By Arif Gamon
“Weight loss doesn’t begin in the gym with a dumbbell, it starts in your head with a decision” – Tony Sorenson
If it wasn’t for those words that I would wake up to reading every morning without fail, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
Diet has never been a smooth ride in its initial stage, the feeling of complete helplessness to indulge yourself in such delicacies and colourful rainbows of desserts have caused a failure for those who attempted to follow the healthier side. Don’t feel bad or anything, it’s a natural process that one goes through that I myself have experienced back in 2017.
I have no ill-intentions of bragging or of any sort, but I would like to share my journey of how I transitioned from being 106kg to 76kg, with the hope and prayer that this piece of writing will bring inspiration, strength, motivation and hope to whoever read this. My story isn’t something that was achieved overnight. Nor was it something that was a product of magic pill, it was a product of self-love and hard work.
Being labelled back as the “fat kid” was harsh, to begin with. I took a huge toll on my health psychologically, mentally and physically despite the fake smiles and laughter I had to pull off to survive high school and college. I felt my body has defined me in where I stand in the social pyramid. My self-esteem went down the drain.
What made me lose weight
It all began in October 2017 during my five-day itinerary to Krabi, Thailand, a destination famous for its relaxing beaches and islands, tranquil waters and picturesque sceneries. Not to forget the mouth-watering, eye-boggling foods and desserts that were the primary triggers of my inner temptation to indulge with the local dishes.
I was just a sucker for food, my world was a circulation of food and it was the coping strategies to my stress and loneliness from how people treated me. My series of attempts on losing weight was nothing but a half-fulfilled dream only to be able to regain back whatever I have lost.
Five days were spent eating, trying all sorts of food with the idea that I would not step foot outside Krabi if I don’t get to try out all of their delicacies only to realise this has led me to gain 7kg in less than a week.
I was disgusted with the three-figure number popping out of the weighing scale, and the unsightly pictures trapped beneath my oversized shirts and pants. It was the feeling of guilt, regret and shame that I paid no attention to my health and body.
It took me 20 years only to realise that I have been living my life wrongly that might potentially harm myself in the future. Something has to be done, but it was never easy. It was a struggle with the mind to change this lifestyle.
How I did it
It was around December in 2017 that I decided to make changes. The initial start-ups to this so-called “mission-to-lose-weight” were a series of doubts. It was not an easy task to wake up every morning telling yourself to work out, It was an enduring struggle with my mind to constantly remind myself about my goals.
I believe people who had the same experience will agree to this. I was hanging on a single thread to continue this goal of mine to live a healthier lifestyle.
Prior to that, I did a research on a series of diet that led me to set up a ban to eating major staple foods such as rice, oily foods and sugary drinks that are readily available everywhere here in Malaysia. My main goal at that point was to completely stop my unhealthy eating habits of binge eating and cutting down unnecessary intakes.
I resorted to wholemeal bread topping it up with grilled chicken breast with a cup of water for three meals a day. Yes, it was very boring and no mad man would do it. Anyone would have given up within two days but it was the pure determination and hope that gathered me to continue this.
My vision was just to live the healthier lifestyle and given the circumstances, I knew I had to sacrifice many things that I love; late-night McDonald’s, my nasi goreng from the local Mamak restaurant just across the street of my neighbourhood.
Sacrifices had to be made. It was very hard for me as I remembered crying once as I just wanted to have a bite of mi sedap that my brother was eating but I knew it would be all over if I were to fall deep to my temptation.
Fast forward in time, I have lost 4.5 kg solely through my diet plan in a span of two months, but I knew it was not enough, my weight still displayed a three-digit number. I was desperate for sudden changes. Changing my diet was not solely enough to produce massive changes, it was time to further step outside of my comfort zone.
Once or twice a week I would drive to the nearest park (Taman-Perdana) to jog around the lake which was 2.5 kilometres wide. In addition to that, topping it up with a seven-minute workout routine I found on Youtube during my spare time.
The experience was excruciating and painful at first for someone who barely did any exercise since high school as it was mandatory. It went to an extent I vomited once due to overworking myself after a jogging session. Up till this day, I wonder how did I get that much determination in doing something I never thought I would do.
But little did I know it turned into a lifestyle that I can’t seem to separate myself with as time passes. It felt natural that I didn’t feel obliged to perform. It just happened naturally.
It took me five months of grinding, repeating the same meal, repeating the same workout when I realised there were massive changes. The lump of excess skins, scars formed around my arms and waist as a product of my hard work.
My waistline has dropped significantly, my jawline started forming, I felt lighter and happier. This experience has changed me to be a better person overall. I felt more positive. I felt like I just came out of a cave from hiding.
Everything just felt new and wonderful to me that I had never experienced before. Furthermore, my life and perception have changed 180 degrees.
The hard work has indeed paid off. Regardless of how much effort I put in, which it has made me to the person I am today, I love myself for who I am and all this time and energy that I have invested upon working in myself has just reconfirmed its statement.
What I learned is that being consistent and persistent is the key to achieving your goals. The result only shows when one sticks to the plan strictly.
All this can be achieved if you truly love yourself and seek improvements. There will always be problems and challenges along the way that would lead one to get back to their old lifestyle.
But to constantly remind yourself of the sacrifices you once made, I am sure it will give you a push through actions when you’re making excuses. ***