My journey to be a healthier me

I am more than hesitating to write this article, actually the word apprehension is more suited. I am sure some of what I did is not healthy but then I guess that will be part of the learning. I am hesitating also because am still far from reaching my goal, still stuck and struggle to maintain. It is definitely not a success story, it is more about a story of a journey. I am telling my story to encourage to take a first step to be healthier even for someone like me who thought that is impossible and far reaching.

My mindset for the longest time was a result of my father upbringing. He instilled in me that how we look is least important vs the inside, if we focus on how we look, thats being vain and that is not great. He emphasized, God Bless my beloved late father, on learning and enriching one’s knowledge. I spend my first 40 years of my life furiously learning many many things and aggresively read books. As of now, my collection of book likely reaching 4000+ books and I have read at least triple of that in my life. I speak decently 5 languages and can have basic conversation in many more. Yet, as I accumulate this, as I am happily married the love of my life and has one lovely kind daughter, I nearly double my weight during my 20s. I have small face, hand and feet so picture-wise it doesnt show. But my arms and my thighs are such that I barely able to fit size 16, 18 is more comfortable. I have to sleep half sitting because at night I barely can breathe. I cant sit down and climb stairs comfortably, my past near fatal accident exarcebate the situation. I have migraine and vertigo come and go. Walking and running more than one km is killing me.

In 2018, I had enough of my sorry state that I hid from many people. I love food and thought diet is for sorry people and for sure take away my happiness. Food is one of my proxy to happiness, I love love love food and cherish my relationship. I adventure and experiment with all kind of food. I also dislike exercise, I thought exercise especially devoted ones is a bit of vain. But I reach a point that it is just unbearable and stumbling block to my aspiration. I am about to be 50, this is my last chance to reach middle age in a state that I am comfortable. The time is now and I know I have to start years before reaching 50. So I started with Yoga that Fanny suggest to me. God bless my family who very kindly support in my first step toward healthier me. My dear husband, my daughter and even my Mom join me in the Yoga phase. It lasted a year but I still continue to do yoga as part of my exercise. I can now be more flexible and breathe easier. I can also now sit and standup at any position easier. Importantly, I gain confidence there is strength in me to do more physical activities. I fainted often, suffer physically with when the temperature outside 27 degrees (too hot skin rash too cold runny nose or even more ) and I twist my ankle easily. These are just some conditions, I thought I was weak and sensitive. The only thing I can be proud of is my flexibility somehow beyond many people. It really is heartening to see I can take up yoga even if not the most difficult position.

Then in 2019 I found out I have issue with mild blood clotting, I was reading somewhere that exercise help especially aerobic. I then decided to start walking and jogging, I found out gradually I can do 4 km at one go. I am beyond esctatic. Then as I look around in the company I work for, my team needs to be healthier so they can take more challenges and be happier, I decided we should embrace running challenge. At the same time, there was a regional meeting in Egypt, in which I decided to go to Petra, a bucket list destination for me. One of my flaw is that I am ultra competitive when numbers are involved and that Petra requires heavy duty hiking, I decided to give it all on running. I am very proud to say I can do 200km a month, which means often involved 10 km run daily or 5km twice daily. Along the way, I found out I dont struggle climbing stairs, sleep much better and happier.

Then Covid struck. No more opportunity for long distance running. And in anyway, I dont lose much of weight throughout this running. I did lots of back to back meetings that dont allow me to move and at the same time temptation of great delicious food from gofood simply too great. I was 85kg by mid 2020. Then I had epiphany on my 49th birthday, I dont want to be 50 next year like who I was, I want a 50 me with superb achievement doing things unthinkable. I want to look great. Great, not good. I need to slim me down.

As I am too embarrassed to share with anyone given likelihood me failing the only thing I never try is nearly 100%, I started very quietly. Not only I kept it a secret but I started very gradually. I reduce my meal frequency, I used to have two plates of everything thrice daily and even more then plus continuous snacks. I reduce to eat twice daily and limited rice and once daily snack. Then the next step is take out rice and all carbo to a limited amount. I substitute snacks with healthy snacks like nuts and fruits. I also start substituted my normal meals with salads and vegetarian food, my go to is Burgreen, Salad Stop and Honu Poke. Their food are yummy and healthy. I stop doing meal after 18:00. I started drinking almond milk to substitute milk. I also started to eat more fruits. I lost 7 kg within 7 months. But it is nowhere near enough to get me out of obesity level down to at least overweight (and I still am by the way even now). So now that I gain confidence I can lose and maintain, I started to be more aggressive and switch to intermittent fasting that is very aggressive. I lose another 10 kg with intermittent fasting, which involved at least 10 hours of not eating.

