How I Slimmed Down

In a period of roughly a year and a half I lost 18 pounds. Shaving one pound a month may not sound much, but I was also working out, which meant I have probably lost more weight in terms of fat, but in turn gained back some lean mass. The point is, I lost 4 inches in my waistline, I now wear shirts that are medium or small, from XL or large. I get non-stop greets from people: “you’ve slimmed down!”

The best part: I was able to do so without really trying. It’s amazing how the smallest changes in one’s lifestyle can make a noticeable difference in one’s appearance. I’d like to share with everyone 10 tips with a disclaimer: your mileage may vary.

1. You can still eat burgers! Sometimes we have no choice: there’s nothing else to eat but fast food. It’s ok, but hold the cheese and mayo. Most of all stay away from the french fries.

2. Go ahead, have a soda, but make it diet. What you should stay away from are the bottled teas, artificial juice and Gatorade which are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). While you’re at it, make sure you sweeten your coffee with calorie free sweetener instead of sugar. And while we’re on beverages, I’m sorry to say but the Frappuccinos have to go.

3. Speaking of HFCS, avoid it like death. Take time to look at the ingredients of what you are about to eat. If it contains HFCS, pass on it.

4. Have some chocolate. Who doesn’t want one occasionally? But be mindful of rule #3. Tip: Hershey’s milk chocolate and Kisses are HFCS-free.

5. You can still eat rice. I cannot ignore the fact that asians (like me) love rice. So go ahead, but limit your intake to 1 cup a day maximum. Eat oatmeal, bread or cereal for breakfast, then have fish or salad for dinner. Then I leave you to enjoy a hearty rice topping lunch. One thing to note: I’m not much of a pasta or noodle eater, and I think avoiding these helps a lot.

6. Fried chicken is fine. Just peel of all the skin. And since we are on the topic of meat, I would recommend you eat more fish or chicken, less beef or pork. If you have to eat pork, take the time to scrape off all visible fat. It’s worth the effort.

7. I’m not against snacking. But go for healthier options. Instead of Doritos or Cheetos, nibble on unsalted peanuts or a trail mix. That way you get less carbs yet more protein. Also, avoid stuff that are obviously evil i.e. cake, ice cream and doughnuts.

8. Switch to soy milk. Sometimes we just have to use milk for cooking, breakfast cereal or creaming coffee, but stay away from cow’s milk.

9. Work out once a week. No need to be intense. However, this must be a very serious exercise (pun intended). I.e. you must be very focused and do well executed reps and sets.

10. Wear your size! In the past I was guilty of wearing a size larger to hide the fat and to make provisions so that I don’t have to buy new clothes in case I gain more weight. Very wrong way of thinking! As you start to slim down, you would want to wear clothes with the correct fit.

Now that wasn’t too hard was it? The key is to cut down, without extreme deprivation. I believe this is a happier journey towards a better you.