No, I did not starve myself, though at one point of time I ate so little I had trouble sleeping. The weight loss was fast, but it was not a smart move. I felt weak and dehydrated, and I hated how I felt, being constantly deprived and even have dreams about food and nightmares that I was binge eating, waking up finding myself shaky and hungry, or even really waking up to eat in the middle of the night. I was slim my whole life, and in fact underweight all the way till the days of my youth, so I guess I took for granted that I could eat anything, I didn't realise how much weight I had gained (probably caused by my depression after I had a break up after being with this guy for 6 years). In fact, for about 20 years of my life, I ate like a cow but I could never gain any weight! I ate curry rice everyday, cup noodles at night right before I slept. I thought it could go on but as age crept up on me so did my metabolism and weight gain.
Anyway, in this post I would like to talk about temporary weight gain caused by sodium intake and why you weigh more or less on certain days, and basically how I managed to achieve my weight loss goal. I will also include how the types of foods that you eat in your diet are weigh (pun intended!) more important the number of calories that you eat a day.
Sodium (salt), Water Retention that Causes Temporary Weight Gain
When people mention the word “cardio”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I bet most of you are picturing someone running. Most people who want to burn fat will probably tend to focus more on cardio workouts. Of course, cardio is not only meant for fat loss as many of you know the benefits of building stamina and endurance as well as mental well-being apart from physical well-being. Notice that I used the word fat loss. I do not like to use the terminology of weight loss as weight refers to your overall body weight in general - muscle, fat, organs, water weight, faeces (okay I’m just kidding on this one) but basically EVERYTHING which means I was serious about the faeces, whereas fat loss is specifically referring to having a reduction of fat in your body. By the way I didn't run much to lose weight, but spent most of the time on my trampoline which I will cover more in another post. I love trampoline workouts and how they can be included as part of my high intensity interval training routine.
If you have been weighing yourself daily like what I used to do, you will notice a fluctuation in your daily weight or like freak out even though you have been eaten a little but gained 1kg the next day. Like what?! Or perhaps you have rejoiced when you barely did anything but lost 1kg the next day (or vice versa if you are trying to gain weight). Yes, I have been monitoring myself for more than a year and have done extensive research on weight gain and weight loss as I was struggling with my weight which I eventually realized, I should have been struggling with FAT LOSS instead.
You see, whenever you eat foods that contain a high amount of salt or sodium, you will probably experience temporary weight gain the next day (unless you weigh yourself directly after eating which makes no sense because you are gonna be counting in the weight of your food). This temporary weight gain is due to water retention! I have no idea why it is called water retention because it is not water but sodium ions being deposited in your body.
The Importance of What Type of Foods You include in Your Diet
On the other hand, if you eat clean with a low sodium intake, you will notice that your body has less water retention and you will weigh lesser. You can try experimenting on your own! Perhaps have ramen tonight and weigh yourself the next morning.
Anyway, this article is not meant to encourage you to eat ramen even though I sounded like I just did. If you have used calorie calculator or myfitnesspal (my favourite app which I will talk more about another time), that is a good thing!
Trust me, the moment I stopped my diet and stopped using myfitnesspal because I thought I had lost enough weight, I GAINED BACK ALL THE WEIGHT I LOST PLUS AN ADDITIONAL 4KG! The app is not magic, it does not make you lose weight, but it helps you keep track how many calories you have eaten a day. You have to faithfully key in every meal.
If you are more disciplined than me, you probably don’t have to depend on the app but it is a good way to keep track as you can view your daily or weekly progress. It was because of my mentality too. I thought I could eat anything I wanted as I had achieved my weight loss goal. As long as I don’t binge eat right? WRONG. Maintaining your weight and health requires a total change of lifestyle. I went on a diet again, but this time, I also had to change my lifestyle, meaning that I had to be more aware and selective when it comes to my meals. I do not even diet anymore, but I just select healthier options. Most days of the week, I have wholemeal bread with eggs for breakfast, something light for lunch, and any other meal for dinner. Please take note that I AM NOT RECOMMENDING you to follow my diet, but just sharing my story with you. Every other day I just eat as per normal, rice or noodles, standard Asian meals. Sometimes fried, sometimes not, sometimes fast food.
Based on my weight (46kg or 101 pounds), I should be eating 1200 calories a day in order to lose weight. I know that sounds extremely light to you guys but I am Asian, yes, small sized with a light bone mass but I have a problem with tummy fat which I am still getting rid of. It’s a slow and steady progress. When I ate normal meals which included fried food BUT stayed within 1200 calories, trust me, I did not lose ANY weight at all. However, when I switched to replacing my rice with wholemeal bread and half boiled eggs, boy, I lost weight without even trying! I do walk around quite a lot as my freelance job requires me to do so. So I am considered pretty active, you can take a look at my fitbit tracking. Fitbit is another app and device that I use to key in my daily caloric intake, keep track of the amount of calories that I have burned, monitor my daily sleep and track overall progress. I like the fact that Fitbit sends me weekly progress reports, do have a look here!
If you are interested in getting one for yourself, you can get one easily from amazon or any other retail stores.. pretty popular and sold in most departmental stores. The one in the image on the left (Fitbit Flex) is the one I am currently using but they have many types and colours. It's waterproof by the way. I sync it with my phone so I use my phone to track the number of steps that I walk using the Fitbit app (I know it's waterproof but I dot like to wear a watch when I walk and sweat and all). Usually people wear it to track their exercise. Ironically, I wear it when I am the most inactive...to sleep! Just to track how well I slept like how many times I woke up and stuff. Pretty cool, huh?