The shortest answer to the question of how to lose weight yet not lose any weight is to change your diet and opt for physical exercise. But, you think it is contradictory to claim it is possible to lose weight but actually not lose any weight? Stay tuned, because this is my story on how exactly this happened.
I am in my late twenties, and I am 174. At the moment I weigh around 74 kilos. The weight numbers actually fluctuate up to five kilos – unbelievable!, as it happened the last time I used a scale.
My history with sports
Although I am a sporty type, I never did any exercises. I enjoy basketball and handball, sometimes even tennis, but only as a fan – either live or on TV.
When I was in primary school, at the age of 10, I tried dancing, but it never worked out as it turned out I am a total mess and couldn’t remember any steps – but I was an excellent at improvisation, which is a skill I kept to this day. Later on, at about 12, I started karate lessons, but after I reached the green belt level I stopped – I also went to high school, had to commute and, in general, lost interest.
So high school went on, and my only touch with sports was a local sports club whose matches I started visiting with my friends. Oh, if it was only their games! We actually spent as much time in their training sessions as if we ourselves were the ones to practice!
Then I moved to another city, to attend university, and again, no need for sports. During the first year of my studies, I lived in an apartment, so it wasn’t unusual for me to take the stairs instead of the elevator. During my second year at uni, I lived on the 5th floor, without an elevator. My best friend lived on the 5th floor, as well as my boyfriend. None of them had an elevator. So, basically, just leaving my place to see him and her at the same day and going back to my place meant I would climb 15 floors, and it was going on for months. Later on, I moved to a dorm, where my room was on the 3rd floor, also no elevator, but who would need one anyway for the third floor? My timetable was scattered into several lessons throughout the day, and since the dorm was so close to my uni I would usually go back to my room, sometimes even get a nap within an hour break. Downtown was just 10-15 minutes on foot from the dorm, I rarely went to the bus station as I could catch a bus home from a nearby public transport bus station. Basically, if I had to go somewhere, as long as it was up to 40 minutes on foot from where I lived, I never took any transport and walked. All the time. I walked all the time. Never took any sports – neither have I had the time, nor did I need it.
First true instances of sports – sort of
There was one point when a voice appeared in my head, trying to drag me back to karate. I saw a poster for both karate and taiqi chuan, and actually wanted to go back to karate, but my dad insisted on trying on taiqi chuan, so I went there. And stayed for about 2 and a half years. It was a fascinating experience: during the one-hour session I’d get enormously energized and rested, while at the same time exhaust myself and drench my clothes with sweat. A layman would never say taiqi chuan could be physically both demanding and undemanding, but for me, it worked just perfectly. It helped me focus better and control my energy, while at the same time kept my body in shape.
But, as always, a change happened – I went back home, unexpectedly! For about a year, I tried finishing my master thesis, which I did, and passed with flying colours; and then I got a job. A real job! It included hours-long commuting, and a sedentary lifestyle, with no time for appropriate meals, relying on pastries and lots of pastries just to cut the hunger.
One thing led to another, and – wham – within a couple of years, before you know it, you’re fat! And you need to do something about it asap!
And then something startles you to start movin’
It happened last year. After I had lost yet another job and decided that sort of job was no longer for me, and after I realised how much I got sick from living with my parents at the young age of mid-twenties, while my younger sister was rocking her world on her own, I decided it was time for me to do the same. And a tiny voice appeared in my head pushing me back to karate lessons. It was a time to turn a new leaf. And so I did it.
I found a job in my dream city, moved there, and found a karate club that made me feel I could fit in in no time.
So, now, I had a job that I was yet to learn how to do; I was in my old favourite place; and I was in the process of getting hooked on sports for real. How unbelievable was that?
What is my routine now?
Our office is on the fifth floor, although it is actually the sixth floor. I never take the elevator – I walk. Twice a day, I take the stairs to the sixth floor. Sometimes thrice, if we have a meeting in another building, where the office is on the 3rd floor.
I like doing push ups against the balcony fence, to keep my arms toned.
At karate lessons
I have karate lessons thrice a week. Sometimes we have the fourth lesson on weekends, but it does not happen real often. If we’re preparing for the exam, the number of lessons can go up to 5 a week. They are usually up to one hour and a half. I enjoy sparring with men, especially with the serious ones, black belts to be more precise, as it is only them whom I can get some serious practice with.
It takes me 10-15 minutes on foot to get there, and the same to go back home.
I walk everywhere – still, if up to 45 minutes on foot from me, it is just not far away. It is enough to take a walk.
I do planks, and I love it how this routine flattens my belly. At the moment, I am over 90 seconds, but I am yet to learn how to do it properly, so as to relieve the back pain it causes after 60 secs.
When your mom is your chef, you cannot actually choose what you eat – you have to accept what’s on your plate. But, living on your own (or, at least not with your parents), means you get to have at least some influence onto the selection of your meals.
So this is what my meals are made of during the last half of year:
- fruit: bananas, oranges, tangerines, kiwi, apples, grapefruit, lemon, ginger;
- vegetables: potato, string beans, peas; plus a selection of boiled vegetables;
- rice (both white and brown), whole grain bread;
- butter, jam, peanut butter, speculoos;
- honey instead of sugar – we ate about 5 kilos of honey and about one kilo of sugar in 6 months;
- olive oil, salt, spices;
- when at work: most often mashed potato, chicken, risotto, grilled vegetables, sometimes macaroni, pork, gulash;
- sweets and confectionery of various sorts;
- lots of water, milk, yoghurt, tea, coffie-based beverages as I dislike coffie but need to vary my drinks once in a while;
- fast food extremely rarely: pizza, gyros, or Chinese take-away.
Where am I now?
In plain words, I am on my way to losing weight. Actually, losing fat, while at the same time building up muscles.
I am able to climb the 6th floor without getting sweaty, or tired.
Thanks to the regular karate sessions, 90 minutes long 3-5 sessions a week, I have achieved to see my upper arms and my thighs toned as if I am weight lifting. I have managed to wear jeans I hadn’t worn for years. In fact, I have even achieved wearing my primary school jeans! They still do not fit good enough to be worn in public, but are nonetheless wearable and actually feel as tight as second skin.
Even though for the past two months I almost always have at least one blister in my feet, they don’t hurt – they remind me I got them because I try hard.
And I feel more POWERFUL than ever, strong, energized, enthusiastic, happy, satisfied, and eager to continue. In fact, the worst thing about catching a cold or hurting my foot or my knee is not being able to go to my lesson. Who’d say…
What is the final goal?
At first, the goal was to simply lose weight. Period. Then, after you start exercising, you realise it is more about how you feel in your body. Weight loss ceases to be the only goal, so you start enjoying your sessions even more.
However, it is still possible to sum up the entire story into several desired long-term goals, and those are:
- toned body and flat abs;
- higher belts in karate;
- get rid of sweets, industrial sugar and sweets craving after lunch. If I achieve this, I could stop all physical activity and still lose weight just as well, because these artificial sugars are the worst thing we can do to our bodies. I did it once, and it worked magic!