I. Why Do You Want To Lose Weight?
First of all, ask yourself this question “Why do I want to lose weight?” There are Good Reasons and Not-So-Good Reasons to lose weight.
Good Reasons To Lose Weight:
- Your health deteriorates because of an unhealthy lifestyle & heavy weight (You always feel lethargic, you get tired easily just by climbing the stairs….)
- You don’t feel good looking at yourself in the mirror.
- You don’t feel confident to wear the types of clothes you love.
Not-So-Good Reasons To Lose Weight:
- The figures & data on your health reports implicate that you’re perfectly healthy and the thought of dropping a few kilograms never crossed your mind until someone tells you that you need to be slimmer to look better. You try to lose weight to make other people rather than yourself happy.
The decision of changing your appearance should only come from YOU. I don’t encourage you to shred/gain weight to live up to society’s expectations and beauty standards because they would change over time.
A fun fact I want to share with you is after dropping quite a lot of weight, my breasts got smaller and my hips have shrunk. Some good friends told me that I should change my diet and check out some hip exercises to look curvier. I appreciate the advice because I know they do care about me but simply told them that I liked the way I looked and I was totally content with my flat chest and humble butt. I don’t need to look like Kim Kardashian to feel more attractive.
And if you happen to have wide hips and round butt, I think that’s pretty too. However, I would likely encourage my friends who have large waists to lose a bit of the belly fat since big belly increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Otherwise, being a bit chubby is totally fine, as long as it doesn’t bring you potential health issues.
Another major body change as a result of my dedication to yoga & abdomen exercising is that I look a bit more defined now (I’m in love with the upper body exercises btw) but it doesn’t make me feel any less feminine. Conventionally, in Vietnamese culture, only men should be muscular and desired women are associated with delicate figures. What I am trying to say is Everyone’s body is different and you are unique. Embrace your natural beauty and the diversity of body types.
Now let me tell you my own story – the reason why I decided to lose weight before we look into the tips.
I have always been an avid foodie.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake is my favorite dessert and I love the sensation of putting a full spoon of chocolate cake, lukewarm dark chocolate sauce, and cold vanilla ice-cream into my mouth, chewing slowly and feel the mixed texture melts…I have foodgasm from eating delicious food.
My sweet tooth did not do much harm until I hit puberty. My weight had been fluctuated since then. I was struggling to maintain my weight due to my adoration for food, not to mention my unhealthy lifestyle which involved excessive consumption of sweet & greasy food without exercising.
In 2016, my weight reached its peak (55kg). Given my modest height (1.57m), carrying a 55-kg-weight and 75-cm-waist body makes me feel slothful, sluggish and unattractive. I wore baggy, dark-colored clothes to cover my large waist. I tried several methods which including cutting back on high-calorie foods and even drinking weight-loss herbal tea but they did not seem to work and the unhealthy eating habits somehow found their ways to crawl back in after a few days or weeks.
After several attempts, I almost gave up the effort of staying in shape and told myself “That’s it Huong. Maybe you’re getting older and your metabolism isn’t that great anymore. So let’s keep indulging in all the food you love and forget about getting fit!!”. I guess some of you also face the same situation when it comes to losing weight.
And somehow magic happened when I almost gave up all the efforts of staying in shape. At the end of 2016, I got myself a 2017 Planner in hopes of achieving my targets in the New Year. And my weight loss journey started from here 🙂
II. Weight-Loss Experience And Tips
Here are some personal tips on weight loss experience which I have applied successfully so far. I hope you find it helpful:
- Write Down Your Goals and Action Plans. BE SPECIFIC.
As I mentioned above, I failed several attempts until I seriously wrote down my goals in my Planner, analyzed the causes and drafted out a serious plan. Understanding what food and habits are adding more weight to your body is crucial. Writing down your goals boosts your motivation to start acting on them.
The template is something like this:
- Current weight:
- Target weight:
- Current waist:
- Target waist:
- Reasons I cannot lose weight:
- My actions:
This is my version:
- Current weight: 55 kg
- Target weight: 46-47 kg
- Current waist: 75 cm
- Target waist: 62-64 cm
- Reasons I cannot lose weight:
+ I drink too much bubble tea (4-5 times/ week). What makes it worse is I’m contributing to plastic waste to the environment.
+ I drink too much coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Everyday. This kind of coffee is very common in Vietnam. Statistics show there’re 62 calories in 1 teaspoon of sweet condensed milk.
+ I consume too many greasy & starchy foods in my diet
+ I consume too much sweet food, from sweet desserts, sweet soups, to juice with added sugar. In the South of Vietnam, people tend to add a lot of sugar in their food.
+ I rarely exercise.
