This is my Valentine post, because love is not just about romantic relationship or loving others, but also about loving (and caring for) ourselves as well. 🙂
I have been on a diet for the past few years. There were ups and downs in my diet journal. To tell you the truth, I think I started it wrongly.
At first, like many other people, I was dieting because I simply wanted to lose weight, so I just skipped dinner and reduced the amount of food I ate. It worked for a few months, but I didn’t enjoy it so I stopped, and let’s just say that at that time, I wasn’t too friendly with the weight scales.
A few months later, I tried the combination of cardio and weightlifting workout with calorie restriction, and I was focusing on reducing weight (again). Again, it worked only for a few months but I enjoyed this method more than the previous one. My body weight was stuck on a certain number and I kept trying to reduce more and more. I wanted my Body Mass Index (BMI) to be 20 kg/m2, and at that point my BMI was still at 21-22.
I have tried combining physical exercises (cardio, weightlifting, aerobic, yoga [beginner level]) with food arrangement (OCD [Obsessive Corbuzier Diet], calorie restriction, skipping dinner, etc) – thankfully I have a good knowledge of medicine so I didn’t take any medication for reducing weight or being an anorexic/bulimic – until one time I asked myself; what is the point of doing all this stuff? My spontaneous answer was ‘to be slim’, then my next question was ‘and then what?’
I was tired of looking at the clock, waiting for a certain time when I was finally ‘allowed’ to eat. I was tired of checking the calorie rating of everything I put into my mouth and then inputting them to my food calculator so that I knew how much more I could still eat for the day. I was tired of weight scales, tape measures, and calories information on the back of my chips.
And then what, after I reduced weight? Nothing. I kept going towards something that had a pointless end. I was obsessing over some numbers that didn’t even matter that much. I forgot that no matter what the number on the weight scales was, or no matter what my size was, or no matter what my BMI was, those were all meaningless if I was not healthy.
So I decided to change my goals. Instead of focusing on body weight or BMI, now I care more about my body fat percentage, because I can still weigh 50 kgs and have BMI of 20 kg/m2 but if my body fat percentage is 30%, then those previous two are meaningless.
So what do I do? Here are some things I have done since then:
- Focusing on being fit and healthy instead of being slim and skinny.
- Having some fat is good, as long as they are in an appropriate amount and the right type (the ‘good’ fat) and on the right places. How? Eat properly and exercise regularly.
- On exercise: do exercise regularly (at least 3-4 times a week). Do whatever you like: running, jogging, biking, swimming, doing yoga, aerobic, kick-boxing, badminton, football, etc (note: please consult to your physician regarding the physical exercise that is suitable for your medical condition). Personally, I get bored easily so I do various exercises, but all of them are at-home exercises or jogging. Smart phones nowadays are quite useful and they provide a lot of useful applications. I installed ‘Workout Trainer’ by Skimble and ‘All-in Yoga’ by Viaden, and downloaded home workout videos from com or else. On weekends or holidays, I sometimes go jogging at the nearest park.
- On food: think before you eat. You don’t want to put something into your mouth then regret it later. Don’t be an impulsive eater. I used to be concerned only about the quantity of my food, but now I am more concerned about the quality. I try to avoid junk food, I skip desserts, I drink water instead of soft drinks or sugar-containing-drinks, I have mashed potatoes or extra salad instead of French fries, I stop snacking, I reduce processed food, etc. In short, I make effort to eat more fruits and veggies and cut down carbohydrates and fat, but the most important thing is I have to enjoy what I am doing. There is no point of going on a diet that makes you suffer. I have ‘Noom Coach’ by Noom, Inc. on my phone to help me maintain how much I should eat – depends on my energy requirements and activity.
- Befriend the weight scales and the tape measures, but don’t be obsessed with them. They only show you numbers, but those are not the most important thing. The most important thing is how you interpret those numbers to tell whether you’re (fit and) healthy or not. Being skinny or curvy is not the main goal. Being fit and healthy are. I installed ‘Body Tracker’ by Linear Software on my phone and it can tell me my body fat percentage by calculating our body weight and measures. It’s also good to have routine medical check-up so that we know that everything is in balance.
I like fit people. I like them more than I like beautiful or cute people. Handsomeness is easy – you can do make-up, facial treatments; you can even rely on genetics. Fitness, on the other hand, is a result of hard work and commitment. And so I appreciate it more than the former.
Diet is a lifestyle, so is physical exercise. Diet is not cutting down your food until you reach certain numbers on the weight scale or tape measures; it is about how you maintain your food at the right quantities and the right intake of nutrition for the rest of your life, and how to enjoy the process. A lot of people think of diet only as a temporary plan, that they just have to be patient for some time, stop eating this and that, then after their goal is reached, they can forget about dieting forever. For me, diet is about making a habit of eating, so make one that you’ll love and enjoy, because it is an on-going thing. You can even change your diet plan every once in a while, because there is no such thing as the ‘right’ diet. Diet (and physical exercise) is about comfort and satisfaction. If you need some advices, do contact a dietician.
Diet is a lifestyle. It is a habit, and like they said; at first you create your habits, but as time goes by, it is your habit that defines you.
As young people, we often hear others said, “Eat whatever you want to, since you’re still young and have good metabolism. When you’re old, you can’t eat as free as you can now.” I disagree. Doing irresponsible eating while we’re young leads to unhealthy habits of eating. If we are already used to eat carelessly, it will be hard to change the habit once we’re older and ‘cannot eat as free as we can now’. One of the rising problems in the world of medicine nowadays is the increasing number of metabolic diseases as a result of unhealthy habit of eating and sedentary lifestyle, and it is careless not to do anything to prevent such preventable disease.
Instead of rushing everything (food) now and then stop abruptly sometime in the future, why not initiating a habit of healthy eating since we’re still young, and stick to that habit even after we’re older? I’d rather maintain a healthy lifestyle since I’m young than eat as-much-as-I-can now but getting metabolic diseases when I’m older.
We can save wealth for the future – why not health?
The right method of diet increases chances of longevity and health.
I love eating; I admit that one of the joys of living is the taste of food, but we have to know how to control what we put into our mouth. I still eat junk food, I still drink soft drinks – I merely reduce the amount and the frequency. I enjoy good food, but now I know when to stop. I sometimes over-eat, but now there is no guilt like there used to be, because I compensate them with healthy food and exercises. I don’t do self-pity and regret; I make amends. I don’t search for excuses, because I know that health and fitness have to be earned.
I have been doing this for a year now, and I enjoy it very much. I am not the skinniest or the sexiest person you’ve ever met, but I am happy. I used to envy supermodels’ bodies on TV or in magazines, but then I asked myself, “Am I not happy being the person I am now?” Nope. Now I don’t compare myself to others anymore. There are people who are skinnier, who can fit into dresses I cannot get into, but so what? I am enjoying myself. I enjoy eating and I love my home workouts, and I have no problems with my numbers. I have an ideal body weight (IBW), a normal BMI, and a good body fat percentage. So what? I am now friends with my weight scales and my tape measures and my lab results, because they are only tools to remind me that the main focus is to be fit and healthy. Aren’t those two the most precious things above all? 🙂
Make fitness and health your goals and also your lifestyle. Love yourself enough to change into a better (and healthier) person. Happy healthy-living!