Those who have been following the hubby’s Instagram will know that he has lost 22 kg since the pandemic started. As his wife, I saw him ‘transform’ right before my eyes, slowly and steadily – from a hefty 102kg to what he is now, at his BMI weight of 80kg. That’s about 22 kg in less than 2 years. Or about 1kg per month!
It has been no mean feat for him, being overweight nearly all his adult life and being a busy, working dad, clocking in 10-12hour days at work. He documented this significant weight-loss journey for his kids to remember. So here it is.
David’s Journey From 102kg to 80kg
I’ve always been overweight as an adult and I’ve always given excuses for not exercising. In early 2019, I was at the peak of my weight gain at 102kg and my waist line was 42 inches and expanding. Yet I didn’t really see a compelling need to do anything.
What ‘Woke’ Me Up:
Throughout the years, I did my fair share of crash diets including signing up for a fitness regime at a newly opened physio studio near our home. All those failed miserably. In fact, I even tore part of my meniscus with that fitness instructor who is supposedly a trained physiotherapist!
My torn meniscus made me realise that the quality of life can be so fragile. What you do when you’re younger can determine the quality of your life in later years. My wife’s cancer diagnosis in 2017 also brought our mortality ‘closer to home’. I was determined to live a healthy life so that we can enjoy a good quality of life together as a couple so that we can keep traveling the world together.
My Own Circuit Breaker:
I started a hybrid of KETO and Intermittent Fasting (IF) during late 2019 during Singapore’s lock-down (‘Circuit Breaker’). With Work from Home (WFH) and Home-based Learning (HBL) in full swing, I started my own home fitness regime using TABATA/ HIIT and mixing it with Zumba and Cardio. Just 10 to 20 mins each session. That’s all.
Achieving BMI Weight:
Now, 22 months later, I’m am finally at my BMI weight of 80kg. In fact, well within 12 months, I was already down to 84kg. Today, I’m feeling fitter, stronger and much more flexible. Best of all, by making exercises sustainable and realistic, it has now become part of my lifestyle. To think that I did it all without the need of a fitness coach nor any other fanciful equipment or even a gym membership!
8 Factors That Help In My Weight-Loss:
Here’s my approach on how I lost 1kg each month. I’ll add in some quotes here that inspire me.
- REALISTIC: Find small pockets of time around your daily schedule. Start with just 10 or 15 minutes. With small pockets of time, it’s easier to be flexible too.
- BITE-SIZED: Use short 10-15 minute fitness videos that has a mix of TABATA/HIIT/Cardio and Zumba. It’s going to be tiring at first but set short realistic goals. Think of it as a ‘me time’ that you owe it to yourself, to keep yourself fit. I share my recommendations below.
“ Never mind if you don’t have 30 or 60 mins. Do 10 mins each day or at different times of the day. It all adds up!” paraphrased quote from Tom Holland from Bowflex Fitness. Check out their home fitness videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvRIDbR5aho&list=PLL3tp4lasjfNxf1JM8SXQJ0I0Q0Gr_k-5
- SIMPLE: Simplicity is key because it makes fitness accessible. I keep my set up really simple: a laptop/iPad and an exercise/yoga mat from Decathlon. If it’s in the morning, then I use my in-ears headphones so that I don’t wake the whole ‘hood up.
- AUTHENTIC : I like my fitness videos to have less talk and more work out. For that, I go for trainers that are REAL fitness experts as opposed to lifestyle influencers trying to sell sports apparel or equipment. You can tell from how toned their bodies are and the general focus of their videos. I share my recommendations below.
- VARIETY: To keep sessions interesting, I mix things up a little. I do a variety of TABATA/HIIT, Cardio and Zumba. I alternate different exercises every few days. Mixing things up also helps with muscle recovery (where muscles need to rest). The idea is to stay active regardless of the activity.
- FAMILY: Do your workouts with family. This way you get to spend time with your loved ones while doing something you love. It’s a great way to role-model and nurture a sense of healthy-living in our kids. I get my kids (and occasionally the wifey) to join me on weekends with Zumba, TABATA and Cardio. On weekends, we go cycling and swimming too.
