Exchange and substitution

Heyya.. I am still in the BLS2020 programme. The 6 month agonizing but hopefully fruitful journey to lose weight.

I knew a nutritionist. My sister that is but she has forgotten almost everything she learnt during her undergraduate years because she is not practising. She is now a teacher by profession. Ha ha.

Fortunately, the internet especially my fav go to for infographics, Instagram has a lot of things I need to know about diet, exercise, weight loss. I just need to choose my hashtags properly and double check to see if the ones dispensing advice are certified trainers/nutritionists. Yup, not doctors cause the advice is superficial and very textbook. I know because I’m one. I did not even know that there’s a thing called a Food pyramid for vegans!

credit to original IG account the.rich.fam

Recently I’m learning more about food exchange and substitution. Like, if I don’t want to use sugar in my drinks – what can I safely replace it with. Or if I want a recipe for low calorie choc chip cookies – what would be the secret ingredients.

part of my food diary pictures. Trying calorie deficit but I think I am on a plateau

When it comes to exchange, it’ll be like ‘if I drink this bubble tea now, my calorie bank would shrink. Am I willing to sacrifice my fist of rice and palm of broccoli for this?” – on most days, I am proud to say I am able to walk away from those hip drinks. But I do have my bad days. Especially when my nephews and nieces come by to the house!

It is also interesting to note that food products marketed as healthy may not be as healthy you would think it is. I learn to read the labels. Still making mistakes but sis cuba.. lol. Take this for instance, a tablespoon (15g) of this St Dalfour marmalade is only 47kcal whilst a tbs of this healthy spread ranges from 84 to 96kcal.

We have 4 months to go. Indeed, I feel lighter although the scales are not showing it. I am drinking more water. I am more selective with my choices of snacks and timing of meals. I am lifting weights. My husband has this multi function home gym fitness station which has been redundant for quite a while. I have painstakingly moved it to my personal craft room for my own use. I hope to see results at the end of this 4 months.

I plan to practice belly dancing at home and just wiggle for cardio purposes since being on a treadmill can be boring. who knows I can get a figure like Shakira. HA HA HA HA.

I am still optimistic of what I hope to achieve out of this 6 months of restrain and pushing myself. This is because as one successful weight loss instagrammer puts it,

“I hate having to omit myself out of pictures which marks milestones and memorable moments in my life. I am tired of removing myself from my own life story”

Weight watching. #BLS 2020.

My weight loss support group BLS 2020 just had our first weigh in a few days ago. This is after a month into the programme. It’s basically us girls who are trying to lose weight with a coach minding our progress. The coach is none other, also our friend of the same study batch. HA ha ha.

We are free to choose whatever fitness programme we like. Be it keto, paleo, GM diet, Intermittent Fasting and what not as long as it supports the idea of a CALORIE DEFICIT.. We can do whatever physical activity to our liking. The ultimate goal for the support group is to motivate each other, exchange recipes (if any) and hope to lose at least 10kg within this 6 months. Just in time before our reunion in April 2020.

For the past one month, I find that I am more obsessed to understand my eating habits and food of choice. I did not do much on physical activity yet. I incorporated a bit of the Smartlife programme I did back in hospital as a facilitator. Part of the strategies from Smartlife include;

  • Calculate your calorie requirement per day in line with your lifestyle. I lead a sedentary lifestyle now that I am working in a clinic setting and my requirements came up to only 1285kcal/day. Knowing that, I should aim for a deficit.
  • Having a food diary. Everything is online now. Find an app and just record your meal intake/calories. I use the inbuilt Samsung Health app. There’s not much Malaysian food in it so most of the time I just record it manually.
  • Set a small, achievable, measurable health target every week. Two, if you’re ambitious. It can be an eating habit, a lifestyle change, a spiritual boost et al. If I could go beyond, I feel great.
  • Physical activity log. I still have a lot to improve on this area.

In the process of learning about food intake and calories, I discovered that;

