went by, I started adding isolation exercise (for aesthetics)
How do you feel after achieving your goals? What are the changes?
I feel better, I feel stronger, I feel faster, overall, I just feel great. I can’t really explain it, I just feel happier.
Not sure on what really changed around me, I “started” my journey without a specific goal in mind, it’s just that I wanted to be healthier in general. I guess my mental health really improved a lot. I used to be quite a procastinator, its changed now, I still procastinate, but not as bad as before (ie. I used to leave dishes after eating, letting it “soak”, it never happens now, I immediately wash the dishes after eating, and the utensils after cooking)
My future plans… I never had plans, but fitness wise I think the next step for me is bodybuilding, not sure if time will allow it, but I thought of the same thing when I started, so who knows?
I feel like I’m lucky on how I found my approach for weight loss cause of my interests. I was in accountancy (but dropped in my 3rd year), and a pharmacy graduate. With accountancy, I really like journaling stuff (calorie tracking/counting), with pharmacy, I really like the science on how the body works (calorie in general)
Any tips and advice to the readers
Don’t rush things, I have read lots of stories about people “falling of the wagon” cause they jumped too abruptly (1000-1500 calorie deficit, jumping into vegetarian immediately, doing 20:4 intermittent fasting). Test the waters first and find whats working for you.
Be careful of information overload, if you’re getting you’re getting your information from various sources, and they are conflicting, that would be bad for you. stick to 1 or 2 source, don’t get yourself confused from searching too much.
If you’re going with the calorie tracking route, you might want to get an app, I personally use MyFitnessPal, but there are other trackers out there. I’d also like to drop this paragraph from T-Nation’s Dan John (from Eat like a Warrior King):
“Someone recently asked me about “the secret to nutrition.” Seriously, you don’t know what to do about food? Here’s an idea: eat like an adult.
Stop eating fast food, stop eating kid’s cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and comfort foods, and ease up on the snacking. And don’t act like you don’t know this: eat more vegetables and fruits.
Really, how difficult is this? Stop with the whining. Stop with the excuses. Act like an adult and stop eating like a television commercial. Grow up.
It reminds me of what they tell students at top universities: “Look to your right. Now, look to your left. Every person around you was a straight-A student in high school, class president, and valedictorian. Get over it.”
Every success in your life doesn’t call for several extra rounds of beer, a salutary doughnut, and high fives from everyone. You’re an adult now; you don’t need a cookie every time you do something special.
Great athletes score a touchdown, goal, or point and just keep moving along. It’s your job, so get over it. So, if you want to look good in the future, you have to start looking at food like, well, food and not a reward.”
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