Category Archives: Fat-slim-me

The One With A Bulging Waistline

waistline

Today I finally bit the bullet.

I couldn’t hide from the fact anymore. Getting ready for the day every morning has turned from delight to dread. In the space of mere months (nine, in fact), I have ballooned by two inches on the waistline, one shirt size larger and unmitigated shame on the weighing scale.

Sucking in my tummy has been a daily grit, hour on the hour. Friends after friends expressed concern on my transformation. I am blessed, the excuse went. Prosperous and happy, so they were told.

But it remains deep inside I am not happy.

So I decided to do something drastic about it. I bought an entire new wardrobe, one size larger, and modified all my pants and suits. As a cruel act of reminder of the man I have become, I deliberately went for the most uncreative and boring set of clothes that is totally not my style. While I will be comfortable in my own clothes – I took some much needed little joy from that – it will also be a daily reminder that work needs to be done. Plenty of them, to get back to where I was.

I have learned that it takes a different set of courage to admit your own shortcomings. I reckon it will take a whole different of determination to reverse what has been done.

The One With Living With A Reduced Waistline

Lose Weight Now, Ask Me How!

Everyone knows the principles of losing weight, even if you find them too difficult to put into practice. It is no rocket science; to reduce those stubborn flaps you need to do three basic things:
1) Motivate yourself, perhaps with a trainer
2) Stick to a healthy diet (and perhaps save some dollars in the process)
3) Exercise, exercise, exercise. Done? Do it again. And then again.

You might not be able to do all three at the same time. Start small. Choose one target, and then take one day at a time. When it doesn’t felt like too much work, then start another one.

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The One With Frugality & Dieting Under HKD250 A Week

Yes, you have read the post title correctly. I have been wanting to write this post for some time now, and have been making notes over the weeks to make it useful to you.

This is for you who, like me, wants to be on a diet (in order to lose weight) and to live frugally (i.e. to spend only where necessary, when it comes to food) especially during the working week.

This is how you, my friend, can plan your meals for a week of five working days and spend less than HK$250. Yes, that’s two hundred and fifty Hong Kong dollars.

Breakfast – choose and eat wisely.

My favourite breakfast for the month.

As the first meal of the day, you need that kick start your day right. We all know how important the first cup of coffee is, and what’s more wonderful than to hit up the nearest Starbucks or Pacific Coffee? But, be warned; each of those lovely grande-sized coffee sets you back at least HK$30 a piece. Doing that daily, even if only on working days, can make a sizable dent in your budget.

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The One With The Latest Fitness Regime Update

The One With The Latest Fitness Regime Update

Please excuse this egocentric post, but some things need to be blogged down.

It has been a good two years since the last time I did a milestone check on my fitness regime. Granted, over the past 24 months I had too many lapses in my diet I care to count. At times I missed weeks of gym sessions, especially when I took off for backpacking holidays.

So when I asked my current trainer about taking a check, he did it the manual way and told me my current measurements. I can’t remember when was the last time I did it, or what the measurements (weight in kg, and percentage of body fat) were, so I had to dig out through my old blog posts.

Here’s what I found.

17/1/08 – 84.2 kg, 31.7%
2/2/08 – 81.2 kg, 29.2%
19/2/08 – 81.1 kg, 24.3%
17/4/08 – 78.6 kg, 26.1%
17/6/08 - 77.0 kg, 26.9%

And after a lapse of two years…

19/5/10 – 69.0 kg, 20.4%

So after two and a half years, I managed to shed a total of 15.2 kg, and a reduction of 11.3% body fat.

Tonight is a happy night.

(Photo Credit)

If You Have To Eat McDonald’s While On A Diet…

It’s true then. McDonald’s has signed a deal with Weight Watchers to promote some of its meals, such as Chicken McNuggets, as ideal for dieters.

Personally I think the entire idea is totally absurd. Eating fast food is not only the highway to obesity; it is also laden with more temptations for a whole host of eating disorders (overeating is only one of them). Think about fries, soft drinks, desserts… the whole lot.

Isn’t it totally inappropriate that their food is peddled to the very people who should not eat them?

