How I lost 12kg of weight in one year in the UK

How I lost 12kg of weight in one year in the UK

This is the story of how I lost 12+kg of weight in one year in the U.K.

Ok this seems like a weird subject for me to write about, as I’m not the type of person to focus on this subject (not publicly at least) at all. But I can’t remember when it was, I must have been meditating or something, I got the idea that this would be be a fun post for me to write1. Like most girls, I have gone through so much with trying to lose weight to very little avail, and felt so frustrated about how to change it. Eventually, I sort of gave up thanks to the pandemic putting me into the 70’s with the kilos2, and things actually changed a lot from there.

Here’s what worked and what didn’t work for me in my experience, and just to note I’m certainly a few kilos heavier again (because who can keep up that post-breakup-complete-lack-of-appetite when they live in the US where the snacks and food are so deliciously tempting?). But I did learn a lot, and here’s what I’m taking away from the 12+ kilo swing. It is also kind of a record of my journey through living in the U.K., the various events that happened to influence what was going on with my weight.

2019

3 October 2019

In September, I got this idea that now that I was working in a stable job that wasn’t so stressful, I should sign up for a gym and go work on creating my best body. I did this in November, signing up for an awesome gym in Stoke Newington for 6 months up front, and began a journey of figuring out how I should best go about this. I was around 66kg at the time, and I was thinking I should aim to get to 56kg – a massive decrease, but I was thinking over 6 months time, so it wasn’t actually that bad. Of course I never hit that weight (and still never did at my lowest), but I did learn a lot about “how people are doing it.” Here were some of what I learned, completely from just tackling the problems from first principles and researching.

Calorie Counting

I would weigh, count, and track everything in my app

I first started off with the theory of calorie counting. Growing up, I watched people try this and I was convinced it was a complete scam. It seemed silly to count calories to change your weight as you could eat sweets or drink lard, but if you stayed within the calorie limit, you wouldn’t gain weight? Sounds like a scam!

Here’s my verdict on it – it works, but only in principle (as in, reality is seriously way too complicated to follow if you are a normal person). It basically says the only way to lose weight is eating a caloric deficit – that you consume less calories than your body burns. Your body burns a number of calories a day – for me it was something like 1400 calories, so I had to aim to eat under that amount, et voila, I will lose weight. I got an app – I can’t remember which one it was, but I liked it more than myFitnessPal. It is probably a UK specific iOS app, but anyways, it serves the same function as the myFitnessPal app where it has a log of many different foods and the nutritional content and calories for each food. All you do is log the items (and sometimes there’s barcode scanning, which is really convenient) and they’ll tell you how many calories you have left to consume in a day to reach your weight goals.

This started out alright, but two weeks in, I went to a party where someone brought salt and vinegar potato snack mix. And I remember that I have never gorged on those things like I gorged on those ones that day. This wasn’t the only time something like this happened; sometimes it was going to Nando’s with the guys and refusing to watch Peri-Peri chips go to waste.

15 October 2019, before going to Barcelona

And then I would try to pick myself up from that – it was one bad day, I’ll make it up tomorrow to follow my program. Sorry, nope – it just kept getting worse and worse each day. And come mid October (about a month into it), I went to Barcelona for a work trip. Barcelona. No chance I could stick to my calorie tracker at all with Spanish tapas everywhere (and paid for by my company). On top of that, it was getting manic to log every ingredient in a paella and the quantity of that ingredient in an app before every time I opened my mouth. It is really cumbersome, and I realized this is not what I want to do, and I am not able to stick to this 1400 calories a day easily.

The upside of this experiment was that I learned about calories in general – I still pay attention to them sometimes, but definitely not in a way where I’m tracking them. It’s good to note that 1 tbsp of olive oil actually has more calories than a See’s candy – I mean of course there’s still nutritional content to consider obviously, but if you consume 5 tbsp of olive oil (which a lot of people do while eating a salad, or from cooking), that’s almost as many calories as eating 7 Scotchmallows! Just to keep things in perspective.

