How-to: Lose 20 kg in a Year

Probably the most Googled term in the entire universe, weight management is (somehow) always a problem. You’re too thin. You’re too fat. Eat veggies only. Eat meat only. Drink strange colored juices. To be honest, there’s really no backing out of the hard truth. If you already know what that is, congrats! If you don’t, let me guide you through as a former (and hopefully never again) 100kg man.

DISCLAIMER: The exercise and food that I will be explaining  is very specific and may only cater to some parts of the whole population. Training and dietary variations may be needed to be able to achieve your goal . It is the responsibility of the readers to decide on the proper action to take to lose weight without getting injuries or risking their bodies. To gain a better knowledge on your own nutritional needs and suitable regime of exercises, please go to a proper trainer or doctor.

Now that that’s settled, let’s get into it!


Getting Started

Before we start, I’d like be clear that this won’t be the first (or last) dieting/healthy/organic/lose weight/gain weight/beach bod blog in the world. A ton of resources are available online and in bookstores. ‘Then why did you make this?’, you might ask. Well, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past year, and I’d like to tell you my version of the story.

‘That’s what everyone else is doing too, you know’. Well, technically yes. Therefore, I am backing up my story with things (e.g. scientific studies and literature) that actually helped me to lose weight without me realizing it.

Turns out, there’s already a lot of people doing proper research on this topic (duh), so basically you can do it on your own. However, even though there’s a ton of resources, you need to be able to pick them out and get to the real core. I’m here to show you what I think is the core of “losing” weight. I don’t like that word because it really makes you think that you HAVE to lose weight to fit to society’s standards. I’m changing it to “staying healthy”. Everyone should do that. To do that, I’ve compiled a series of videos from youtube that you can watch in your spare time.

The playlist is about ~45 minutes long. If you’re reading this blog (which will be long, I promise!), you probably have time to watch them. You can watch them all in one go, or you can open another tab while reading this post. I’ll be referencing the videos with the timestamp, so you can get to the main idea asap. Additionally, check all the links I provided to make sure that what I’m saying isn’t mumbo jumbo health nut talk.

 

Why I Never Diet (Late 2015)

Quick answer: I love food. It is engrained in my blood. Indonesian food–you should try it now–is amazingly good that you’ll never want to stop eating. You just stop eating to save room for the next meal. It’s that good. If you think fast-food nuggets made out of mystery chicken parts is good, you’ll even love Indonesian junk food. Some that are noteworthy:

  • Gorengan (deep fried everything: tofu, sweet potates, tempe, and bananas)
  • Siomay (fish-based dumplings with fattening peanut sauce)
  • Martabak Manis/telor (Sweet pancake/Meat pancake/Murtabak, a pancake packed with ridiculously delicious toppings)
  • Es Teler (shaved ice with syrup and fruits, extremely sweet)
  • Instant Noodles (usually with boiled eggs and a tiny bit of veggies, eaten at night)

Not only that, people also like eating foreign cuisines; authentic restaurants that serve Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Singaporean, Malay, Italian, and Chinese food are everywhere, especially in Jakarta. I don’t like missing out on any culinary adventures, so I’ve visited all of them. Not a great idea, but man what an experience.

This reminds me of the time I went to Yogyakarta to see my relatives.

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In Yogyakarta wearing a Bandung tee (July 2015)

So yeah I was pretty chubby at that time. I wasn’t ginormous or anything like that, but I believe my weight stayed pretty balanced at 100 kg. Yes, I don’t look like I weighed that much back then, but I think this is where the term ‘big boned’ actually applies. I don’t really do any exercise unless I have to and food is basically anything Halal. Everything has a Halal version in Indonesia.

Like everyone, I was pretty annoyed about not being able to lose weight. I kept thinking, “Man, imagine if these fat would disappear”, over and over again. Not doing anything significant to make it happen, though.

Unlike everyone, however, I wasn’t really into diets. You’d think that this is very cocky—it is—but apparently there’s evidence to back up my statement. Let’s rewind and go back to the playlist we saw earlier.