I am not saying I hate McDonald’s. I don’t. I eat it more than occasionally, but always in moderation and by making the right choices. So if you have to eat McDonald’s, here’s what you should do:
1. Don’t upsize. It won’t kill you having less drinks and less fries. If you are still thirsty, drink plain water
2. Change that soft drink. Go for things like hot tea and orange juice. Less sugar, less fattening
3. Go for the grilled burgers. Like grilled chicken, grilled fish burgers. Not double quarter pounder with extra cheese
4. Oh, ditch the cheese.
5. No dessert, please. If you have to, get those sliced apples some outlets seem to have.

Never eat more than one McDonald’s meal a week. You can get better toys in Toys ‘R Us.

A Fitness Journey Worth Remembering

(Recently I was asked to write a testimonial for Crix, my personal trainer at Fitness First while I was living in Singapore. This was what I wrote)

I remember vividly how it started. It was the beginning of 2008. My friend was rummaging through my wardrobe looking for something to wear, and in total incredulity he lamented that I needed a (fashion) makeover!

Only then I realised I have not bought new clothes for years. I had always wanted to, but told myself to wait till I lose a little weight. Of course, that never happens, and years flew by.

Dennis & I

(Me, at the beginning of my two-years regime, in January 2008)

Gripped by a fear that I will be a total telly tubby by the time I hit my 30s, I rounded up a friend who recently signed up for Fitness First. One week in, I got myself a personal trainer, Crix.

It wasn’t an easy process. I am the most unfit person I know. Crix has the patience of a saint to show me the rope and correcting my wrong techniques. A grueling combination of cardio work, muscle training and sensible diet saw itself paying off as I shave off one inch after one slow inch.

When I got started, my pants measured 40″ and I was a whopping 88 kg. Two years and two packages of 30 sessions later, I am the proud owner of pairs of 30″ jeans, while my weight dropped to the vicinity of 74 kg.

Crix, girlfriend and I

(My trainer, Crix at my 29th birthday party in June 2008, half year since we got started)

I learned that the body can take as much pressure as you wish to take on, and most of the time, the difficulty is a mental one. Yes, every now and then I slipped – a plethora of excuses, like work stress, travel schedule, birthday dinners – but the most important thing to remember is that, if you slip, it is not the end of the world. The right motivation and the help of a dedicated trainer go a long way.

Now that I reside in Hong Kong, I never forget some of the discipline and techniques Crix has instilled in me. Yes, I am still with Fitness First, and a firm believer on one-to-one training.

Crix, I have you to thank for in making part of who I am, today!

Museum of Music History at Táncsics Mihály utca, Castle Hill

(At Budapest, Hungary in December 2009)

My Fitness Story

I was reading some blogs recently when this post by Leon caught my eyes. I was particularly mesmerised by what he said here:

And I was then able to get used to my new ear stud and more accessories on me.. Even my family commented that the way I dress now is more trendy, bolder, more colorful than before… oh and much younger, or so they said..

That strike a chord in me, because that was exactly what my mum told me as well! So I commented:

Nice write up! Yes, starting up is the hardest part, but once you get into a routine, you will never look back. I had always wanted to write a post on my own transformation in the past two years… and your post just motivated to do that. Thanks!

And he replied:

Razlan, you should still write your story, I am keen to read about it

So here I am, thinking back over the years on how much I have changed.

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I remember the days during my student days when I will wake up in the middle of the night, cooked up a storm and drank multiple packs of instant coffee to fuel my study period. Breaks in between lectures and tutorials were filled with “makan” session in canteens, often full meals by themselves. Oh, and the lack of exercise. In those days, the only exercise I could say I did was squash. Even so, during my four years in university, I played less than ten times, and never after I left the campus. In my teenage years, my mum was always onto me to exercise before I ballooned further, but I had always able to find a reason. Mostly that I was too busy studying and scoring As.

Raz at Spa

In my university days, I wore berms and shorts and jeans to school, so the fact that I was overweight didn’t really affect me. It wasn’t until after I graduated and reported to work for my first job that my working pants really threatened to kill me…. I had to go to the toilet a couple of times each day to release the pants cuff so that I can breathe. Could you imagine that?

Me in my gay beret

So without really paying attention to my waistline, it expanded. Again and again I need to change my wardrobe, to the point that I always had to get the biggest pant size available in departmental stores, and even so it fits me too tightly for comfort.