I have to admit it does not feel great, I feel dizzy many many times, I have hair falls and also dull skin. The urge to eat is so very strong, I have to fight it very hard. In mid 2020 as I run out of Western series and movies and as well China drama, I started watching Korean drama and got addicted pretty fast. As with everything in my life, when I like and committed into something, I go all in. When I am not working (which basically not many hours in my days) and not with my family, I watch Korean drama. The actress some rail thin no matter how old they are and they look elegant in their costume. In the past it does not matter but my 85 kg me feel like a giant beast next to them and I do not like it. So I watch these K Drama in the evening to stop myself from eating and snacking. If people say it is all in the mind, I guess it is true. My sheer commitment toward healthier (and slimmer) me, help me to stay the course. The joy to see my clothes gradually from size 18 to 16 to 14 to 12 and some to 10, the joy to go into Zara and trying on S size, I know it is cliché but I cannot help it, the joy light my day.

While in the beginning of this journey I focus on yoga and jogging, as I started to be at 65+ range, I realize I need to help tone my body. At the same time, being 50, I also experience muscle loss that I need to arrest the decline further. I was in my covid day when I run out of things I want to shop during my rest and I dare myself to buy home gym equipment. After I fully recover, I get myself Personal Trainer. Then I started to train regularly, twice a week with my PT and the rest myself. I found that I actually love resistance training and that love show in my body who started to tone well. One only need dumbbell and bench actually for weight resistance. Home gym is unnecessary luxury but if you have the budget it would be so much better because you can weight resistance training as well core. At the same time, I got bored with the jogging and walking and running, it feels a bit empty. I then consider joining gym class so I enrolled in Fitness First + Celebrity Fitness, simply because I am travelling and I want to make sure that I can go their classes (without knowing how interesting the classes). I tried Zumba, DNA-classes and Body Combat as they do not need equipment (which I have at home), fun and intense. I am again hooked as it is indeed aerobic in nature and fun. I love Body Combat and when I cannot go to their classes, I train with video. Particularly like Le Mills videos in Youtube. To combat boredom on jogging, I sometime do it outside for example GBK ( a big stadium in South Jakarta) or just in my neighborhood.

I do calories count given to lose weight you have to go into deficit calories. Getting very good at counting, remembering what calories plate of rice, fried tempe, cakes, Starbuck drinks, etc. I use to help me count but there are many other websites and apps to calculate the calories. As well as very diligent in calculating my calories that I burn with my exercise. Some people say that calories counting is stressful, it is indeed correct, unless you take an easier view that you will always pay back the next day.

There are things I am still bad at. Rest days is something I am not very good at. I sometime still exercise lightly in my rest days. I should not, so this is something I will need to work on. I also have rest days for diet on weekend, but sometime I am not very discipline in which non rest days I still eat more nowadays vs what I should eat, especially when I need to have lunch / dinner meetings. I am thankful I have Fanny who remind me (sometime strictly and she can be very strict !).

What gets me going also is that I have my besties and my group we call Weight Loss Group to support and remind each other to stay healthy. We lost track and be naughty sometime, yet we always remind each other to get back on track. My learning is that to go it alone is very hard and having a social network with same objective, truly help. Of course, having a supportive family is also means doing healthy is a blast. My husband helps me with jogging and walking as well as some other moves how to do right, he also is very supportive in me eating healthily. He never ever tempted me to eat more than necessary, in fact he always remind me to eat healthily since we got married and as well exercise, in the past it wasn’t priority to me. I also am thankful my daughter also together live healthily with me. I am forever thankful for my besties and my family who supported me relentlessly to be healthier.

It is still a journey, from 85 kg, at my best days I can go to 60kg, but now I am stuck in 65 kg. I need to be a lot more serious about my diet given my BMI still above and my weight could be more in the range of 60 or even 57 kg. Still a lot of work. I do not give up, I keep on trying no matter how long and how hard it will need. I love me better now being healthy and slimmer. I keep experimenting and trying new things and stop those that are not beneficial (anymore).

Anyone of you who want to get healthier and need friend ? Call me and we will go through this journey and adventure together ! #bisapastibisaharusbisa

PS : If I can do it, you all can. All it takes just a first baby step but never stop with the first, put your foot forward everyday. Give yourself a reward whenever you achieve milestone, I do. You will get there, SEMANGAT !

#dietstory #intermittentdiet #healthyformiddleage #healthyat50 #exerciseat50 #fitnessat50

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