Tag Archives: Diet

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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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.

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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.