In part 1 of the weight loss series, we covered some general guidelines for losing weight. Now, let us delve into the specifics.

1. Change your diet

Reduce the carbs you eat. Studies have shown that low carb diets can help you lose weight and improve your health. But if you reduce carbs, surely you must increase your intake in other areas? What? —that is the question.

Some people increase their fats intake. Sounds counterintuitive? Well, there are some research out there that suggests that high fat diets trigger fat burning in your body(ketosis), resulting in weight loss. However, though true, a high fat diet also comes with its own associated health problems, such as an increased likelihood of having heart disease. My suggestion? Up your protein intake. A diet high in protein helps you to feel fuller, and allows you to eat more food than you possibly can in a high fat diet.

The jury is still out on what is the best diet for weight loss. When in doubt, eat in moderation, in accordance with what the Health Promotion Board suggests.

And avoid the following list of foods.

Foods to avoid

  • Sugar: ice cream, soft drinks, fruit juices (without the fibre, they are nature’s coke), candies, ketchup
     
  • Trans fats: margarine
     
  • Highly processed foods: bacon (too much saturated fats and sodium), instant noodles (aka packaged death-wish)

2. But don’t do something you cannot do in the long term

For me, it’s dieting.

A few weeks back, while surfing mindlessly on the Internet, I saw this Khloe Kardashian backed diet— ominously named the military diet—and because it promised to help me lose 3kg in 3 days, I gave it a try. As with all diets, the portion is small, and for the most part, healthy. To keep an accurate record of how effective the diet is, I stepped onto the weighing scale every day and kept a record of my weight.

The first day, I was a carrot-munching, apple-crunching devotee of the diet. Weight on the first day: 50.4kg. Fast forward to the second day… 49.50kg. I know I shouldn’t let a number define me, but for the few seconds I was on the weighing scale, I was happy.

But lunch came. And I wasn’t that happy anymore. I looked at my friend’s mouth-watering food, and then back at my pathetic bread, cheese and hardboiled egg, and I wanted to cry. My breaking point came during dinner. I looked at my friend’s bak ku teh and I decided that one small pork rib cannot hurt… I ended up eating 2 pork ribs, 1 bowl of lamb soup and 2 sticks of satay.

Weight on third day: 49.05kg. By now, I just wanted the diet to end, and then go back to eating proper food. The day passed by in a whirl and throughout the day, my stomach kept pleading me to give it something good. Anything will do. Just something other than eggs, bread, carrots, apples and cheese. I patted my stomach and told it to hang in there. By then, I was almost on the verge of tears.

Weight on fourth day… I don’t know, because I didn’t weigh, because I don’t care. Dieting is simply not the way to go for me, and no matter how tempting those numbers are, I won’t do it again.  A week later, when I finally did weigh, I realised that the pounds I have shed have found their way back to me. Rebounds are real.

My story serves as a cautionary tale for those who have been dieting on and off, and seeing their weight yo-yo. To lose weight, you need to make lasting lifestyle changes. Don’t go about it in a way that makes you question the meaning of life. But for those of you who think that you have more discipline and perseverance than me, you can find the military diet here.

3. Exercise (but not all exercises are made the same)

Exercising helps you burn calories (duh). But to get the most out of your exercise routine, it is not enough to exercise hard, you also need to exercise smart. Enough talk, let’s get moving.

a. Lower body exercise are more efficient

Your largest muscles are in your legs, and by working those muscles, you create more micro-tears that your body has to spend energy repairing. Do squats, lunges and other leg exercises and you will see the fats in your arms melt away. (If you haven’t realised by now, targeted fat loss—such as losing only fats on your bum—isn’t possible.)

b. Do interval trainings

Alternate between periods of all-out effort and rest, such as 8 seconds of high-intensity all out sprint and 12 seconds of low- intensity comfortable jog, for 20 minutes. It will help you burn more calories, in a shorter time than say, 40 minutes of long distance running.

c. Exercise with a friend

Exercising with a friend makes the workout more enjoyable and helps you to exercise more, without you realising it. Research has shown that when working out with a friend, the two of you release twice as much feel-good endorphins as those who exercised solo. No wonder they say happiness is contagious.

These are just some exercise tips that I found when – once again—surfing mindlessly on the net. To read the details, click here.

To be honest, there is nothing wrong with being a little on the plump side. If you are feeling a little insecure about your size but cannot muster the energy to get out of bed for a morning run, or pack your lunch box with celery sticks, then trust Google to make you feel better. Type in “health benefits of a big butt” and you will realise being all about that bass isn’t so bad after all.