  • Healthy eating need not be expensive. Yes, you see people take shakes, almond milk, organic this and that, avocado, berries, greek yoghurt and chia seeds. If you’re on a budget, then my advice is go for real food. Meaning tak salah nak hirup sup bayam as snack. Nak telan tofu ngan sos tiram bawang putih masa lunch. Nak minum kopi O satu sudu teh gula as breakfast. Nak minum smoothie jambu batu dan epal. Cause we know in Malaysia, things like avocado and berries are kinda premium purchases, apatah lagi almond milk. So choose food according to your own budget. Make it local. Yet healthy. I think there are more and more trainers/coaches in Malaysia that are trying to make meal plans more local, more Malaysian. If budget is not an issue, then go for it. I personally loved Velvet’s Almond Milk with that nectar thing in my morning coffee.
  • Hydration is really important and is a miracle. Apart from water being good for your skin, it suppresses hunger and make you eat less. Sometimes I add a drop of doterra Grapefruit EO or Lemon inside my drinking water for a tinge of flavour.
  • I need to slow down and be more mindful of what I eat. I have always been fast ever since I was a houseman. Including my husband. Back during the times when we were dating, we’d be walking in the mall like we were tracing blood investigation results. Laju semacam. Makan pun laju. So having to consciously remind myself to sit at the table and have my meals S.l.o.w.l.y kills me a bit, knowing that it is important for proper digestion to occur. I even find 7 mins to make my perfect half boiled egg very agonizing.
  • When you are just starting, try not to have cheat days first. Cause it’ll kill the momentum. It is undeniably difficult during long weekend holidays. But, TRY.
  • Food prep helps. A LOT. When you plan ahead of what you want to eat, it keeps the motivation high to see the numbers on the scale change. You are less likely to give in to the temptation of tapau-ing food or grab fast food. Come to think of it, I haven’t had McDonalds for quite a while now. But I still have KFC from time to time. The breast part without the skin in my sandwich.
  • I should eat less bananas and less snacking on almonds if I want to use my calorie bank for other food items. 13 almonds is 100kcal. I can have like 2 kiwi fruits to substitute for that. In other words, I learnt to switch and prioritise my meals.
  • Once I am firm and consistent with my regime, my family especially my husband tends to follow suit. Lately, he has been getting less portion of food from pasar malam and is more thoughtful of the types of food he wants to buy for dinner. Of course he still buys Tam Tam and Super Rings but not as much as he did before.
  • I can still eat out but I must be smart with my food selection.

To warm up my engine, I just made sure I was eating on a calorie deficit and that my meals were before 730PM. It’s because I tend to reach home just before 6pm and would need to do prayers first before I prep dinner. I wasn’t confident nor ready to commit to a GM diet or a keto yet. Once I get the hang of eating on a calorie deficit on top of HYDRATION with light exercise ( a bit of dumbbells and planks) – I feel I am ready for more.

So I tried Intermittent Fasting. I downloaded an app called Zero to help me get started. I managed it for 3 days in a row until I got my period which kind of tipped things a bit differently. In a way, I need to modify how and when I eat so I wouldn’t get symptomatic anemia while I bleed for the next few days. I figured eating regular meals on a deficit would be better for now. Until I find new ways of how to diet safely while menstruating. Ha ha ha.

Wish me luck. I have 5 months more to go.

Weight loss – hoping to create my own success story

To me, Korean food is palatable. If only they could serve it less spicy for this Sarawakian. ha ha. I wonder if it’s because of the diet that makes most of them looked less than overweight, never mind obese. I can certainly vouch that their water-drinking habits do give them good hydrated skin!

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I started my weight loss journey sometime in November last year. My aim was to shed a few kilos so I wouldn’t have to buy bigger clothes and also gain the stamina to endure the hectic hours working in the Emergency Unit. My motivation was further fueled by the need to be at an acceptable baseline pre-pregnancy weight prior to conceiving again when the time comes. This further hinders the risk of being diabetic or hypertensive during pregnancy.

However, just like our menstrual cycle.. I had the perks and troughs throughout my journey. Sometimes I get so high in working out that I’ll do it more than 3 times a week. At times, when my oncall schedule or work commitments start to disrupt the routine, I would go back being a couch potato for another week.

Hence, Consistency was never Constant in my weight loss dictionary – but Motivation and Persistence was always there.

Despite a few stumbles and shortcomings, I was keen to continue with my mini war. In fact, I’m still on it. A staff once asked how much I was losing in a week,

I replied contently, ” about 0.5 kg at least – sometimes none at all if I’m not doing it right”
She wasn’t impressed. She said “oh.. that’s not much”

I should be angry and upset that she couldn’t see the struggle I faced to lose that 0.5 kg but I choose not to. I knew I was on the right track. After all, I am seeing results within these 9 months with the hiccoughs and all. I am always checking into KevinZahri’s website to find new weight loss inspiration. If  you were to read the success stories on the site, you would have realized that the weight loss did not happen in a month or few weeks – some took over a year but look at the tremendous change. Aren’t they inspiring?

I am more cautious of what I eat. I also try to squeeze in more minutes on my treadmill and bicycle. I still have a few more kilos to go but looking back, knowing that I have taken the first step to try was good enough. I want to make my own success story.