Overall though, no, I did not lose weight from this method at all. I mean, I did a little, then 2 weeks later I went to Barcelona, so no, not really.

Gym and weightlifting

The day after I got back from Barcelona, I signed up for the gym, and began lifting weights. I love lifting weights to this day! I never knew I could feel so worked out from just lifting things – what a concept! I had always done sports (badminton) or my own at home exercises – weights were a completely revolutionary experience for me. I got better sleep from it too, and I realized this is why everyone has the gym fever! I still LOVE lifting weights to this day; I always thought it seemed so boring until I did it myself and experienced the benefits.

The first day after lifting at the gym, I cooked lentils, bok choy, and an egg. I wolfed it down in less than 2 minutes and I felt completely hungry and empty. I was surprised. I wasn’t going to keep within a calorie limit like this (and to this day, I do believe I eat more than I burn in a work out if I do work out). I contacted my friend Vivian Dawson (IG @copyninja) who is a PT/physio major and wrote to him about what happened – he then advised me to load up on the protein, which started my next discovery.

Protein ratio packing

Precision meant everything

I seemed to have been the last person to discover the whole Keto diet and protein thing. I saw pictures of keto once at an AppWorks event in Taipei, and thought it was just some bougie whole foods way to feed your dog actually – I didn’t know it was for humans.

The underlying concept is to eat mainly protein, especially if you are lifting weights. The reason for this is your body needs to rebuild the muscle, and it will need to use protein to do that. Protein also keeps you satiated longer – although, this I debate. I feel full, but I still want crisps and candy bars to be honest (which during this period I stayed away from as much as possible).

I started buying a lot of Greek yogurt. I also started calories counting with protein (I suppose they call it “counting macros”) – I calculated the calories per grams of protein for many foods to see if they would be worth it. Canned tuna is the highest I’ve seen if I recall correctly (I don’t really think about this stuff much anymore), and I found out that a lot of this plant-based protein is actually comparatively really low in grams of protein per calories.

While looking for a decent protein powder online, I discovered MyProtein – my gosh, I LOVED this site! I bought these whack “Lean Cookies,” which then started getting me into the protein bars scene! They’re all pretty whack, so I called them my whack cookies. My favorite one is probably Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie bar, or the One chocolate chip cookie bar. I loved RX bar as well, although that was introduced to me much earlier by my former COO, Alison, while ordering snacks for the office in Seattle. I used to eat Kind bars for protein, until I realized they are not high in grams of protein per calorie compared to these whack cookies. I was also incredibly into Pulsin mint chocolate protein bars. I ordered entire boxes of that from Holland & Barrett (even though I do not like that shop at all, they had the best deal for Pulsin bars). I also ordered Jason Vale’s Juice In a Bar a few times (both flavors) and I really love those too! Protein bars are fine and actually usually great nutritionally, they’re just very, very expensive and it can add up really quickly.

I recall that the Diet Protein powder from MyProtein was probably the winner in terms of grams of protein per calories, but I had that bag around for two years and I never finished it. Honestly, either it is so disgusting or I wasn’t doing something right – either way, it was not edible in my opinion. I also tried their protein pancake mix in Nougat flavor – it was not bad, I would recommend it.

The other big protein winner is chicken breast. I cooked that with just some salt and oil, and the whole office would smell like a delicious juicy hot dog stand and the boys would file in the kitchen asking what I was making and I’d be feeding a bunch of chicken breast to boys in the office. Chicken breast cooked like that is juicy and delicious.

Eggs turned out to not be the that high in grams of protein per calorie to my surprise. Also, people talking about cheese and quinoa being great sources of protein – the low fat cheeses are about double the calories for equivalent grams of protein to tuna or Greek yogurt, and the quinoa is almost six times the calories (as you can probably tell, I calculated a lot in this process).