In Sandra Aadmodt’s TED talk, she explained that hunger and energy use by our own body is mostly controlled by the brain (1:23). Get this: Diets work by limiting certain food that you eat, consciously.  The key word here is conscious. It is quite true that most diets, even the ones that are encouraging you to eat more of a certain food, are designed so that you control the urge to eat that glorious triple scoop sundae surprise (do NOT Google this).

As you may have experienced, this is not very effective (you Googled it, didn’t you?).

The video by Ted-ed clarifies my hunch that diets are basically useless. Watch at (0.58) where you can see old victorian diets such as the vinegar diet. It possesses the same characteristics of the current diets: 1) cut out certain food groups (2.18); 2) do ritual or eat something weird (2.30); 3) “Super” food that you have to eat (3.09) and; 4) Cleanses that detoxifies poison in your body (3.30) . It can be argued that some diets are not this extreme at cutting out food groups. However, if they advertise to lose X amount of weight in Y amount of time that seems to be too good to be true, then they’re probably not true.

Your body, explained by Aadmodt and Ted-Ed, believes that when you’re dieting you are in a ‘famine’ mode. This imaginary famine (you created yourself) ends when you end a diet. This is when you indulge in your regular food, gaining back your weight, and thus returning to the original starting point. From a ‘famine’ point of view, this totally makes sense. You can continue dieting, but as Ted-Ed explained in (1:49), your body readjusts itself to reduce the speed of the weight loss, effectively cancelling the weight loss as you return back to regular food.

So, we’ve established that diets don’t work. What did I do? I was pretty desperate so I did try a diet. Mind you, the playlist I made consists of videos published in 2016. I did not have this knowledge at that time. Anyway, the diet is basically just reducing my sugar intake.

Results

No, no, it’s not the no-rice-no-sugary-snack-forever-eat-dried-rolled-oats-everyday diet. Every morning or when I eat outside, I drink tea without sugar instead of with sugar. That’s it. So, what happened?

It didn’t work that well. Nothing significant happened. I moved on. Life, as I knew it, would be 100 kg for the rest of my life.

What I learnt at this stage (I’ll summarize each stage for ease of reading) :

  • Diets will never work (I realized this not just from videos, but also from friends’ and relatives’ experiences).
  • Only reducing sugar doesn’t really work.
  • Bitterness is actually not bad. I often drink coffee and tea without sugar from this point onwards. This turned out to be beneficial later when we discuss about food.

 

Discovering HIIT (Q1-Q2 2016)

Long story short, I got a job, received a scholarship, and was preparing stuff for my Master’s study in Singapore in July. Things mostly stayed the same, until I some of my friends ignited the real fuel to motivate me to stay healthy:

Competitiveness.

Being in a management trainee program, most of my friends are fresh graduates where usually this was their first company. Unsurprisingly, we were caught off guard with the sudden excess of wealth after receiving our first salaries. It’s not much, but changing from being dependent on your parents to actually providing something to pay the bills is exhilarating.

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I was hoping my goatee would distract people from the XXL shirt (Jan 2016)

It’s early in the year. Retail shops usually have old, last season discounted clothes. Food is pretty easy to get. ‘So what else?’, we thought. Lo and behold, one of my friends (who I think was already a member) started promoting a discounted price for membership in a gym. It’s a pretty popular gym, mostly for office workers because the rates are a bit pricey. I was shocked that six of my friends joined the gym almost instantaneously. Another fellow co-worker suddenly joined a week later and someone from another department said he joined since the year before. It was huge. Sort of like a tipping point, somehow everyone I knew was in a gym sweating their armpits doing modern dance forms of jumping jacks.

We had a chatting group where we usually talk about boring office stuff, like where’s the meeting at, where are you having lunch, can I borrow your access card, etc. After the gym craze, everyone started posting their post-gym pics. Not great. The pictures of sweaty people trying to do a selfie is bad enough, now I had to endure the fact that I was not doing anything to make myself better (in terms of fitness, that is).

This was a very good motivation to start exercising. FIND LIT

Then I said to myself: “I’m not gonna spend Rp. 700,000 (~$52) per month to be tortured.”. Very logical argument, right?

