MichHappenings

Weight Loss: I Lost 2 Kilogrammes in 31 Days 🗻

16:15

Going back to real life for a bit after writing 4 blog posts gushing about Melbourne, here's what's been happening in the past month in Malaysia.


Like the title indicates, I lost 2 kilogrammes in 31 days.

😌 To be honest, it's really not so much about the weight loss that makes me happy, but I'll get to that later.

CONTEXT TIME: 

Ever since I started working in Malaysia, which is more than five years ago now, I've gained an average of 1 kilogramme per year  (+5kg y'all). I didn't really notice until:

a) I stopped fitting into some of my own clothes, and 
b) my relatives noticed it for me. 😒

The perils of growing up in a South-East Asian country is that you will definitely have relatives, friends, and even acquaintances and complete strangers who will think it's PERFECTLY fine to fat-shame you... even when you're mostly a size M all your life. 

Thanks for the eating disorder back in my teenage years, guys. I look back on the time I spent starving myself and then forcing myself to puke fondly.

Not.

Anyway. Ever since I started working in my new company last year, I gained even more weight, due to: 

a) coming home after 8PM and then having dinner, 
b) all the snacks my colleagues kept feeding me, and 
c) a lack of exercise.

My relatives REALLY noticed. Oh, they noticed all right, on New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, and all the other family gathering events. 😷 

Here's another Asian custom that may baffle people reading this - they will point out your weight, and then they feed you food that is probably worth 5,000 calories over several courses of dishes, and then they continue pointing out your weight even more next time.

I think it's a conspiracy.

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY:

In the first four months of the year, when I was thinking about not gaining any more weight, I implemented a new rule into my eating habits, which I still obey now.

1) No Eating Between 7PM to 7AM (with exceptions of maybe once a week if I *have* to)

I figured a lot of the weight gain after entering this company was due to me eating dinner at 8 or 9PM, and then throwing myself into bed barely an hour or two later.


Dinners like this, for example.

Rinse and repeat for a few months from Monday to Friday, and boom.

Instant weight gain. Instant VISIBLE weight gain. 

I believe I got distressed when I realised I couldn't comfortably wear some of my favourite clothes anymore, and THEN I got even more distressed when people pointed out I gained weight.

Gee, thanks. I didn't notice at all. 

Determined to at least not gain any more weight, I made it a rule that I will not eat between 7PM to 7AM. 

I wasn't going to starve myself of the food I liked, either. 🍔 🍟🍤 🍗 🍖 🍕

If I wanted to eat, I WOULD eat. I was just going to moderate what I ate - like maybe having something like this for dinner only once every month, perhaps.


I have already used up my June quota. Haha.

In May, I kicked this rule up a notch. 

I now only eat TWO meals a day (breakfast and late tea), and I also  remind myself constantly that I will not eat due to stress.  

In my very own words,

"You can make me angry, but I won't let you make me fat." 


Let's face it, life is life, and it's going to come with stress... mostly in the form of other people. 💅 

That form of stress made me crave for not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious food, like chocolate bars, potato chips, fried chicken, nuggets, French fries...

I still want those food every time someone makes me angry, to be honest. I quite like angrily munching through an entire bag of potato chips when I'm frazzled, and don't have any other form of stress relief at hand. 

Yet, I'm not actually enjoying that pack of potato chips. I'm just using it to process my negative emotions, especially the emotions I cannot say out loud to the person that has made me tremendously annoyed.

Which begets the question: they've already made me angry, do I REALLY want to gain weight thanks to them as well? 

Clearly, the answer is a "NO" for me. 

Nowadays, when I'm stressed out by someone and feel like I want to eat snacks, I ask myself the above question to stop the craving. It usually works, and if it doesn't... I end up continually ranting about it to all of my closest friends until I stop feeling as angry.

 Thanks for being my friends, people who've had to read my long essays for several years already as of now.

1) Drinking More Tea, as I am now on an Alcohol/ Milkshake/ Soda Ban 😭

I have a canister filled with oolong tea leaves, and I LOVE my tea. I consider tea a vital part of my weekends for my relaxing rituals.


Spot the tea.

In the wake of banning myself from having drinks like beer, chocolate milkshake (sigh), and soda (though I have slipped a couple of times, I admit), I've been filling that flavoured drink gap by drinking more tea at least 4-5 days a week, instead of just on the weekend now.

