Little Miss… Lose-6-Kilos-in-66-Days?!

Note: The following was meant for publication a week or so ago. Today, a lot of things have changed and I hope one day I can resume my diet and exercise with confidence that I am in control of my health and doing it safely. More about what happened in another post. Maybe.

Yes, you read that right! (Ok I cheated; it’s actually 65 days because I weighed myself yesterday two three days ago, and by the time this post gets published it would be 67 68 days, but I don’t care! I like matching numbers and names and words and whatever else that matches. Whoever is another matter because the mister and I, at first glance, would be a classic case of ‘opposites attract’)

I actually still can’t believe it. Not now, and not then. See, I first weighed myself, in the longest time, on 6 October (see, this number 6 is really magical!) at my first brothers’ rented place after the barbecue part one. Yes, there’s part two because after our official time for using the barbecue facilities downstairs ended, we went upstairs and my sis-in-law said they had an electric grill that they just bought so we could try it out and continue with barbecue part two.

So anyway, while the boys resumed barbecuing, and after eating a bit more, someone brought out the electronic weighing scale (or maybe it was already outside and someone noticed it) so I got on it and got a rude shock when it read 48 kilograms! Now, before some of you say I’m being ridiculous or paranoid or I’m displaying anorexic tendencies, let me just remind you that I stand at a PETITE 1.49 metres (not even 1.5!) so I can’t afford to weigh as much as average-height ladies. Besides I had never been 48 kilograms heavy! That’s 2 kilos away from 50!

I remember once, writing about what I like about myself, or what I’m grateful for (it was during a course entitled ‘The Etiquette of Marriage’ by my beloved Ustazah Maimunah; and yes, a good marriage starts with, among other things, loving yourself and being grateful for what you have FIRST), “my constant weight of 43.5kg”. And that was a little over a year ago! (Or it could be early this year, I can’t remember.) That weigh-in really was a hard knock to my senses; it pushed me to take concrete action.

Some months back in June, after I got back from attending my longtime good friend’s wedding in Malaysia, I noticed how my flabby tummy protruded out to almost as far as my boobs bust did. Although it made me disgusted with the way I’ve been ‘letting myself go’, somehow I managed to just push the repulsive image aside and ignored the problem. However now that I had concrete numbers, I could not ignore it any longer! When I saw the numbers on the screen, I was secretly hoping that the scale was inaccurate or spoilt, but I knew the possibility of it being so was far-fetched! (On hindsight, I should have gone home and weighed myself on the regular bathroom scale just to be sure that both scales were working just fine.)

I guess the numbers could also have been a little skewed because I just ate a lot (duh, it’s a barbecue!), but how much food could one consume and store in the stomach? A kilo? Two kilos? Add to that the fact that it was day one of my period, so some water retention could also have added to my actual weight. Assuming the two factors combined then I am Captain Planet could have contributed maybe 1.5 to 2 kilograms extra to my actual weight, that still leaves me with having lost 4 to 5 kilos in just about 2 months!

Now while that amount of weight may be measly to those who need to lose 20 kilograms, it is a big deal for me, because, well, firstly I’ve never in my life tried to lose weight, and secondly, I don’t think I did that much. Plus, I dropped even lower than that constant weight of 43.5 kilograms; my weighing scale states 42 kilograms! (Well, once upon a time I weighed a constant 40 kilograms but that was, waaaaayyyyyy back in time, more than 10 years ago when I was a teenager.) Plus Plus PLUS, my main concern was specifically with losing fats; not weight in general! And while I did notice that my tummy looks a bit leaner and is certainly no longer protruding like I’m 4 months pregnant (I actually have no idea how the size of one’s tummy correlates to the number of months pregnant; I’m just picking what *I think* is an appropriate figure), there is still tummy – and waist – fat below the skin that can be pinched and can give that multiple ‘two spare tyres’ look when wearing certain clothes and when seated. I want to have a lean AND toned tummy! I want to switch from size M to S (which is my true size I believe) without being self-conscious about my still slightly flabby tummy showing!

And how am I going to do all that when I’m already this light? If I drop further to 40 kilos, I think that’s actually bordering on being underweight. (Conventional health benchmarks would consider being underweight undesirable. Why that is, I don’t know.)