At that moment I remembered the 7 minute exercise.

I tried 7 minute exercise ages ago, perhaps somewhere in 2013/2014, just when the fad was just starting. Nobody was really into it and apparently it wasn’t popular even in 2016 (in Indonesia at least). Most people are divided on two extremes: light jogs and running on weekends vs daily night sessions at the gym. The rest are sedentary (like me) or fanatics (bicycling, calistechnics, muaythai, basically anything that’s trending for 6 months).

Why I stopped doing 7 minutes was because of how intense it really is. 7 minute exercise is basically a form of HIIT, or high intensity interval exercises. The goal is to do a very short burst of highly intense exercise coupled with short breaks, instead of 2-3 hour long sessions at a time. Coincidentally, BBC showed a series of documentaries called ‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’ (TMIAD) around that time, and explained about the pros and cons of this exercise.

The video by Britlab in the playlist is a condensed version of this article, which is also a condensed version of the results from the documentary (if you see an atom in the video, check out the footnotes in the video description!). Mosley, trying out a version using stationary bicycles, said:

“… I still do HIIT because I find that it improves my mood, it controls my sugar levels, and it also seems to help me control my appetite.”

Or if you’re more of a skeptical scientist like me, go to 2:24 and find that HIIT improves aerobic fitness and metabolic fitness whilst increasing adrenaline and noradrenaline. These factors contribute in making the body more efficient in removing visceral fat, help control blood sugar levels, and keep your heart and lungs strong.

PS: I recommend anyone reading this to read the other episodes in the TMIAD series if you can. For the sake of brevity, let’s just stay with Mosley for just the HIIT.

Anyway, convinced that this free exercise will help me get healthier, the second concern is now when to actually do it. You might think this is a very trivial problem. The answer is basically any time, right? Of course you can spare 7 minutes. Technically, that is very true, but sometimes excuses are just aplenty and you just can’t avoid watching another episode of Adventure Time.

I was living the regular office 9-6 life and thought long and hard when should I squeeze in the 7 minute exercise in my routine. My friends living the gym life had classes, usually at night. They went out after work and did yoga, spin classes, or met up with their trainer. This made sense, since you don’t want to spend 3 hours in the gym and then go to work afterwards. Some people can handle this, but not a lot. I only know two guys who can handle this.

I, on the other hand, hated doing anything after getting off work. My bed was just too comfortable. I have a very strict on-off switch. I work during the day, I slack off at night. I managed to stay quite sane with this schedule when I did my undergraduate thesis. So I kept the schedule. Thus, for me at least, the 7 minute must be done in the morning.

The Month-long 7 Minute Exercise

So I did the 7 minute exercise for a whole month. I know! Sounds pretty impossible right? Because it is. Technically, it’s not a whole month. Some days I switched it to running or cycling. This began around March 2016. I was trying to prove to my friends that I can get fit and stay healthy without facing the wrath of a gym membership salesman (these guys are experts at attracting new customers—if you want to learn how to persuade people, learn from them!).

Simply put, I wake up around Fajr (before dawn), pray, goofed-off or stared at my phone, and do the exercise. Here’s some apps I recommend:

  1. 7m by Wahoo Designs (Android): I used this because it used to have other forms of 7 minute (e.g. with varied workouts focusing on legs, abs, etc.) that could be unlocked ONLY by doing the original 7 minute for a week straight. Yes, this is the time when I said ‘No, you will never unlock it’. It worked for me, though. Unfortunately, this feature is no longer available. On the upside, it has another called ’30 day challenge’, where you do some form of the 7 minute exercise—with varying degrees of difficulty—for 30 days straight. This is good for building motivation. I’ve never tried it, but let me know if you feel this is working.
  2. 7min by Wahoo Fitness (iOS): This app is my supplementary app from the app above. It is super simple, bare bones, great interface for 7 min. It doesn’t have any frills or features that you can get excited about (unless you pay), but it’s good so that you can concentrate on the workout.
  3. 7min by J&J (iOS and Android): The main advantage of this version of 7 minute is that you can mix and match your exercises for FREE! It’s available in both platforms, though I think it may be a bit laggy compared to the rest. It has a lot of features, though you might need some getting use to. It’s a good app for beginners starting the 7 minute because not only you can adjust everything to your level of fitness (you input it when first starting the app) but also there’s a guide giving tips on form on each exercises.