+ Cut down milk tea gradually (to only 1-2 times/week)
+ Switch coffee with sweetened condensed milk to tea with no sugar
+ Cut down starchy food & switch from refined grains to whole grains (such as brown rice and quinoa…)
+ Replace fried/ stir-fried foods with more steamed/boiled vegetables
+ Limit the amount of sugar intake whenever I can. Eg: I only order milk tea with 20% of the normal amount of sugar, and for other drinks, I ask for less or no sugar.
+ Choose a sport I like and start exercising. I go to the yoga studio 3 days a week and exercise 15 mins at home every morning.
Yoga suits me perfectly well because it eases my stressed-out brain and gets me to sweat like crazy on the mat. I learn to release my negative energy by doing yoga as well. I encourage you to choose a calorie-burning exercise which is suitable for you, something you must enjoy doing every day. Choosing the sport you enjoy is important because it keeps you motivated. Some sports to consider: Yoga, Gym, Pilates, Kick-Boxing, Rock-Climbing, Running…
+ Be conscious of the number of calories you consume by checking the food packaging. According to Healthline.com, an average woman needs about 2000 calories per day to maintain her weight and about 1500 calories per day to lose weight. But this number varies depending on your age, current weight, height and lifestyle. There are many websites and apps which help to calculate your daily calorie requirement.
+ Don’t starve yourself! Prepare some low-calorie foods in case you get hungry in the late afternoon. I usually have low-sugar yogurt, banana, pomelo, guava…
+ Eat vegetables and soup first to fill your stomach before having other food.
+ Use small food containers (small bowls, plates…)
3 Important Notes To Remember:
- CUT DOWN the food GRADUALLY. DO NOT CUT OFF INSTANTLY the food you like. Eg: bubble tea, fried chicken, because it will grow your crave for these foods and you will find yourself start eating them again (maybe even more than before) after a few days or weeks. That’s also the main reason many people including myself failed in the first place in the weight loss battle.
- Again CHOOSE THE RIGHT EXERCISE so that you can commit yourself to it. Before knowing about yoga, I excitedly got a gym membership card but I gave up after….1 day. Reason? I don’t feel motivated running by myself on the treadmill at all! (or maybe my trainer was not really good). To avoid wasting money, you should try several sports by joining drop-in classes before officially enrolling in the one you consider the most suitable for you. (It’s like choosing the right partner). Beside yoga, rock-climbing and swimming are my two other favorite sports.
- BE PATIENT & START WITH BABY STEPS. Your body may ache all over after the first week of exercising if you don’t regularly do it but that will get better. I only felt better and started noticing the change in my body after 1 month of practicing yoga. Yet do not be too hard on yourself, rest in the middle of the exercise when you need to and get back to work when you are ready.
2. Easy Exercises I Do At Home For Core Strengthening (15 mins every morning)
- Spread the fingers wide apart (to protect your wrists). Firmly ground through your palms and stay strong throughout your arms and shoulders. Engage your abdominals. Keep your neck, back and legs aligned. Do not arch your back or lower your hips.
- Hold this pose for only 20 seconds for the first few days. Once you can hold the pose comfortably in 20 seconds, increase the time to 30 seconds and then 1 minute.
- Similar to high plank but your arms should form a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- Timing is the same as above (from 20 seconds to 1 minute)
- Fingers press firmly to the ground. Keep head, neck, torso and legs in a straight line.Contract the core.
- Remember to repeat on the other side
- Timing is the same as above (from 20 seconds to 1 minute each side)
Lying leg raise
- Lie on your back. Hands are interlaid behind the head. Inhale & raise your legs up to form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Exhale & slowly lower your legs down to form a 30-degree angle with the floor. Continue to raise your legs up and repeat the cycle. Try to use your core to lift the legs.
- Complete 10 repetitions for the first few days/weeks/months. Once you feel comfortable with 10 repetitions, increase it to 20 and 30 repetitions.
- Lie on your back with both hands behind the head. Inhale and twist your upper body to the left and let your right elbow touch your left knee. Straighten and extend right leg. Exhale switch to the other side. Engage your core.
- Complete 20 repetitions for the 1st few days/weeks/months. Once you feel comfortable with 10 reps, increase it to 30-40-50 reps.
Besides, I also watch and follow the yoga tutorial on Youtube. Briohny Smyth is my favorite yoga instructor and I just love her 15-min core strengthening videos very much.
The Last Important Note To Remember:
- BE KIND TO YOUR BODY. If you a beginner to yoga or any kind of sport, remember to rest when you need to. Excessive exercise can also cause harm to your body. Take a slow but sustainable road to a healthy and strong body. LOVE YOURSELF AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY 🙂
I hope you find this post useful and inspiring to start acting. Please share your thoughts and your own weight loss tips in the comments section below. I really appreciate your feedback as it will help me improve my writing skills and blog content. Thank you! <3
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How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day To Lose Weight by Kris Gunnars at Healthline.com
Core-Focused Vinyasa Yoga Flow By Briohny Smyth