Couple of members and I had a short discussion on my fat loss journey after my Fitball class. Did I change to eating very healthy food? Did I exercise more? Was it difficult? I chuckled and answered no to all the questions. I told them that if they saw my Instagram Stories, they'd know I've been eating junk food every week.
Coming from someone who has worked in the fitness industry for close to 2 decades, I can tell you that most of us still have our mentalities stuck in the 1990s. The era of exercise more if you want to lose weight. Run more, do more, sweat more. It took quite a lot of research and restraint on my part to break out of that mold.
The realization that the process to weight loss is actually as easy as ABC stunned me. No crazy diets. No super sweat sessions. No need to starve myself to be skinny. Been there, done that. No thank you. Whatever I've tried failed after a while, and my weight bounced back rather fast. Eating boiled chicken meat + steamed broccoli for 3 months? Bleah. Sure, I lost weight fast then, but totally unsustainable.
So what's changed? Why have I been able to follow through this time round, and why did I say this is as easy as ABC? Well, because it is.
A - Ask Myself Why
The foundation of change is the purpose. Understanding why I wanted or needed to change helps me be intentional with my choices. At the age of 43, seeing the overweight elderly folk moving around in those powered wheelchairs scared the crap out of me. I knew I would be headed in that direction if I didn't make a change now.
While working on my finances, I also checked the statistics for the cost of obesity in Singapore. As reported by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), "Singapore ranks third in the region in terms of obesity-related costs, and obesity is estimated to have cost the country at least US$400 million, in terms of healthcare and productivity loss, in 2016."
Forbes reported in 2011, "The analysis showed that obese women pay nine times more and obese men pay six times more in associated costs than do individuals at a healthy BMI." Damn! I don't dare to imagine what the cost is 10 years later.
For someone living in one of the most expensive countries in the world, I will need to get myself healthy and live healthy if I want to keep my cost of living down. So that's my why. I don't want my hard earned money to end up being spent on medical bills and whatnots. That would be ridiculous.
As the saying goes: Find your why and make your why stronger than your excuses. I found my why, and being obese is not an option.
B - Base Data
Base data is the fundamental data that one uses as a starting point. Using this set of data, I'm able to set my goals, adjust and track the whole plan to ensure things go accordingly. What do I track?
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
- Muscle Mass
- Fat Mass
- Body Fat Percentage
- Active Calories
These 5 data points correlate to one another. In order to lower my Fat Mass / Body Fat Percentage, the calories I consume has to be fewer than the sum of BMR + Active Calories. In order to maintain or improve my BMR, my Muscle Mass has to be remain the same or be increased by doing strength training.
I get my Active Calories data from my Apple Watch. Everything else I get from BODITRAX, which is a body composition machine that can be found at all Fitness First Singapore gyms.
C - Calorie Deficit
Losing weight is simply based on calorie deficit. The more energy you expand, the fewer calories you consume, the greater the weight loss. Technically, if you consume 500 calories lesser than you use in a day, you'd lose 400 - 500 grams a week. So say your BMR + Active Calories works out to 3,000 calories in a day, you have to eat 2,500 calories in order to get that calorie deficit.
What I do is ensure all the calories I eat in a day is below the sum of my BMR + Active Calories. A calorie is a calorie no matter what form it takes. You will lose weight as long as you create a calorie deficit.
Here's a sample of my daily Caloric Intake:
Breakfast: 400 calories
Lunch: 900 calories
Snack: 300 calories
Dinner: 700 calories
Supper: 400 calories
Total Caloric Intake: 2,700 calories
My BMR is slightly over 2000 calories. My Active Calories is on an average of 1,400 daily.
BMR + Active Calories = 3,400 calories.
BMR + Active Calories - Caloric Intake = Calorie Deficit.
2,000 + 1,400 - 2,700 = 700.
Say I only want to have a caloric deficit of 3,500 a week, and right now I have a caloric deficit of 4,900, I can easily choose to spend that extra 1,400 calories somewhere like eating a pizza or having ice cream. A small indulgence some time through the week as long as I've ensured I've built up enough of that caloric deficit. I'll still lose weight, maybe not as fast, but at least I won't feel depressed about missing some sinful food or some friend's get together.
And this is how I've been able to lose weight whilst having lots of burgers and ice cream for the past 5 months and counting. It really is as easy as ABC.