To start off, I recommend doing at least 3 days in a week for starters, and if you can go full throttle and see how many streaks you can go. Remember one thing:

WARM UP BEFORE EXERCISE, COOL DOWN AFTERWARDS

This is super important. Spend all the time in the world to do what you did in high school PE class. 7 minutes and other HIIT exercises are very demanding and if you jump start without preparation you’ll probably won’t be able to do it very often.

I’m not scaring you, it’s just 7 minutes does NOT include the warm ups and the cool downs. You gotta check the fine print. It’s more likely you’ll spend ~15 minutes to finish everything.

Oh also, if there’s time, I dozed off somedays after doing the workout 😀

On days where I got bored of doing 7 minutes (it will get boring, I kinda memorized the routine), I do some other exercise. I still try to do it on a daily basis, so in a week there would be only a few days where I didn’t do anything all day (except work of course). So, I adapted the HIIT Mosley recommended to my other exercises.

  • When using my stationary bike, I did 5 minutes of regular cycling with the highest setting for the resistance. On the 6th minute, I did full frontal power super saiyan for a minute, and rest for 2 minutes. I would do the 2-1 cycle for minimum 3 reps and do another cool down 5 minutes.
  • When running, I did the same thing only I rarely used my watch to keep time of the “high intensity” part. I just stop whenever my legs feel like jello on a summer’s day.

And that’s it.

Results

So what I didn’t realize is how I accurate I felt to Mosley’s statement when I started doing the HIIT exercises. Here’s a list of what I felt:

  • Very, very tired after work. This actually made me feel really sleepy and fixed my sleep schedule. Usually I could stay up even after midnight, surviving daily lives even with just 4-5 hours of sleep. After doing HIIT, I had to sleep earlier to wake up earlier, which was easy to achieve because I was so tired the day before. Additionally, check this video on why sleep matters.
  • Improved mood. Very subjective, but doing push ups when you’re pissed at somebody is a really good way to get that feeling out.
  • Better control of appetite. I did feel hungrier at times, but I didn’t really crave two portions of instant noodles during late nights anymore. I still ate a lot (and with no restrictions too), but I could easily feel that I was full faster than I used to.
  • Substantial increase in stamina. HIIT forces me to do push ups, jumping jacks, crunches, and even one-leg push ups (an other crazy varieties of push ups). This leads me to from barely doing a single proper push up to being able to do at least ten at a time.

So these effects are sort of ‘triggered’ by the HIIT exercises. After a month, I instead gained a bit of weight (around 1-2 kg). This really didn’t get me down, since I felt better in general and I had developed my routine around it.

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A friend told me that my brother looks like Wolverine and I look like Sabertooth

Then, just like the massive movement when joining the gym, more people were getting out or spending less time after the first month. The regulars who used to go 2-3 times a week were changing to only once a week or less. Some even got out after the ‘trial’ period was over (when the trainer was still free, otherwise you need to pay an additional fee per month). A few remained.

I, on the other hand, was busy buying new clothes because my waist size went down from 38-40 to 34-36. It wasn’t huge, but my friends did notice that I was losing weight, gradually.

One thing I avoided is to actually weigh myself. I thought that it wouldn’t be anymore motivating than the results that I’m getting right now (e.g. better mood, less appetite) and it was not a really good indicator of how fit you were. At this time, my goal was switched from losing weight to staying fit. That change was a very good way to keep doing the things that worked for me without any pressure to reach a certain goal/number.

I do have to admit that I attended a week-long absence from the office to do an event hosted by LPDP (the organization that gave me my scholarship) in February. It was a very tiring event that required late nights and a lot of work (other than the work I did at the office) so I already lost a few kg after the event.

In July, I weighed myself (because I went to the doctor) and the number shows 87 kg. 13 kg lost from 100 kg in January.