So the verdict on combining weightlifting with protein packing – well, to be honest, I didn’t see a difference in my weight. I did see abs forming though, which was pretty exciting, and I would attribute this to consuming a minimum of 120g of protein per day. On the weight aspect, the day before I left for Barcelona, I was 62.8kg, and that was probably my lowest. I kind of got stuck after Barcelona and the food controlling really drove me crazy after that. I remember I was still going to the gym as I wanted to make good use of the money I had spent on expensive gym membership, up until the pandemic basically.

Mentality

Another aspect I noticed was that work stress really made me stress-eat, and I believe I developed an addiction to food from this stress (plus the pandemic). I suppose in work, there’s always a bit of pressure because we’re being paid to do a job at the end of the day, and whenever I sense disapproval, I would feel better if I shoved a Mars bar in my mouth and probably another KitKat bar along with it.

It’s really challenging even as I think back on it today. Hopefully I learn to have more stability and power in my position in the future, but I can’t predict it really and at most I have been aware of it and that’s it.

Also, as I look back and reflect on this period, I feel like this is so “2019 thinking.” It was just about me and what I wanted to achieve, and I think we all just forgot about each other. I hope with the pandemic we realize we are all in together on everything, and we don’t take too much longer to figure that out3.

2020

PANDEMIC IN LONDON and I hit the 70’s with my weight. I had never been this heavy in my life. At my heaviest I was 68kg in 2012, where I drank way too much alcohol every other week at least. I remember the day I stepped on the scales and when I saw the number surpassing 70 (I think it was in June or May), I told myself I’m not stepping on the scale again for a long time.

It really shocked me, as I thought, well what am I supposed to do, starve myself? I gained 7 kilos in 2-3 months during lockdown, and now what was I going to do? It’s not like I could just skip to the place where I’m back at my more standard weight, or work out and keep running until the weight was all gone. What scared me more was now, what if I was looking at always rocking between 70-80kg? I was shocked and anxious, largely because I really just never in my life reached that weight before, so I felt like I became a person I had never been before.

I went running every day early lockdown, but in April the allergies got to me and it was no longer feasible for me to even go outside. I tried to work out in my little studio doing some Pilates, but to be honest, I was so depressed about the situation with Covid that I couldn’t really keep it up. 

I remember the day I just couldn’t handle it anymore – I was so stressed out with the situation that I HAD TO EAT COOKIES. I remember another day when the U.K. hit 800 cases (before lockdown) – I went crying in the meeting room after lots of jokes about the pandemic being a flake while we were at Nando’s. I texted my manager saying I would really like to shut down the office as soon as we can because it’s worrying me so much.

Anyways the point is, this stress from the pandemic had always gotten to me. One day I ate eight cookies – straight up cookies from Sainsbury’s, not my whack cookies – and it all just went downhill from there with my weight loss, fitness, everything. At the best when I was doing all the fitness ideas, I did see 62.7kg, so basically around 63kg, and now I was on the road straight to 70+.

I know it doesn’t look like it’s that different, but I was really in the 70’s here. I think because I’m tall it’s not that obvious and I’m also trying to do my best pose..!

At one point in all of this, I also thought to myself, this is just what happens in your 30’s, and you know what, you will never see the 5 in the tens place on the scale ever again – that is all there is to it. The idea that I could get back to eve 63kg I just completely wrote off as “seriously, never going to happen ever again in my life.” It was genuinely a disappointing time in my life.

I was seriously so depressed during Covid, and with gaining weight I could not control, I didn’t want to take many pictures at the time. All my photos were something like this

Fasting

I love the LIFE app!

Late in June, I discovered Intermittent Fasting (IF), and this became another huge journey.

To be fair, my lovely friend Cathy (IG @nurschao) already told me about IF before in 2019, but I thought it was a little extreme and more for people who really wanted to lose a lot of weight fast. Even though Cathy told me it was healthy (and she’s a registered nurse), I saw too much about it that seemed really fad-like, so I was really skeptical. Having always thought breakfast was supposed to be the most important meal of the day as well, it didn’t really appeal to me.

