Two years ago, I looked at myself in the mirror, just in my underwear, and noticed that I have gained a lot of weight. A lot. I had a moment of introspection while staring at my protruding belly and my saggy chest, looking as if I was set to join The Biggest Loser. Peaking at around 95 kilograms, I was at my heaviest at the time.
Like most overweight people, I had issues with my self-esteem. Being seen without a shirt on became shameful and wearing my favorite clothes was a struggle because they simply did not fit anymore. I couldn't tuck my belly in in most of my pants and couldn't get in my coolest shirts without stretching them to their limits.
My being overweight had its toll in my health --- I hated the stairs and everything that requires strenuous physical activity. Cardio, or any form of exercise for that matter, put me in a lot of stress. I could not move freely like I used to because of the weight I gained.
In front of the mirror, I realized that my physical appearance, which is a consequence of my lack of discipline, needs a lot of work. Obviously. And that I had to act on it before my weight reaches another high.
Before someone judges me for being superficial, my purpose of losing weight is more than just the looks --- it is largely about taking care of myself and being a lot more comfortable with my body.
I started my transformation by searching for the best weight-loss programs around. Google bombarded me with a handful of websites and videos which got me overwhelmed, but I found that there are two key common denominators in all: food intake and exercise.
Given that I had bad eating habits and that I did not go out a lot to sweat, that sounded like a lot of work to me.
And indeed, it was a lot of work.
Now in July 2018, I celebrate the two years since I first signed up at the gym. From the 95 kilograms that I was, I am now at 78 kilograms --- still overweight, considering I am 5'9", but I am a work in progress.
My social media connections have witnessed snippets of my fitness journey. From time to time I would post photos of me at the gym, often getting comments that I have lost a significant amount of weight. The benefits of my posting are two-way: a few messaged me personally saying that they are inspired about what I do, all the while I am more driven than ever to do the work to reach my goal. In short, a motivation for them and a validation for me.
Here are photos that I took when I was just starting:
Meanwhile, these photos were taken in 2018, about a week ago:
I made this post for all who want to know how I became fat to fit. If you are interested to embark on the same journey, you can learn a lot from my story.
As previously mentioned, there are two key factors in losing weight: food intake and exercise. They say that 70% of the work for weight loss is done in the kitchen while the remaining 30% is done at the gym. I totally agree.
To go on a specific diet is subjective: what works for me may or may not work for you, depending on the person's metabolism. But no doubt that it is one of the most crucial parts of the fitness process.
There are several diets listed across websites, and it is for you to check out what best fits your lifestyle. Explore them.
After experimenting, I can conclude that intermittent fasting (IF) is what works. By the strictest definition of diet, it is not regarded as one but IF is most recommended by many fitness coaches and professionals when it comes to weight loss. It is also backed by science.
For those who do not know what IF is, the simplest explanation is this: it is not what you eat, but when you eat. The idea is to have a fasting hours of 12 to 16 hours a day and eat within the remaining time -- in my case, I fast from 8pm to 12nn of the next day (I only drink water or coffee within this time) and eat twice or thrice from 12nn to 8pm. Read more about IF here.
While they say that the quantity of food does not matter while doing IF, I still became conscious about it. It worked for me.
My diet includes a lot of protein-rich food like chicken and eggs, as well as Apple Cider Vinegar between meals, two tablespoons of it or more diluted in water. I am careful about eating fat and sweets although I divulge to them from time to time to remove my craving. Moreover, I trimmed down my rice consumption dramatically from half-cup to none in every meal.
Of course I had fasting hiccups. There were times that I get invited to drink or eat late at night, go to buffets and consume food outside of my eating hours. For this, I always see to it that I will be able to burn the excess.
Which leads me to the other key factor in losing weight: exercise.
Controlling your food intake is one thing, doing regular exercise is another.
Since my goal is to be lean and have a nice shape and form, I had to sign up at the gym and lift weights. That would make my skin as firm as possible while also shredding the unwanted fat.
Ever since I started working out 2 years ago, I would go to the gym three to five times in a week. It is a habit, more so a commitment, that I admired over time.
I have to admit that it was a struggle. Because I hated exercise so much.
But that changed eventually when I constantly reminded myself that if I want change, I have to make a sacrifice. Even if it means I am always short of breaths and ending up with a dripping wet shirt after a gym session. So I embraced it.
My workouts are mostly self-taught. I did not get a personal trainer but I took guidance from my friends who are into fitness and bodybuilding. They helped me a lot in terms of my workout form --- such is crucial in working out. Also, there are lots of workout training videos available on YouTube at my disposal. I did not have to pay for a service so I did not have to spend a lot.
Moreover, working out is also an experiment for me. To complement what I do at the gym, I had to invest in supplements like whey and authorized meds. They helped me get the body that I want for myself so far, but I am still exploring on the process of learning the whereabouts of supplements.
In my two years of trying to get fit, there were days that I feel like it isn't worth it anymore, particularly on the onset. I was told that that is the best time to do the required work. Mostly it is about committing yourself to a goal. Consistency is key.
If there is one thing that I want to tell myself two years ago while checking the fat guy in front of the mirror, it is this: "Go for it no matter how you think how hard it will be. The struggles in your transformation will be worth it."
Because that is exactly how I feel right now. Exactly.