 

Foodwise (Q3 2016 – Now)

At this stage, I was unpacking my stuff in Singapore and getting ready embrace living the independent life. There were some adjusting needed to be done; Singaporean accent & Singlish, eating in Hawker centers, and using public transport are just some of the things that caught me off guard. I was thoroughly having fun exploring Singapore and making new friends here, but exercise was a bit of an issue.

I was staying at a campus dorm, so I don’t want to wake up the neighbors when I do my jumping jacks. This means I need to do it outside. Finding a good place without attracting attention turned out to be pretty difficult. I can turn my “ignore everything” mode, but I’m usually not comfortable sweating and gasping for breath with people passing by. It’s an excuse, to be honest. During this period I struggled to do a 7-day streak of 7 minute exercise which I usually maintain.

On the upside, I as a student have access to gyms and a swimming pool (for free!). I was going to do my 7 minute exercise there, but everyone else is doing either heavy lifting, running treadmills, or yoga. I felt out of place. I was there literally for only 15 minutes. I actually used the treadmill just to justify that ‘I went to the gym’ feeling. I felt beaten after the girl next to me was 25% faster and stayed 200% longer without sweating compared to myself. This is the time when competition isn’t a very good thing.

The swimming pool, on the other hand, is awesome! It made me start swimming after more than 5 years of hiatus. The gym opens at 9 AM, while the swimming pool opens at 7.30 AM (weekdays), thus I can swim in the morning as a replacement for 7 minute.

The biggest change, however, was food.

Singapore, ranked as the city with the highest living cost in the world, made me rethink about my decisions when eating. My dorm is quite pricey due to the fact that I am a privately funded (e.g. not funded by the NUS scholarship) student. This, coupled with the relatively expensive prices of food compared to Indonesia, was quite worrying for me. Halal food are a bit more expensive compared non-Halal ones because obtaining and renewing a Halal certificate is costly. My choices are limited to Indian food, Malay Food (sometimes called Nasi Padang, not similar to the Indonesian Nasi Padang), and “Indonesian” food (only Ayam penyet/fried chicken that is also very different from the Indonesian style). I spent most of my days looking for seminars that offered free dinner and exploring Halal food alternatives near campus.

It’s quite normal for people to lose weight when being away from home or family, but there are some things that made the difference. This is when I managed to hit the 20kg mark.  I attended a seminar held by Health Promotion Board (HPB) in Singapore in September, and it clearly explained why I lost even more weight whilst still feeling great without actually doing anything drastic. Before I get to contents of the seminar, here’s what I did before:

  • Restaurants are very, very expensive, so eating out is quite rare. Most of my meals are from food courts in campus and around town (Clementi).
  • I started using tumblers a lot. Water somehow costs more than sweetened drinks. Tea/Coffee are served in dinky cups (in my opinion, I had larger glasses back in Indonesia). Not a big deal, but there’s a lot of water dispensers around campus, so I thought it’s better to use a tumbler instead. Also you can chope (singlish: reserve your seat) with your tumbler. It’s safe.
  • There’s a plethora of choices for veggies. Halal stalls, like Nasi Padang and Indian food, usually offer 3-4 different choices of meat and >4 veggies. I think this is to attract the vegetarians living in Singapore. Eating 1 meat and 2 veggies is more filling and slightly cheaper.

A regular day would be Nasi Padang (1 meat 2 veg), Indian food (1 meat 2 veg), and Indonesian (1 big chicken/seafood with some veg sides). I drink mostly water. Sounds healthy? Of course it is! Will it be enough to lose another 8 kg? Maybe! Read on.

The seminar was about ‘Maintaining a Healthy Weight’. I do have to underline that it focuses on healthy weight. Not losing it. If you go to the documentary series TMIAD, there’s another one that discusses about terms such as ‘fat’ and ‘fit’ right here.  From the article, they recommend a good way to measure how fit you are:

[…] Firstly, don’t rely on what you see in the mirror – get out and do some exercise. […] Take a tape measure and measure your waist size. […] This is a good estimate of how much of that dangerous belly fat you are carrying.