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So my feeble attempts in going to the gym started. First it was those community gyms managed by NTUC. I had a gym buddy then. Sam was very encouraging, but I mostly stuck to low-impact cardio and some weird machine routine that did little to build my muscle.

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A year on, I joined the then Planet Fitness. Even so, my gym period would not last more than a couple of months before I lapse into inactivity. My weight will go up until it alarmed me back into exercising again… but it was a vicious cycle that I was stuck in for years.

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The truth is, I love eating out and drinking too much. I didn’t put importance into my appearance nor a healthy lifestyle, even when at times, those facts sadden me and made me feel exasperated about life.

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It wasn’t until early 2008 that things really started to change. It was by chance… in the form of a good friend:

Faisal: Raz, I need to borrow a shirt
Raz: Okay, just look through my clothes
Faisal: (Rumbling through my rack of clothes, looking incredulous) Raz, you need to change your wardrobe
Raz: ….

It was then I realised I have not bought new clothes in years. Because I always tell myself that I will get new clothes when I have reduced my size, which of course never happened. I measured myself at that time, and to my horror I tipped the scale at 92kg, and my pants measured 40 inches.

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That was a turning point. I called up a friend whom I knew just signed up for gym, asked for advice, and signed up for one myself. I even engaged a personal trainer to get me going.

Dennis & I

And so my regime started, and coupled with some severe diet, I started to shed off inches from my waist bit by bit. It was extremely hard work. I had to do lots of cardio, and not your regular walking-on-the-threadmill. And weight training was so new and foreign to me, the first couple of times were pure torture.

Dinner @ Wala Wala

But I persevered… partly because I started to feel healthier and more confident about myself, and my friends started to notice the changes in me. I began buy clothes because my old ones were too baggy on me. I started going out more, get to know more people, experience things which I thought would not be possible in my old self…

Night Out with LJ-ers

Generally, life gets better. And right now, some two year one after the turning point, I am a proud owner of a 30″ waistline, tipping the scale at 74 kg. Of course there were moments I lapsed as well, but they are getting more and more infrequent now, and it is easier for me now to get back into routine.

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The lesson? I am happy the way I am now, but I also acknowledge that I can improve further. I will not lament how much more fats I have to shed. And I will always pat myself on the back for a job well done.

The road ahead of me to get to where I want to be will be tough, but I guess I am ready for it.

What is your fitness story?

My Carbless Diet

To the amazement of some people around me, I have been on a carbless diet since a few weeks ago.

Now, don’t start to lecture me why a carbless diet is unhealthy. No diet is ever 100% healthy. Each individual has their own requirements when it comes to their nutrient intake, so you have to experiment and find one that is suitable for you.

For me, it’s carbless. And lots of vegetables and meats.

Grocery 090405

This is my latest grocery collection for the week. Since I started on my new diet, I find joy in buying, preparing and cooking three meals a day!

Meat & Vege - Always ensure that you have a proportion of 1:2 for meat:vege. That way, you’ll have just enough protein and fat (from meat) and have enough goodness of vege to counter any “meat overdose”

Meat - Unlike most people, I have equal preference between red meat and white meat. I like chicken breast, lean beef, seafood (I take them in controlled quantity). As far as possible I try not to get the minced variety, though at times they do seem to be cheaper.

Vege - Here’s where I can go wild. I take an almost equal amount of leafy and non-leafy types. I am impartial to most leafy vege, though I do seem to be inclined towards rocket leaves (they are expensive though), kailan and lettuce*. For the non-leafy ones, I go for mushrooms (they help the flavour a lot), soy bean sprout, celery, red/yellow peppers and baby corns. As you may realised, with this combination of vege, my meals are usually colourful, and that helps my appetite!

Lunch 090325

Eggs - they say eggs are a good source of protein, and I agree. But unless you are going for a muscle-building spree, a diet of 8-eggs a day will probably harm you more than it’s helping. I go for a balance, with vege in every meal. One meal will be egg-based, and two meals will be meat-based. The healthiest way to cook eggs is simply to hard boil it, but I would often succumb to the fried variety. Which brings me to…

Oil - In many instances, one teaspoon of oil is sufficient for cooking. Most of your ingredients, especially the meat, exudes their own natural juice to keep your meal from being burnt from cooking. If you need to use oil, go for olive oil. They are four times more expensive than your normal oil, but you should be using it in moderation anyway. Alternatively, your choice of oil can function as seasoning as well, which is my next point.

