My weight loss journey: What worked, what didn’t, and how it’s changed me

Featuring self-educated fitness enthusiast and future personal trainer Mandy (@offlinemandy)

The old me: Overweight, unhappy and constantly fixated on my reflection in the mirror, obsessing over how fat I was and wondering why I couldn’t be as skinny as my friends. I tried everything. I Cling-Wrapped my limbs because I heard it would help melt fat. It did not. I ate 1200 calories daily because that was the arbitrary number the mainstream media was throwing out for weight loss. I ended up losing my period for a bit. I went on a low-carb diet which stipulated that the only carbs I could eat in a day was a single slice of bread. I ended up binge eating eight slices of bread with Nutella in a single sitting on the fourth day of the diet. I would run five times a week, especially after eating an unhealthy meal - I thought that running for an hour could undo my binges. I really didn’t like myself back then.

Me in transition: Decided to make a change. I started doing my own research on health and fitness because hiring a personal trainer wasn’t an option for me. It was through reading other people’s weight loss stories that I understood weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. I focused less on losing weight and more on forming healthy habits like having smaller breakfasts (two slices of bread instead of a plate of nasi lemak) and incorporating more vegetables into my diet. I also decided to start strength training after educating myself on the benefits of it and abandoned my mindset that cardio was the key to weight loss. I remember my first day walking into the gym. I was in my old school PE t-shirt, trying to navigate the equipment, fellow gym-goers who looked like they knew exactly what they were doing and overwhelming feelings of intimidation. Self-consciousness prickled every move I made, especially when I went over to grab the 2kg dumbbells. Are they judging me for lifting so little weight? I also inevitably started making mistakes. I didn’t know that you should start out with lighter weights and gradually increase them as you go along. I remember trying to do a 20kg seated row and ended up tearing a muscle in my back (turns out I could only do it at 7kg).

Me now: Happier and more confident. I’ve learnt so many things since I first started trying to lose weight. I am more familiar with my limits now - for example, I know that if I try to deadlift my weight, I will likely strain my back. I also know the importance of stretching, what type of stretching to do and when to do it. For me, dynamic stretching helps me before a workout and static stretching is better suited for after a workout. Not bad for someone who didn’t used to stretch at all. I now do a combination of strength training and cardio, but more importantly, I am no longer starving and have no desire to binge eat. have made a lot of progress, but I also know that I still have a lot to learn. For instance, even though I finally managed to do my first push-up after six months of training, I know I still have to work on my form. Working towards my fitness goals keeps me motivated and gives me something to look forward to. I like myself a lot more now.

 

Me in the future: Will achieve the next fitness goals I have on my list and be able to do a pull-up, full split and run 2.4km in 10.5 minutes!

 

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