So my hunch was right! The decrease in my waist size is actually a good indicator of fitness. The article puts emphasis on how BMI actually works, and whether or not that should be a thing to worry about. Coincidentally, the seminar, presented by Ms. Karen Ang, started off about BMI. I’ll summarize the contents below:

  • Defining a healthy weight: using BMI as a guideline to know where you are, while acknowledging that it also fails to consider muscle and bone mass.
  • Importance of maintaining weight: BMI around 18-23 is considered ideal, it is best to try to lose/gain to get into that range.
  • Ways to maintain weight: Healthy plate by the HPB has shown the portion of food to be consumed in a day. Male 2200 kcal, while female 1800 kcal (~2000 kcal per person).
  • Exercising to lose weight: Should be balanced between cardio (low-intensity, long duration) and muscle building (high-intensity, short bursts) workout. An article by Business Insider I found has links to the actual papers referring to number of workouts. Ang recommended 25 minutes of moderate activities everyday.

The rest of the seminar are the usual ‘exercise, eat well’ mantra that everyone says, but I think the biggest takeaway for me is the healthy plate. If you go to the link before (or this one), you’ll find a very simple plate that shows you what you should eat.

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You don’t have to measure it using a cup, just remember what you ate yesterday

It simply says that you can have anything you want as long as you know when to stop. Okay, that doesn’t actually say that. If you go to the complete information on the Healthy plate, most of it is recommending to choose a better option (i.e. more nutritious) in your diet.

Love eating rice? Try brown rice mixed with white rice. Cook them properly so the brown rice doesn’t taste like wood chipping.

Love bread? Try wholemeal bread, the ones that are slightly more expensive (they’re pretty soft). Taste almost exactly the same, even better sometimes. Here’s a lengthy explanation on wholemeal bread by Strait Times if you’re doubtful about it.

Love steak? Keep eating them! Just make sure you eat them with additional portions of fruits and vegetables. Better yet, ask for more vegetables when ordering your steak. It’s not as filling as the steak, but you’ll get more nutrients and less guilt!

Hate salads? You don’t have to eat them! There’s a plethora of ways to get vegetables in your system. Asian cuisines, I believe, has a lot of recipes on how to cook with a lot of veggies with amazing taste. No, it doesn’t have to be vegan food. Find ones that you like.

In essence, you’re not completely changing what you eat— unlike those fad diets—but gradually transitioning to a healthier lifestyle.

Also, a fun fact from the seminar: there are two types of fibre. First, it’s the soluble fibre. This is from fruits and veggies and they will make your digestive system work properly. They can also help you avoid constipation. Second, is the insoluble fibre. This is from the whole-grain wholemeal bread and rice that you eat. They’re difficult to digest, but another side effect is that it has more nutrition and makes you full for longer periods of time. If you eat both veggies and whole grains, that is like a one-two punch for any flabby belly!

Also, another fun fact! A gradual weight loss of about 2kg per month will be best according to these pamphlet by CDC, and usually the first 2 kg is just ‘water’ weight, said Ang.

Last but not least, if you see at the bottom of the plate there’s three other points: Drink water, use healthier oils, and exercise. Apparently, this isn’t hard to do in Singapore. The HPB is doing campaigns on Hawker centers and other food courts to promote their stalls with a healthier choice stamp. This means that they either offer low-calorie food or use healthier oils. You can find this stamp in supermarkets as well; it’s easy to find a better option with the stamp. For the water, as I’ve said in campuses water is widely available; however, most hawker centers offer the traditional ‘teh’ (tea with milk and sugar) or ‘bandung’ (rose syrup + condensed milk), so not everyone is on board. Finally, with the integrated public transport system people are encouraged to walk more whenever they go anywhere.