Seasoning – In all my meals, I refrain from using MSG, stock or anything processed. For flavour, I tend to use sesame oil. In small quantity, it is enough to help you stir fry your food, and to give it taste. Just be careful not to overheat your sesame oil, or else it will dry up and “burn” in your wok. Other alternatives I have tried to great success are tumeric powder, curry leaves, and sliced ginger. Occasionally I do use a sprinkle of salt if ingredients in my fridge is running low.

Processed Food – Contrary to popular beliefs, not all processed food is bad for health. You need to choose wisely. I go for canned button mushrooms (I don’t think there is a “fresh” variety) and tune chunks (there is a FairPrice type in which the chunks are in water, not oil). Even so, don’t substitute fresh produce with canned meat/vege. Personally I impose a 20% limit for canned meat. In cooking 10 meals, I allow myself to use canned meat for two meals. The other eight must be based on freshly cut meat.

Drinks – Of course the best option for drinks will be plain water. But I simply could not give up the freshness of orange juice. In particular, I like the Sunkist 2-litre bottle. Recently I found a FairPrice bottle of the same amount but S$2 cheaper.

To stick to this diet, the only hard parts are to wake up early in the morning to prepare and cook three meals every day, and to go to supermarket early on Sunday morning to shop. Other than that, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to control your diet and watch your waistline shrinking. It is very economical too. A week worth of groceries should not cost you more than S$50.

It is a long process, and it should be implemented together with an exercise regime and adequate rest. I am not perfect (my alcohol indulgence and erractic sleep pattern are to be blamed), but since I started this regime three weeks ago, I have lost two kgs. A little something to rejoice about? Heh.

Want to see what kind of meals I cook every day? Check out my food porn blog, heh!

What kind of diet are you on?

* A word about lettuce. They are about the most economical, healthy and easy-going vege you can have with your meals. Just put anything you cook on a bed of lettuce for that meat vs. vege balance. S$1.20 should get you a big pack from any NTUC.

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice

(Image by barnsley anna)

Did you know… that I reduced my waistline from 40″ in early 2008 to 32″ right now? Many of my friends complimented me on my new “figure”, and of course I am happy and flattered.

However, my happiness is not because of the compliments, but because I choose to be happy.

When I was at my bigger size, I agonised over everything I eat. I missed having McDonalds’ big breakfast meal (upsized no less). Whenever I was faced with the option to eat what I want or to eat what is healthy, I faltered, and will most likely opt for the latter.

But I was sad, because I believe my happiness depends on what I eat. My value, then, is to equate my joy with the ability to eat what I want.

Now at my new size, I still agonise over everything I eat. But the difference is that I am happy not eating rice, only lean chicken meat. I am happy not eating at fast food outlets, but to cook my own meals three times a day.

I am happy now, because I believe my happiness depends on how I feel about myself. My value, now, is to equate my joy with the ability to choose what I eat.

Happiness is not necessarily dictated by your circumstances. It depends on the choices you made. If you have a wrong set of values, and you live by them, inherently you will lead a miserable life.

To have the courage to admit that your values are wrong, and make a change, is to learn to be happier. Your happiness is no one’s responsibility but your own.

Accept that responsibility and be happy. You owe it to yourself.

Singapore Marathon 2008

Singapore Marathon 2008

I am frustrated. I am depressed. I need something to look forward to.

So I took the plunge and registered for Singapore Marathon 2008.

It might sound like no big deal to you, but for someone like me, it is. My best record was 7 k.m. completed on a gym treadmill under 1.5 hours.

Common sense prompted me not to register for the 42.5 k.m. full marathon.

Singapore Marathon 2008

In any case, the mere thought of running 10 k.m. under 90 minutes with 30,000+ runners scare the living shit out of me. I need to train. I need to diet. I need to be prepared.

And I need to know if anyone wants to run with me.