There is a certain pleasure to waking up early, making your own breakfast in silence, and then drinking tea while reading the news of the day.

There is also pleasure in knowing that the cups of tea are delicious, AND do not contain as many calories as the drinks I've banned myself from having at the moment.

This isn't a hard rule to follow, to be honest. I've always put alcohol, milkshakes, and soda as special occasion drinks only, so nowadays I mostly stick to water when I'm out for dinner.

3) Cycling Every Day 🚴🏼‍♀️

Surprisingly enough, I've actually kept this up since May started.

I've heard that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, and 90 days to make it a lifestyle. Well, it's definitely a habit for me to go home and cycle on a stationary bike for half an hour now, before I make preparations to go to bed.

I don't even get hungry or the like on weekday nights anymore. I just shower and go to bed, and wake up the next day for my big breakfast again. 😊

It's funny what you can convince the body to do, once you force yourself to set it into motion. I actually feel like something's missing now when I'm out for dinner with friends, rather than being at home and cycling away my stresses and woes.

I hope this keeps up, because I DEFINITELY think I should exercise more.

4) Go Hiking At Least Once a Week; Yes, I'm Shocked Too


I sent this message to a friend the day after I first went hiking, and this was the message I got back.

Yes folks, I do not strike people as the type to like outdoorsy stuff. After all, I hate running, hate jogging, hate group sports, hate insects, hate mud, and so on.

In fact, I just spent the previous weekend running away from a giant insect (it looked like a wasp) while on a hill peak, proclaiming to all that "I HATE INSECTS".

My hiking buddy, PN, then remarked wryly: "...and yet here you are hiking."

It's true. I've kept up hiking at least once a week since I started a month ago, and this month I've embarked on hiking two days a week now with different groups of hikers (find your own hiking squad, mine's filled 😂).

With each hiking trip, I can feel myself getting stronger, and faster, especially around the legs. When I look down from peaks, I always feel a sense of achievement knowing that I've climbed to the top with my own two legs.

Ah well. I've become one of THOSE people.

Rather than the sense of achievement, though, I think what I enjoy most about hiking is... not thinking about anything else.

All I have to think of in that moment while inside the hill is where to take the next step. I am not plagued by family annoyances, or work worries, or social life irritations. I only think of making my way forward, and breathing in all that fresh air.


I had endured a 20 minute steep climb up to take this picture. Not that you can tell, but it's okay, *I* can tell. 😂

It's soothing to have that kind of detachment from real life (though I do wish it wasn't as muddy), which is hard to get in an urban city like KL. We don't have large beautiful parks we can lounge at all day, or beautiful beaches near the city, or a gorgeous starry night sky to look at due to the light pollution.

I can only wish the hills here were looked after better by my fellow Malaysians, though. I saw plastic bags, food remnants, and the like strewn across the park in this hill, which made me both angry and sad at the same time.

It's also why, when one of my fellow hikers told me that she'd like to bring me to a different hill to "see the waterfall", I replied fairly sardonically: "Why? I don't want to get rat urine disease."

It's almost as if to get clean pristine waters in this country now, I have to shell out huge amounts of money to enter PRIVATE resorts and hotels, where it's in their best interests to keep the natural waters clean.

There is so much to educate the Malaysian public about civic-mindedness, but I fear it is a losing battle.

But I digress.

A NEW LIFESTYLE SCHEDULE:

Doing all four of the above in 31 days was how I lost 2 kilogrammes in 31 days.

Could I have done more to lose more? Sure. Not interested.

Was I interested in doing more? Meh, not really.

I am not interested in clean eating - you do you though, clean eaters. I am not interested in getting super fit, or eating only egg whites, or paleo, or CrossFit, or whatever it is that people are into these days.

I am only highly interested in three things:

1) fitting into my favourite clothes again,
2) stopping my relatives from commenting on my visible weight gain (it's already bad enough that they like to bring up my love life 👺), and
3) Leading a healthier lifestyle, which may or may not result in weight loss.

I do have a specific weight in which I hope to achieve, but I'd say the most important aspect of the new lifestyle changes for me is that I KNOW I am stronger.