I attended the first session of Dee Dee’s ‘Let’s Lose Weight Together’ programme last Saturday, and she mentioned that in the following four weeks that us participants are trying to lose weight, we should not weigh ourselves every day. Instead, weigh ourselves at the start of the programme, two weeks after, and at the end of the programme (which is why I weighed myself on Monday). This is because there may be fluctuations in our weight, because when we exercise, and especially when we do weight training, we would actually start to build muscles. This increase in muscle mass actually adds a bit of weight to our bodies, but it is essential in weight loss efforts, because with more muscle mass we would be able to burn more calories and fats, which thereafter leads to weight loss. Actually, through my own addictive active reading and random watching of health info shows, I already know this information about ‘gaining muscle mass adds weight but is needed’ and since I wasn’t concerned about losing weight as much as I was about losing FATS, then slight weight fluctuations wouldn’t bother me. But I guess for those with much, much MORE serious weight issues, and those who previously didn’t know this information, weight fluctuations could be discouraging and might make them lose focus, and they might give up altogether.

Thinking about this gaining muscle mass in order to burn more fats, perhaps now it’s time to look at gaining weight in the form of muscle mass?

Coincidentally, I attended my first Body Sculpt session two days ago on Tuesday night. Although I arrived a little late, I managed to follow about 10 minutes of the cardio segment before the instructor started, or resumed, on the weight training segment. The 10 minutes cardio segment that I managed to follow consisted of Bollywood-, Arabian- and Brazilian Zumba-like moves, and I believe that should be consistent throughout the earlier part that I missed. (It might also incorporate kickboxing moves, seeing how the instructor is the same ‘slavedriver’ one who conducts the kickboxing sessions. Serious, there’s hardly any time to just stand idle during her kickboxing sessions. You’d even have to rush through getting a gulp of water from your bottle, because the breaks, due to her going to the iPhone / iTouch speaker dock to change songs, are really short.)

Now, I find the weight training segment really good and focused. I had done previous weight training during Latin Sculpt sessions which are conducted by a different instructor, the same one who does Zumba Fitness, and those simply incorporate weight training into dance moves. To put it simply, while you dance for 15 minutes or so, you lift weights (a choice of 0.5, 1 or 1.5 kilo pair of dumbells) as your hands do the dance movements. Then you resume dancing without weights. The weight training is done differently in this Body Sculpt session. We are usually stationary, but standing in such a way that you build lower body muscle (like thigh squats, kinda like the kuda-kuda position in silat), or bending your legs while standing sideways (like when you’re doing stretching when cooling down after exercise… ok I’m really clueless about proper exercise terms). So while straining your legs to maintain such torturous positions for a good few minutes, you lift your dumbells in various moves. I find this so much more focused, and because the weight-lifting moves are done at a slightly slower pace than when doing it while dancing, there is time for you to really put in the effort and focus your energy on the lifting and moving your arms in the right manner, like extending them in the right direction and extending (straightening) them fully. Plus, with the slightly slower pace, there’s less risk of injury like accidentally twisting your wrists because you’re rushing to get to the next move.

The weight training segment is followed by further muscle building moves (sans weights). What you do is you use your own body to further build (burn?) muscles that you just previously used during both cardio and weight training. For example, you sit in a suspended squatting position (not fully squatting macam nak berak cara dulu, but 3 quarters through), palms on the floor, then while keeping your back aligned straight, you lift your butt slightly (of course you’d have to unbend your legs too in order to lift your butt). Not too high up, but halfway through so your legs are still slightly bent. And your whole body is generally still at a lower than, half your standing upright height. You hold it there for a few seconds, then you go back to squatting. That’s considered your ‘practice’ move. The instructor may make you do one or two more practice moves, to make sure you get your back alignment and movement right, before then repeating it continuously for a set of 10 times, and at a slighly faster pace. I can assure you it’s wonderfully torturous to your thigh muscles and it’s such a relief when she says “Ok you can relax now and sit on your butt”. But that’s only for a few seconds! She’d make you do a second set shortly after! And she’d say things like, “I know it’s torture, but remember, you’re burning calories!”

There are also other muscle building moves like crunches with legs straight on the ground, then bent 90 degrees for ab muscles, and push up-like moves (I thought I heard her say “planking”?) for back muscles. This is then followed by stretching, including the one-arm bent to the back stretching while the other arm holds it there, where I admired the instructor’s hairless and totally same-colour-as-her-arms armpits underarms. Hahaha I know, random right??? One would think I’d admire her body, obiously because she’s a fitness instructor and wouldn’t be flabby (but honestly I prefer feminine curvy voluptuos hourglass-shaped non-flabby bodies to skinny almost-plane-runway bust straight-silhoutte non-flabby bodies, which explains why I didn’t really admire or envy the instructor’s body. And why I’m now a little concerned that I seem to be losing some boob chest fat.) But unpigmented underarms! That’s really hard to achieve!

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