It was a podcast done with Jason Fung and Mikhaila Peterson that really got me to understand the idea better, although at the time being 71-72kg, I was still mainly motivated by the idea of losing weight (maybe not to 63kg but at least to 68kg, or not to continue going over). However, the idea that your digestive system does well with a break also appealed to me, and I at least wanted to see if it was true.

I started doing fasting cycles with the LIFE app (which I love!), first with 18 hours, and the longest record I did was 44 hours. I came to really love fasting. The first time I did it, I stopped eating at 4PM, and wasn’t going to eat until breakfast the next day. I remember going to bed with my stomach growling, like “why are you not eating, I am so hungry,” but I woke up feeling completely clear and energised – it was like how I felt when I did juice cleanses from 2012-2015 in the US!

This experience also intrigued me. I had started hearing a lot of contradictory information about juicing (which I was super into from 2012), how people kept saying it contains a lot of sugar and it’s not good to have that much sugar, even if it’s in the form of fructose. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the criticism, because I believed it really helped me get healthy, but at the same time, it also never cleared up my skin, which was the main reason why I got into it. But I stuck with my verdict about juicing because I did feel the “juice high” benefits, where your body just feels super clear after day 3 of only having juice.

Suddenly, from my first cycle of fasting, I realized that the “juice high” is probably more likely that it is from the very little amount of calories being consumed rather than the juice doing some wonders!

I still always have a juicer and I make juices now and then (mainly ginger+lemon+apple shots!), but since it’s really expensive to do a juice cleanse, I realized fasting is a great alternative – it’s cheap because well, you basically just drink water and eat sea salt4.

Also part of my fasting routine was ending a fast with dates and nuts/seeds – like they do during Ramadan – and starting the fast after having a cup of beef bone broth. I really, really loved this routine, and the best fasting cycle for me was 20 hours of fasting paired with 4 hours of eating. Fasting was great for me compared to calorie counting because was not restrictive, I ate whatever I wanted, I counted no calories or macros, and my body was feeling good when I did not eat. I tried not to use the scales (after that 70+ kilo scare), but I did bring it down to 67kg in a matter of a few weeks of fasting, which was really encouraging, given that I thought +10kg would be my “new normal” weight.

Why I stopped fasting

I got sick. It was not Covid, but I got pretty sick and had to eat a lot again basically. I remember I was pretty sad to end my fasting cycles in late September after almost four months of fun, but I realized after four months, my immune system was taking a hit because I was not supplying it with food. No food = no vitamins and minerals. I think after four months, I just became kind of weak. I also did not exercise at all during this period.

I had some results with fasting, but it wasn’t sustainable for me.

Lessons?

I didn’t log what my weight was during this period, but I do recall my flatmate Nicolas and I talking about how we were about the same weight (though somehow he looked way slimmer than I did and we were the same height), so I reckon I was 69kg after starting to eat again. We had fun though – Nicolas and I – and I started enjoying food again, because we lived next to Shoreditch. After a day of all calls from remote working during the pandemic, we’d grab fish and chips or go to Brick Lane for salt beef beigels.

So yes, another large fail, and after a whole year of attempts and learning about weight loss, I went from 66kg to 69kg, along the way passing 63kg and reaching 71kg or 72kg. At this point, I really just gave up – I feel like I tried everything I could and nothing was working so I just accepted this was going to be my weight (I even called my sister and talked about how I suppose this is my pre-pregnancy weight). I just hoped for the best in accepting my weight being whatever it was going to be.

2021

23 March 2021, things changed fast!

This was the interesting year, because by the end of 2021, I didn’t reach 56kg, but I did hit 58kg, so I basically lost almost 14kg from the highest to the lowest weight (such fluctuation!). I’m currently heavier than that, but I don’t have a scale to be sure. Either way I’m sure I’m currently not 71kg.