At the very least, it pleases me to know that when I'm climbing uphill, I'm no longer desperately breathing for more air, or feeling faint. The hiking route I have slowly conquered in these 31 days is a stepping stone to tougher terrains, and I'm pleased that each week shows me that I have just gotten better and better.

The human body is amazing, but only if you believe that your own human body is amazing, which I do.

Oh, and there's no comparison photo in this post, because ya'll don't need a comparison photo, not now, not when I have even fitter physical capabilities several months down the road.

I hope.

Whatever your decisions about your body and physical capabilities are, I only hope that they are the decisions that make you TRULY happier, as these decisions I made have made me (no force-puking/ starvation/ binge-eating this time!).

You see, it's not really about the weight loss, after all... it's about being stronger, and therefore, happier for me. :) 

Wanderlust: Australia

24,000 Steps in the Melbourne CBD + Aladdin

01:23

What do Melburnians do on a weekend? 🤔

I've heard that it involves delicious brunches, so I duly made my way out the door at 10AM in search of...

BURGERS! 🍔


I had my burger with onion rings, and it was A+ delicious.

Best of all, unlike on my birthday, the weather was mostly sunny and balmy all day long, facilitating a great walk from Carlton to the CBD.

Before I flew to Melbourne, I already had an idea of the kinds of things I wanted to eat. No Asian food, for example. I wanted Western-influenced staples like fish and chips, burgers, fries, and some sprinkling of Italian/ Spanish/ Mexican food.

What I didn't know was where, exactly, I'd find these offerings. When I walked to the city, I had no intention of walking to Betty's Burgers. I simply Googled "Melbourne CBD Burgers", and the first result that came up was Royal Stacks CBD.

So there I was, walking from Carlton to the CBD...


a glimpse of what's to come that night

... and texting my friends, when they said: "I heard Betty's Burgers is pretty good."

I was still determined to go to Royal Stacks CBD, but then... I saw Betty's Burgers just down the road from where I was walking.

OKAY UNIVERSE. I WILL TAKE YOUR SIGN. NEXT TIME THEN, ROYAL STACKS. ✌️

When I walked into Betty's Burgers, it was merely 11AM in the morning, and the restaurant was 75% empty. Just as I was about to sit down after getting my order of Betty's Classic, Onion Rings (BEER FRIED BATTERED ONION RINGS PEOPLE) and Garlic Mayo, the couple at the "window" bar left... so I quickly took over their seats.

I mean... just look at this lunch view. Certainly better than the sad desk lunches I've been having lately. 😭


Just sitting down and watching Melbourne pass by was a leisurely joy in itself. I ate my meal slowly, watching trams 🚊, people, cars, and buses go by, while also catching up on my social media.

It's the kind of small moments I live for, where everything seems to conspire to bring me joy. I watched a great musical the night before, the whole day stretched ahead of me with nothing urgent for me to attend to, the sun was shining, I felt neither too hot nor too cold, I had a delicious burger and onion rings to consume, and there was YET another musical to look forward to that night...

At that moment, I truly felt at peace, and I'm glad to say those moments came often during my trip in Melbourne (and only manifest mildly during the weekends now that I'm back in Malaysia, but oh well, real life and all that jazz).

This, I thought to myself, is what I go on holidays for.

Perhaps I've gone soft, or perhaps I've never really had grand ambitions in the first place. Yet, I'm glad that just eating a burger and having a quiet moment to myself while watching the world pass by is something that brings me great joy. Fine dining is great and all, but I firmly believe mundane moments SHOULD bring equally as much joy and peace, if not more.

(Actually, probably more; fine dining makes me slightly anxious)

If this makes me a mediocre person, so be it.


Here is the face of a person who is at ease with her current surroundings. It also helps that a cute guy pulled up to sit two seats away, AND smiled at me. 😂😂😂

^the real reason Mich is at ease and peace. 😂😂😂

Ahem.

Anyway.

It was past 12PM when I realised there was an actual QUEUE to get into Betty's Burgers, so I got up and left to make way for them. #considerate

I then spent the rest of my day getting lost... somewhat on purpose. I simply walked around the CBD, looking at Melbourne city life.

I saw a guy in a sharply-ironed suit, carrying a bouquet of flowers, and wondered who the lucky lady was.