 

Results

What I changed in during the past few months:

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My eyes still looks closed when I smile like this
  • I try to eat brown rice whenever offered and when buying bread I always buy the 90-100% whole grains
  • 1 meat 2 veggies is the main diet, everyday varied between Malay food, Indian food, or Chinese food.
  • I’ve learnt to cook pasta and make my own pesto sauce. The food I made are usually garnished with onions, garlic, mushrooms and some greens (shallots, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
  • I’ve learnt to make breakfast sandwiches with the same ingredients. Made with wholemeal bread, usually 3 slice of bread
  • Every other food I consumed usually has a healthier choice stamp (e.g. margarine, low-fat cheese, low-fat hi-cal milk, etc.)
  • I am very used to drinking water and now I don’t even crave sugary drinks. I feel coffee tastes better without sugar, and the non-sugar diet I had in the beginning helped me to ‘get to know’ what it’s like without sugar.

 

And that’s it. I’ve achieved the 80 kg mark, but I decided I want to gain some more muscle. In order to do that I need to have at least more than 2200 kcal into my system. This is a pretty difficult thing to do, apparently. I could do it easily in Indonesia because of the amazing food there, but authentic Indonesian food is not aplenty and they don’t taste the same.

Right now I’ve been doing the 7 minute exercise about 3-4 times a week and also I swim once a week. All are done in the morning. After working out, I usually make my own breakfast, either it’s sandwiches or oatmeal. Sometimes I eat cereal, but only when I’m late or very lazy to cook. Last time I weighed myself it was around 83 kg. Feeling a bit more muscle now after doing the 7 minute routine again.

 

Final thoughts

The answer is: yes,  you can lose weight and not struggle to keep up with those people doing crossfit in your face office. It may take time, but consistency is key in staying healthy. You want to stay healthy for the rest of your life, so might as well start now and the results just come to you in a bit. Think of the weight loss/gain is the side effect of being healthy. It’s not a goal. It’s a perk you unlock after finishing a side quest in RPG. You still have to defeat the boss, but with the perk you get additional stat points, making it slightly easier to kill zombies.

I don’t think everyone should use the 7 minute exercise. There are exercises that fits other types of people. I found that the HIIT exercises helped me to gain the exercising habit without spending too much time or money in the process. Additionally, you can also incorporate the HIIT principle (doing an intense session for 0.5-1 minute) to any exercise you like, gaining the added benefits. If you have your own exercise routine that you’re comfortable with, that’s completely fine. If you have a goal to reach, talk to someone knowledgeable like a doctor or a trainer.

As for food, getting a proper, balanced diet is your main focus if you want to stay healthy. Check out the video from Vox on exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight. Julia Belluz, a senior health correspondent, emphasized in (4.14) that governments should focus their attention to the food environment to help people make healthier choices. The drinks that convenience stores sell, for example, are usually sweetened drinks, with barely any nutrition. You can’t keep drinking but justify it by exercising. This is because if you want to stay healthy, so stay off unhealthy food. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them, it just means you have to know that you’re not supposed to drink it everyday. If you’re still struggling, try having a look at the way psychology changes the way we eat in another video from Vox.

What I do discourage is doing any of the cleanses, detox, magical super fruits that are supposed to help you lose weight drastically. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not a one time thing, so might as well eat the food you like but balancing it with the food you need. As Dr. Oz—the surgeon who allegedly sells bogus health products in US TV or years—said at (2.20):

Most of weight loss, I believe, is about food choices. Most of keeping your weight low, is about the physical activity that you engage in

There’s nothing else. No secrets, just facts. I know, it’s more of a mental battle, but I believe you can overcome it. Semangat!

PS: if you want to know what it’s like for some people to lose weight, watch the last two videos from the playlist. Jonah Hill went through phases of very fit to very fat in a few years. Here he accidentally sent an email to Drake instead of his doctor. It’s a starting point, but you gotta start somewhere. A video by JASH shows how the process actually goes in real life. Focus more on how the main protagonist start from the bottom (really chubby) to the top (lookin’ good). Some profanity in the last video. Go to (5.59) to get to the good stuff.

 

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Edma Khairan says:

    Hello.. your story inspiring me to do something for my weight. Just one simple question..how many times you do the 7-minutes-workout? just 1 rep or more?

    Like

    1. Hi Edma,

      Good to hear! When I first started, I just did 1 rep but I tried to it everyday. I have done two reps at a time, but different forms of the exercise (e.g. abs/leg version of 7 minutes) so I wouldn’t get bored. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

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