I started off the year at a good 69kg. In February, I was 65kg, and before going to Bulgaria in July, I was 63kg. The months following from returning to London from Bulgaria, I was around 62 or 61kg. From then on, I was not scared to look at the scale anymore. While it sounds like I was just dropping a few kilos here and there, I realized at one point that 61kg was 10-11kg lighter than my heaviest during the pandemic! I’ll get to the rest of the story after I recount my theories on how this happened.

Both from June 2021 – I realized I wore the same workout outfit as a year ago in the June 2020 photo, so wanted to do a comparison photo! Huge changes from a year ago.

So what was the secret weight loss key?? – was it the protein, the workouts, or the fasting? Well I definitely stopped fasting, and I also stopped spending money on tasty whack bars. But I think the main key was that I was in a relationship I wanted to be in. This affected a few things, but I recall seeing that by February I was already down to 65kg, which surprised me, as I was actually doing nothing in terms of weight loss (although I did get Covid that month).

I have a couple theories that I am pretty sure were involved in this process, which I’ll lay out here.

Eating whatever I wanted absolutely at all, whenever, anytime, in any quantity

My ex ate a lot of Pringles and Doritos; I don’t think I even touched one since I was a kid in the US? Seriously, if you told my ex ex (goodness, too many) that I ate Pringles, he would say that can’t be Catt. But when we started our relationship, despite being 69kg, I just went for all of it – Pringles, Doritos, Popcorn, Tesco Cupcakes, Cadbury bars, Cadbury mini rolls, Lindt chocolates, Bulgarian chocolate Borovetz wafers, Bulgarian banitsa, cheesy ham toasties, crispy bacon burgers, pizzas, baklava, cakes – you name some high calorie food, I ate it.

We made and ate these buttery cheese toasties often

I seriously don’t even remember what was in the huge bags from Tesco I’d haul almost daily back to his place piled with plain JUNK SNACKS. I just recall grabbing a lot of candy bars and many different crisps, all flavors from Tesco and Iceland, whatever was on promotion especially. I’ve always had a thing for cookies and chocolate, and when I can’t control myself, I’d have that occasional bar like Snickers. But here, I really went all in with all kinds of junk food. I expected to gain weight from this, but it didn’t happen.

I think the key was that I never tried to stop myself or restrict myself, so it didn’t really control me. I think when I did all the calorie counting or even the timing for fasting, I gave this kind of power to the food where it was controlling me. Once I gave that up I was free to do whatever I wanted and somehow it just didn’t control me. I did not eat salt and vinegar potato crispy mix like I would never have it ever again, so I just didn’t overeat.

Cooking food 

When I am single, I look for food to eat, cook it (or not), and then I eat it. I also have to buy food based on proportion because grocery shopping is not conducive to being a single person, so I’m really optimising for convenience and price, and just necessity.

When I am in a relationship however, food is a completely different animal – I’m incredibly deliberate about it. I plan ahead on what I will cook, I buy ingredients, plan on cooking it, cook it, and I spend a lot of my energy thinking of what I’d like to create and make for dinner5

I cook food

There is something about this process, I don’t know how it happens, but it makes me very not hungry. It didn’t matter whether or not the food was delicious, I just would not feel an urge to eat it. Maybe I was too tired?

I noticed this pattern when I worked as a bartender in Taipei – I used to love cocktails, but once I started making them myself, they completely lost their appeal. We also had desserts like decadent waffles with ice cream – sometimes we would make them ourselves, and it always lost its luster and we quickly stopped craving them.

My hypothesis (from all the 2019 studying) is that combined with the satisfaction from junk food, I just overall consume much less calories because I don’t crave it. 

I love making the classic English breakfast!

Too busy

This is my theory on overall why being in a relationship helped me lose weight – I was really stacked out compared to how I was before. Every day I was thinking of when I would get groceries for dinner (and the different prices at different Tesco shops, and what was on Clubcard sale, etc.) while handling my full-time job. I would also upkeep a lot of the house, so it was a really busy experience for me, I barely had time to even think about food or feel hungry. I remember feeling stacked out end-to-end as I rushed to visit the gym, clean things up the night before, go to work, juggle lots of tasks at work, go to Tesco, cook and make sandwiches before 7PM.

