Losing weight is a very common new year resolution and by now, many have already given up on it. Or not. Exercising is really tiring and sweaty. You already need to push yourself to move more and after all that sweating, you weight barely even shifts. Talk about lack of motivation. But losing weight is all about perseverance. It is not that hard so let me share with you what I am going through right now.

A measuring tape tied around a mannequin
Look good, feel good – Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov

The secret to weight loss

Losing weight is simple. Calories in, calories out, that’s all there is to it. Basically, an average male needs about 2,200 calories a day while a female, 1,800 calories. To lose weight, all you need to do is either take in lesser calories or burn more than you eat. Now, let’s talk about exercise. While exercising helps you burn calories, the muscles you grow also helps to keep the fat off. The food you eat will fuel the muscles and reduce the likelihood of storing fat. Fat also takes up more space than muscle. Fat is lighter than muscle so even if you build muscle, you will need a lot of muscle to look big.

Weight loss starts with your diet

Losing weight starts with what you eat and how much you eat. By eating lesser calories, you do not need to exercise that hard because now you have less to burn. There is no need to starve. All you need to do is take note of the number of calories you consume daily. Download an app like MyFitness Pal to help you log your intake. The easiest way to control your calories is to prepare your own meals because eating out is just plain unhealthy. Also, I suggest avoiding sugar and processed food to help with eating cleaner.

Crash diets for weight loss just do not last

You might have heard of fad diets like a fruit-only diet. Those kinds of diets do not last because the moment you stop the diet, your weight bounces back with full force. The reason being your basic daily calorie needs drops below the average amount due to the reduce intake. Besides that, those extreme diets are also very unhealthy and not only does that weaken your body, it affects your mood because your hormones can be thrown completely of whack due to your erratic diet.

Being fat helps make you stronger

The benefit of being fat and then starting to exercise is, you have that excess weight that makes working out harder. Let’s assume that you started exercising alongside someone who is thinner and the both of you have a similar level of fitness. As you lose weight, you actually become way stronger or faster because you gain strength from hauling all that weight that you are trying to lose. I experienced this during my Basic Military Training(BMT). I entered at close to 90kg being unable to run more than 1km without wanting to die and obviously unable to do even 1 pull- up. By the time I completed BMT 19 weeks later, I dropped to about 70kg and could easily pull 10-12 in 1 minute. In comparison to my buddy who weighed 80kg before BMT and 70kg post BMT, he could only do 6-8 on a good day.

Weight loss really takes time

Weight gain takes a long time but we do not notice it because we are having fun eating and drinking. However, losing weight requires us to actively control an aspect of our lives, that’s why it feels harder. For those people who complain that they work out so hard for a week and don’t see any result, my reply is “You do not gain weight overnight”. As I said at the start of this post, it is all about perseverance as losing weight really takes time.

How to start losing weight

Start easy and slowly increase your intensity. Never crash diet and never start exercising intensively if you haven’t exercised for a while. Diet-wise, just reduce your portion sizes bit by bit and opt for healthier foods. For example, if you usually eat 2 bowls of rice, reduce it by 1/5 slowly, allowing your body some time to get used to it. Same goes for exercising. Start with a short walk 5 min walk and build up to a 1-hour walk before attempting to jog and run. By doing things slowly, you will be less likely to give up.

My recommendations for losing weight

Personally, I avoid most kinds of sugars and processed food as much as possible such as sweet drinks and ice-cream. I also practice intermittent fasts that last around 16 to 18 hrs as it helps control my daily caloric intake. But never embark on any diet, exercise or fasting before consulting with your doctor! Lastly, I started training for a marathon and I really feel motivated by the incremental improvements I’ve made. Oh, one more thing, NEVER measure your weight until at least 1 month into your diet and exercise regime. Now, go on and start your personal weight loss journey!