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How I Lost My Weight and Kept It Off

Updated on October 29, 2014
This is me during my heavier days.
This is me during my heavier days.

Deciding to Take Control of My Life

Despite all the new weight loss books that fill the shelves of our local bookstores, everyone still seems to be looking for ways to lose weight and keep it off. I can surely relate because I have been obese for half of my entire life. I remember trying all the new diets. Low fat, low carb, rice diet, the hollywood diet, you name it. Been there, done that!

One morning I woke up feeling fat and disgusted with myself. I went to take a shower and looked at myself in the mirror. I noticed that I was looking older than my age. I then went to the closet to put on some clothes realizing that nothing looked good on me anymore. I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to start my day off in a depressing mood. It was right then that I decided I was going to change all that. I was fed up with all the excuses and this time, I was going to really do it. This time, I was going to take control of my life!

No Bread!
No Bread!

Choosing to Low-Carb

After trying out many diets, I didn't know which way to turn. After doing some research, I finally decided to try and stick to a low carb diet. I had tried a low-carbing before but had failed miserably. At that time, I remember eating a lot of meat and fat and after 3 days, I felt sick. I didn't do it right the first time.

I bought myself the South Beach Diet because I I wanted to do it right. I had read that some people on this diet had reported improved triglycerides level. On a recent visit to the hospital, my triglycerides levels were quite high so I thought it would be worth testing on myself. For the first two weeks, I stuck to the diet exactly as it was written in the book. I'm going to be honest with you and tell you from the start that it wasn't easy. The first day wasn't so hard but the second and third days were torture for me. I kept telling myself that I only have two weeks and if I hate it so much, then I'll switch diet plans.

By the end of the two weeks, I had lost a significant amount of weight, my trousers were feeling loose and my energy level had shot through the roof. I'm not kidding here. In fact, I felt so much better after the two weeks then I ever had in my life, I decided to continue my low carb way of eating.

*Photo credit : Click here

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Did You Know...

People report less hunger and less desire to snack on a low-carb diet than a low-fat diet.

The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss
The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss
This is the book that helped me succeed. I was dealing with high tryglicerides and cholesterol. I got the numbers down to a healthy level that was not attainable for me with a low fat diet.

My Recommended Low-Carb Plans

I myself started on the South Beach Diet and then switched to a modified Atkins Diet. I have further tweaked my eating plan to reflect my lifestyle. Here's my take on these two plans.

If you are a light eater and prefer to cut back on fat, South Beach may be for you. They also emphasize eating lean cuts of meat and sticking to good oils. The Atkins plan is good for those who just can't live without butter, hamburger meat and other indulgences. Now some say that you eat too much meat or fat on the Atkins plan but seriously, if it helps you in losing excess weight, your health will most likely improve. I am living proof and a believer in limiting your carb intake.

New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.
New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.
The Atkins was the original low-carb diet. The diet was tweaked and modernized for a new generation.The Atkins Diet works for a lot of people, especially those who like to eat a lot.
Shinichi after losing the weight.
Shinichi after losing the weight.

Custom-Made Low Carb Diet Plan

After the initial 2 weeks, I slowly started adding "good" carbs like whole wheat bread and rice, but I actually didn't crave them as much so I only ate them if I really wanted to. Instead I wanted to add days where I could have things like pancakes and cupcakes. Usually if I had the craving, I would make myself some pancakes using almond flour. In fact, almond flour is great for making other sweet things such as pound cakes and muffins. However there were times when I wanted to go to a pancake restaurant with friends to eat the "normal" kind.

In the process, I found that I could still lose weight by tweaking the basic low-carb diet to my own lifestyle. Eating this way has helped me lose my excess weight, improve my health and maintain my weight.

Dieting Challenge

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Did You Know...

Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, professionals recommended less than 10 grams of carbohydrate per day for treatment of diabetes. This reduced blood sugar levels in patients and extended their lives, who would have otherwise succumbed to the disease.

My Tips To Success

How I tweaked the basic low carb diet to my lifestyle.

1. Avoid simple carbs such as rice, bread and noodles.

If you are trying to lose weight the low carb way, this is a must. However if you do happen to find yourself with your head in a bowl of ramen, don't hate yourself for it. Just eat something healthy for your next meal. No big deal.

2. Avoid refined sugar when possible.

Everyone knows that sugar is not the most nutritious of foods. In fact eating too much sugar can cause all kinds of bad things to your body.

3. Limit fruits to a single serving a day.

Fruits are highly nutritious and full of good stuff like antioxidants. For those trying to lose weight on a low-carb diet, stick to berries and avoid high-carb fruits like bananas.

4. Keep yourself satisfied all day with healthy snacks.

I never let myself get too hungry. I prevent myself from binging on unhealthy foods by keeping myself satisfied. Drinking lots of water throughout the day really helps in addition to keeping you hydrated.