Even reading that right now makes me forget that I need to eat. It’s a pretty solid weight-loss strategy.

Other theories I’m less sure influenced things from 2021

Working out?

I worked out from late April consistently until July before going to Bulgaria. I worked out about 30 minutes a day in the mornings, but I did very little to be honest. I think during this period I never really saw much of a drop – potentially 2kg, which I suppose is a lot, but not really given that I went five days a week for three months. 

Sleeping schedule?

My ex had to get to work at 5am so we would go to bed at around 10pm. I don’t recall ever going to bed later than 11pm on normal days. They say this affects weight loss, so it could be this? Maybe my sleep schedule was so good that it made me want to eat less.

Being in love?

This theory I’m unsure about because I also felt a lot of stress during the relationship, and usually when I’m stressed, I eat a lot. But I can’t really explain why I ate and drank so much during this relationship and I still lost weight. I have no clue honestly if this affects weight loss. I would say no just because my pattern is to stress eat. It potentially could have been the anxiety that made me less interested in eating.

I suppose it is as satisfying as eating a Mars bar to see someone you love come home every day, so there could be something to that.

Balkan food?

It is quite protein focused, but I was also not cooking Balkan food all the time or anything like that. And plus, there are many dishes that have a lot of fat and carbs as well.

I will say for some reason the food did not make me gain weight in Bulgaria I think because it was either meat or salad. I remember eating until I was about to explode too – but maybe it was mostly salad? I really cannot guess on this. I have theories that potentially organs and just things like meat are just…quite filling? We ate a lot of ice cream and drank a lot of alcohol too so it kind of doesn’t make sense.

Alcohol?

I don’t know, maybe alcohol is another one? In the past it made me gain a lot of weight so this doesn’t make sense, but there was a time where I consumed a bottle of spumante during lockdown, and I realized I didn’t feel like eating food because I was on a bit of a happy buzz with the alcohol.

Still I think alcohol usually makes people gain weight and I would have a lot of beer too, and I don’t think Rakiya has little calories.

Covid?

In February, I got Covid and spent 9 days with a fever. One of those days I couldn’t eat anything at all6, and most other days I ate very little. I presume this doesn’t make much of a difference just because it was 2 weeks of eating very little – if anything I would pile it all back on afterwards. You can see in the photos how the weight mostly came back after Covid.

Slight return of weight, so whatever Covid did, I undid

Matcha green tea? 

I added boba often too so maybe it was more calories than I’m remembering

This is an interesting one because while I was going from around 62kg to 59kg (which is always much harder as you get closer to having less to lose), my friend (or my ex’s friend) Veronika gave me two cans of matcha green tea powder. If you know the London Catt, I never spend on anything unnecessary and matcha is pretty expensive and definitely not necessary.

But I love matcha, and I thought I might get diarrhoea, because I had 5-6 matcha green tea lattes with Tesco brand soy milk every single day. I do feel like this could potentially be one of the larger contributing factors because a matcha latte was probably around 90 calories total – and I would probably usually have a candy bar or a Nature Valley bar (I’m so addicted to those, the Protein Salted Caramel Nut) instead, which would be between 200-300 calories. I easily had 6 of those throughout a typical work day. So I basically cut those calories by 30-50%.

But I will say, I am madly and passionately in love with matcha green tea, so it was feeling like I had the best dessert ever, five times a day (could be that being in love theory back in swing). When I lived in Italy, it was the first time I discovered that some people wouldn’t like it! I think it does aide in weight loss. In fact, I’m going to make one on my next pomodoro break, as I’m craving it already.

Trajectory

So back to my story of where the weight loss ended up in 2021 – when we got back from Bulgaria I was around 61kg – totaling 10kg difference from exactly a year ago. I don’t care how long these timeframes are or aren’t – that is a lot of weight. I looked really different too.