- FOOD: “You cannot exercise away a bad diet” paraphrased from Heather Robertson, one of the online fitness trainers I follow. For me, I need my hawker food fix and yes, I need my carbo and desserts too! Through my hybrid diet of partial Keto and Intermittent Fasting (IF) supporting my regular exercises, it helps heaps. I find that my mind and body will automatically keep my nutrition in check. Check out Heather Robertson’s videos here: https://www.youtube.com/c/Heatherrobertsoncom/videos
- CONNECTION: “It’s about connection, not perfection.” Paraphrased quote from Jamie Kinkeade, another fitness trainer I follow (https://www.youtube.com/c/THESTUDIOBYJAMIEKINKEADE/featured ) Give yourself the space and time to get fit slowly. While form and intensity is important, when you’re starting out, allow yourself to make mistakes and not necessarily having to follow the actual rigour. Remember that these videos are by actual fitness trainers. So don’t ‘lose sleep’ over not being able to complete the entire regime or not being able to do it ‘properly’. Do according to your own fitness level and ability. The idea is to keep moving and connecting with your own fitness.
“Be patient with yourself. Real transformation takes times.” Paraphrased from Anna Engelschall of Growing Annanas, one of my ‘go to’ and all time favourite video fitness trainers (https://www.youtube.com/c/growingannanas/featured )
Before I share my plan, it is important to remember the following:
Risks: Every activity carries risk hence it is important to know your own fitness level and start from there. Fitness is a personal journey. You know your fitness condition best. Do consult your medical professional to find out if you are fit for certain type of activities and level of intensity.
Safety: Although it’s home based, I insist on the following:
- Wear Proper Socks and Footwear: Your feet are going to take some pounding. Best to have proper footwear even at home to absorb the pressure and to prevent from slipping or reduce the pain when you step on your child’s Lego pieces (!!)
- Use a Good Exercise or Yoga Mat: I started with a $16 Yoga mat from the local pharmacy. A good mat is necessary as it helps to increase friction, reduce slips and falls plus helps to keep the floor dry when doing ab exercises.
- Take Frequent Breaks: Take breaks in between or as and when your body feels like you need it.
- Dry and Hydrate Often: You’re going to sweat (that’s the idea!), have a towel handy to wipe away perspiration so you can see clearly as well as a bottle of water nearby to hydrate yourself.
- Find Space: Give yourself some space so you can stretch. If your home doesn’t have the space, go for a common area like the common corridor, pool side, balcony etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Let’s Get Started! 5 Tips to Start Your Own Weight-loss Journey:
- Diet & Food Intake: Go on a hybrid of KETO and Intermittent Fasting (IF). For me, I eat cauliflower rice on weekdays with intermittent fasting from dinner through to lunch: 8pm to 12 noon. (I skip breakfast – it’s ok, really.) The idea is to keep the intake of fats and un-used energy to a minimum so that my body will start burning the excess. For me, I cut sugar too. It’s ok, you’ll live! Well in fact!
- Start with short HIIT / TABATA: Start with short interval fitness, about 10-15 mins. Try to find time at least once a day to do it. Better still if it can be twice. I’ve compiled a playlist here for you to start off. Remember to warm up too! Use the Bowflex videos to warm up. They are great! I started with these for a good 6 to 8 months daily. Sometimes twice! Here’s sharing a short list of my favourite short fitness videos which got me (and my kids) started! Click on the link HERE! or save this link: https://bit.ly/Lose_Weight_From_Home-FitnessStarter
- Family Fun: Get the family and the kids involved especially on weekends. I’ve compiled some of the videos which my kids like to do with me. Here they are https://bit.ly/Workout_with_Kids
- Set Realistic Targets: Yes. Weigh yourself regularly to see your progress. My wife got me a simple fitness watch so I can monitor my heart rate and calories burned. Remember that real transformation takes time but it will happen. Once it becomes part of your regular fitness regime, you’re set!
- Give Yourself Time: Finally, yes. Give yourself time. 3 months at least to see some results and it’s ok. You want the progress to be real, authentic and sustainable.
I hope the above from the hubby will help you to kickstart your personal fitness journey. You can follow the hubby’s fitness journey at his IG and IGS (@doting_dad). All the best!