I saw the homeless sitting or sleeping on cast-aside mattresses or piles of clothes, with signboards that said "don't judge us".

I walked past a gym, and saw muscular men in black walking out the doorway.

I walked along the side of the Yarra river, and a man selling ice-cream smiled at me.

I loved just meandering without a purpose, without feeling like I NEEDED to have a purpose. This is the Melbourne life I came to see, not to rush through in an attempt to find the next attraction.

I did, however, walk all the way to the Royal Botanical Gardens (I burned off that burger good), before I plopped down on a bench. The sky then alternated between raining slightly and then shining brightly again, proving that Melbourne weather changes its mind more than I do.


Look at those clouds of "MAKE UP YOUR MIND WHAT WEATHER YOU WANT TO BE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS AT LEAST, MELBOURNE". I found the Shrine of Remembrance, which was slightly packed with tourists at the front, but then I went round the back and found this.


Shade, silence, and a GORGEOUS view to look upon as I pondered about life (and my aching legs).

Barely anyone went to the back of the shrine, which was a PRETTY GREAT THING. I think I sat there for half an hour before I reluctantly decided it was time to walk back to Carlton.

Yes, I was still up for walking MORE at this point in time.



On my way back, I found La Trobe's Cottage, which was first built in 1839. It's the home of Victoria's first governor, Charles Joseph La Trobe. It's basically a glimpse of what the houses of the rich were like back in the mid-19th century.

I certainly wouldn't mind having a cottage and white picket fencing like this for a home. I have a feeling a home like this will get broken into very quickly in this century, however.

I also found a bunch of these birds (clearly I have no idea what they are) just feeding off the ground, not even bothering to move away as I got closer to take this shot.

Ah, Melbourne. Have I mentioned I love you already? BECAUSE I DO.

I gave up on the walking by the time I reached Federation Square, and took the tram back to Carlton, though. 😂

***

I went off to watch Aladdin afterwards, this time with friends who are also Disney aficionados!

As luck would have it, Aladdin started playing in Melbourne on 15th April, and I was there to catch it exactly one week later. 😊


My colleague told me that I looked tiny in this photo.

Me: "I'm tiny everywhere in Australia."
#bringmeback #nobodycallsmefatinAustralia

To be honest... if I had to compare between both the musicals I watched, I actually preferred The Book of Mormon 😅, ESPECIALLY in terms of value-for-money. Aladdin cost me a whopping RM160 more, which is A LOT in Malaysia.

This is not to say Aladdin was bad - I actually liked it, especially the genie (who certainly enjoyed hamming it up on stage).

It didn't immediately grab me from the start, though, the way The Book of Mormon did as soon as the first song ("Hello!") started. It did gradually grew on me, which I was thankful for, since I DID spend RM729.00 on the entire musical. 😂

If you asked me which one I'd rather have a second viewing of, though, it'd be.... The Book of Mormon (once again, The Book of Mormon is not suitable for sensitive people/ children).

There were lots to like about Aladdin, like the props and sets on stage (the Cave of Wonders scene, for one), the shiny costumes, the elaborate dance performances (especially during "Friend Like Me"), and the side characters of Genie,  Kassim, Babkak, Omar, Jafar, and Iago.

The story, however, felt rushed at times. I could not feel the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine (there was probably more chemistry between Aladdin and Genie), and I was left feeling baffled by how certain scenes felt rushed. It felt glitzy and glamourous, but I suppose I was looking for a little more... heart.

Michael James Scott as Genie was quite the show-stopper, though! I felt like we should have renamed Aladdin to Genie instead. 😂

Not sure when I'll get to watch my next musical, considering large-scale musicals don't really come here (and public transport isn't exactly ~accessible~ in KL), but I'm happy to have had the opportunity to watch TWO in Melbourne this year. I mean, that's two more than usual. 🤐

***

At the end of the day, I checked my Health app, and it turns out I walked 23,846 steps / a total of 16.1km on my "Meandering in Melbourne" day.

I guess that's pretty magical. Exactly one month later on the same date, I've walked... 2,664 steps. 😂

What I'd do for a magic carpet ride to my next holiday destination now. 😅 Still, there's still plenty more posts to write about Melbourne, so I suppose I can still pretend that I'm there (my soul is basically still there, anyway). Stay tuned for the next one, and thank you for reading! 😂