It was then that I started thinking okay, WOW, this is great, but you know what? I literally have done nothing.

I really did nothing. I did not track calories, did not do extensive fasts, did not bar myself from eating certain foods – in fact, I ate everything (except onions, I don’t eat onions). I did not eat a single whack protein cookie in 2021, I went to the gym but almost just lifting fun weights (I was mostly exercising to just have some exercise basically).

July in Bulgaria 🙂

After we came back from Bulgaria, the gym habit faded out. As I mentioned, in this period I also started to have a lot of matcha green tea, and that was when I really went from around 61kg to 59kg.

I was honestly SO shocked to see the “5” in the tens place of my weight again. I really was convinced when I hit the 70s that I would never, ever in my life see it again. At the lowest, I saw 58.1kg. I looked and felt incredibly different than my lockdown high.

Sangria de Cava and tapas in Sitges

After the relationship was over, I was thinking I would gain all the weight back, because it was a change in expression. Also, guess what, I went to Barcelona again. Yup, Barcelona. We ate a lot. My friend Lucy-Jane and I ran around eating and drinking. We drank a lot of sangria de cava (best breakup drink ever). We had tapas with bread. I made large breakfasts of eggs, tomatoes, fruit, salami/chorizo cuts, smoked salmon, anchovies, yogurts, nuts, biscuits, and toast. We ate a lot at IKEA. I suggested gelato and I bought croissants with our coffees.

15 Oct 2021 (left) 20 Oct 2021 (right)
This is probably the peak of what I can do without trying. It’s funny guys kept commenting on some post breakup glow, but I think it was just not eating. I was crying a lot so they clearly were only looking at my “level of fitness” (facepalm)

But lo and behold, I came back to London and still logged in between 58kg and 59kg. I seriously could not believe it. I still kept in mind that I was going through a breakup, so that probably affected my appetite, but I genuinely ate a lot in Barcelona.

Yup that was all in my belly. Half this food is from my neighbor

After Barcelona, I met up with a lot of cool people who took me in for food while I was grieving. It was really nice, all I did was eat – from bolognese pasta, chocolate lava cakes, falafel pitas, basque burnt cheesecakes, biryani, panna cottas with my neighbor, to full blown at home every kind of meat hot pot with my Asian crew (not to mention the delicious rabbit candy levain cookies from IG @ikigai.thebakery), to octopus salads and grilled seafood with my Italians, and all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ at Preto with my darling Talita. The last time I was on that scale before I said bye to everything in late November, I weighed 60.1kg.

Final selfies at my lowest weight – I literally cannot believe it mostly happened after 2 years of researching and trying so hard getting no where, that doing nothing would be the solution

Many guys in this period would comment, wow, you look great – have you been going to the gym? And I would just reply no, because I didn’t do any exercise literally at all. I said it’s probably just the breakup 😉

What’s next?

Nowadays, I’m probably around 62kg again – everyone fed me so much, and I have gone through a lot of stress, and regained my appetite completely as I continue to heal from the relationship.

But you know what I learned through these two years of experimentation? What my final takeaway is around weight loss, after all the research and experimentation? It’s completely out of our control.

It really sucks, because people do view you differently because of your weight, and psychologically – as you can probably tell with this post – it is definitely a roller coaster. It does not feel good when all the jeans we used to have don’t fit. We want to look and feel our best, so for me it’s been a challenging concept as well, but from this two year experience going from 66kg to 71kg to 58kg – I really just want to emphasize, it really is not my doing.

The point of everything is that there are weight loss theories, and I’m sure that when I lost weight, I inadvertently followed them – but it was completely inadvertent/unintended.

When we see influencers and other fitness models counting their macros or purporting weight loss theories, we have to remind ourselves that this is their full time job7 – just as we would do our best to perform well in our full time jobs, this is the kind of approach they take to staying within a calorie restriction, not the way regular civilians with other priorities approach it.