5. Workout regularly (walking my dog, dancing, etc)

I try to fit in a workout almost everyday. I walk up the 8 floors to my apartment. I walk the dog. I dance. I do 20 pushups .Whatever I feel like doing and enjoy.

6. Give myself one cheat meal per week.

I basically eat anything I want for one meal.

I can have my pancakes on this day. Yay!

7. Eat what I'm craving badly.

If I want a cupcake really bad, I make sure to eat one slowly and savor every bite.

8. Once you do that, go back to eating healthy foods.

It's easy to do this after you had your cupcake right? As long as you don't let yourself feel guilty over that piece of cupcake, you're still on track.

9. Eat slowly and chew your food. Enjoy every bite.

Seriously, enjoy your food please. Be grateful for every morsel that goes into your mouth. Be conscious of the food's taste, texture and appearance.

10. Be happy that you're doing a good thing by taking care of your body.

You have decided to take better care of your body. You're taking baby steps towards your goal. You had a piece of cupcake after three days of low-carbing but you're eating a chicken salad for dinner with water. You're already doing so much good for yourself and your body. Congratulations!

Some Low-Carb Recipes That You Might LIke


Maintaining My Weight

It's even easier to maintain my weight using a basic low-carb eating plan. I basically make some tweaks into my eating plan that allows me to live a normal lifestyle without giving up eating out with friends.

During the final weeks of me reaching my goal weight, I started to allow myself one cheat meal per week. I basically ate anything I want for just one meal. This really helped me stick to my eating plan because I knew I'd be able to eat it when my cheat day came.I did this until I reached my goal.

Since I've reached my goal weight, it's even easier. There are days when I reward myself with carbs such as high-carb normal pancakes. I never make these at home. I will actually treat it as a very special occasion and look for the best pancake restaurant i know of. I love pancakes and it's just one of those things I never want to give up. Please remember though that if you are trying to lose weight, these cheats will slow you down. If you are trying to lose weight, I recommend you to make your own. They are very easy to make and will help in your goal of losing excess weight.

I also try to fit in some form of exercise in my daily routine. I like to dance, take long walks and do pushups! I know it's a weird combination, but hey it works! The point is to find some form of activity you enjoy doing! No, watching TV does NOT count as an activity!

Finally, I try to enjoy the entire process and treat it as a lifestyle, not a diet. It's all about using common sense. If you eat too much and gain a couple of pounds, lose those pounds immediately before they become permanent. If you binge at a buffet, low carb for a few days. Take it one day at a time and be proud of yourself for taking that first step to a healthier body and a happier life.

Shinichi in 2013
Shinichi in 2013

Helpful Tips

I believe that keeping your body healthy is key to enjoying life to the fullest. I also believe that to enjoy life, you must eat things you actually like. I remember reading about a Japanese doctor who is 54 years old, but looks 35. He even wrote a book on his method of staying young through diet. He basically skips breakfast and lunch. When dinner time comes, he eats a serving of whole grain and perhaps some vegetables and fruits. He hydrates himself throughout the day with burdock tea, which is supposed to help with anti-aging. He admits that he is continuously hungry and that's a good thing according to him. He does what he preaches and it shows.

I admit I was tempted to try out his strict regimen but after trying to imagine myself eating whole grains, vegetables and fruit for dinner only with nothing else throughout the day every single day, I started to feel depressed. Food is one of the pleasures of life at least for me. I know some people can live on boiled skinless chicken with salad everyday. I admire those people for their determination and strength. I know I could do it if I really had to but the thing is I really don't have a desire to go that far and that strict.

I have been on a strict low carb diet for the first year when I lost a lot of weight. To tell you the truth, it wasn't that difficult. I did have to plan for my meals and I learned to avoid carbs wherever I went. If I went to a ramen restaurant with my family, I would eat the topping and drink the soup. I would leave my noodles untouched. When I went on holiday, I always ordered a big salad with chicken or meat at all the restaurants I went to. It wasn't hard. It was just boring and seriously, it bored the people around me.

I decided that for the long term, eating what I enjoyed was key to keeping my weight off and keeping myself happy in the process. Eating the foods you love in moderation and striving to eat healthy foods most of the time works for me and it should work for anybody. If you enjoy fried foods, go ahead and eat them once in a while. I love deep fried anything so I sometimes eat them almost everyday. However I only eat a small portion and I usually compensate by eating very light for the next meal. If I gain a pound or two, I simply cut my carbs for a few days and I'm back on track.

I have been fat for half my life so I know how difficult the struggle is. Once I got my mind straight and decided that I didn't want to live that way for the rest of my life, I finally did something about it and threw away all my excuses. I am certain that I am alive today because of that decision.

*Photo of myself at my 47th birthday in 2013 eating a delicious full course Italian meal.

Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour [A Baking Book]
Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour [A Baking Book]
This is a must-have book for those who love cupcakes. Your friends won't realize they are low-carb once they taste these. Seriously, one of my favorite cookbooks around and proves that low-carbing doesn't have to mean giving up on your favorite sweets.

Are you a low carber?

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