I have come to accept that my body will change based on the circumstances that demand it in order to survive – like during the pandemic, maybe the extra chocolate chip cookie was helping me to deal with the stress I felt. But on vacation, I might feel really satiated mentally already and I don’t feel a need to have an extra…well I remember eating an extra everything, so I don’t know what to fill that blank with.

Anyways, the point is to set up the circumstances in your life to be conducive to the kind of body you feel best in, without being forceful. Different periods of life will call for different expressions of who we are and what we look like physically. I hope that what I learned was enjoyable and instructional for people to read about. I’m done trying to control my weight; I just hope I stay healthy and at the body expression that fits my situation at the moment in the best way! Maybe as I start dating again, I will reach that 56kg ;).

Catt xx

A post script just for fun

I suppose the reason why I felt guided to write this blogpost was not about the weight or anything like that (because it’s going to change), but to reflect back on my journey in London when I did create the time and space for doing a little more of what I wanted. I suppose this was the recurring motif that could touch and connect everything from getting my first proper job in London to having a relationship I really wanted to be in, to the post relationship travel and moving. It’s been an incredibly emotional journey for me to go through – not the weight loss but the entire experience (just as easily it could have been a weight gain over 2 years haha).

While searching for selfies that showed some of my figure to illustrate this post, I found these photos taken on the same day, two years apart. It’s impressive how our phones have improved in camera quality, but more than that, the different energy I developed over two years. That is the real transformation. I remember both moments like they were yesterday, and to just pause think, what will the next two years bring? xx

15 October 2019 in London, and 15 October 2020 in Barcelona

Footnotes

1It’s basically for my own entertainment to write this, because usually, I would be too concerned about branding myself as this or that kind of person and all this other stuff, or making sure that I don’t speak on hot button topics. But hey, I pay to keep this blog running and I did learn a lot in this process, so I will post whatever I want for now – whatever makes me interested to write, as I haven’t written in ages (a bit of some self-expression therapy here). I also tend to be really, really private about weight overall, so this is the first time I’ve revealed my inner thinkings on everything regarding weight loss, which is very much a hot button topic. I really had a lot of fun writing this post so I hope it’s good for others too. Nothing here is meant to be taken seriously or as medical advice, etc. just sharing my experience!

2I know some people will think I didn’t look that different, and that many girls would find it an accomplishment to make it to my highest weight, so I’m really not trying to make any judgments by including figures or sizes here – they’re just benchmarks, and also, I literally could not fit in any of my jeans from 2019. That’s not a great feeling no matter what size you are. It’s from that perspective that I’m writing this.

3That or we will just delay the normalcy…I mean hey, World War I was about four years, and World War II was six years so…I don’t imagine we are living in that different of times, and there is a lesson that is similar in this story, until we realize we’re all in this together and we collectively are the solution, we won’t really solve anything

4This was also when I started buying Maldon sea salt, because if that’s all you can eat, you might as well go big

5Before people freak out about me cooking all the time – no it is not the man who made me do it, I genuinely like to cook for my partner. It’s an act of creative expression for me – I like to think about my partner and his likes/dislikes, and what would be helpful for his work, and I expect to cook in a relationship because I enjoy it. I did this for my previous partner too, who was obsessed with burgers. I don’t think I can make a good burger anymore, but I do remember one time I made theses delicious sesame topped fresh burger buns from scratch, and put them in this keeps-bread-fresh bag (some Italian invention I suppose), and the buns were so fresh, the next day they grew into mold colonies.

6I woke up with that beautiful fasting feeling! I totally miss it and would so love to feel that again, but I’m worried that I would be more susceptible to getting sick if I fast too liberally. It’s not a good time for that.

7Also, you really want to be careful – you never know how someone is achieving something. I can guarantee honest to God that I never did anything like forcing myself to vomit food, or take diet pills, or anything like that – everything you see here is honest truth, and that is not what is usually out there! (If I had done those things it probably would have been more weight loss). Don’t compare yourself to who others are today, only compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Seriously. Seriously. Seriously.

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