Lately, many have observed that I have slimmed down. Usually the first sign is my face with my prominent high cheekbones that looked even more prominent. I start to enjoy looking at myself in the mirror especially the diminishing muffin tops. I can fit into pants comfortably and even my arms no longer look massive. And I even felt lighter on the whole! It really feels awesome to get back a slimmer silhouette and all clothes start to look better on me too!
I have Halley Medical Aesthetics to thank for the CoolSculpting treatment and the customised slimming programme, Active Slim. The 2 programmes complement each other perfectly. If you would recall my previous posts, CoolSculpting is for body contouring and fat reduction and not for reducing weight. But Active Slim will help to achieve the weight loss with nutritional counseling and meal replacement.
ACTIVE SLIM PROGRAMME
There is a total of 4 consultation sessions with Halley Medical Aesthetics nutritionist, Jean Tong, each lasting an hour. Each time we start with measuring my weight, waist line and blood pressure. The measurements on BMI, bone density, muscle weight will be recorded as well. Every session will be reviewed against previous measurements to check on my weight loss progress.
How much calories should one reduce to lose weight?
The General Rule of Thumb for weight loss is to cut down 500kCal per day to lose 0.45kg weight (body fat) per week. That totals up to about cutting 2kg weight per month.
My progress, however, is not a fast one because I chose to NOT take pills to aid my weight loss. Hence, I am depending on once-a-day meal replacement together with lots of mental persistence to stop snacking and not eat unnecessarily. I shed about 1kg per month.
UNDERSTANDING THE ENERGY BALANCE THEORY
On my first session, Jean asked about my 3 meals composition in a day and assessed my physical activity level. She went through the simple Energy Balance Theory:
To Lose Weight: Calories in (food) < Calories out (exercise)
To Gain Weight: Calories in (food) > Calories out (exercise)
To Maintain Weight: Calories in (food) = Calories out (exercise)
So, for weight loss to materialise, it looks simple but hard to achieve.
I needed to increase my activity levels to 150 min of more intense exercise from my current 60min a week jog/walk and 60min Pilates to help in my weight loss journey.
In fact, we should all aim to achieve the below exercise levels:
Lifestyle activity: Anytime, Anywhere (shopping, walking to mrt)
Aerobic activity: 3-5 times a week for optimal health and weight loss (running)
Strength activity: 2-3 times a week (Pilates, Yoga, endurance training)
EATING AND CHOOSING WISER FOOD OPTIONS
Jean wanted to know what I usually eat in a day. I find it rather embarrassing to recite what I have eaten to a nutritionist. I can feel myself going pink whenever unhealthy foods were mentioned. You can try recalling what you ate for breakfast, tea break, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner or worse, supper!
If you have been choosing healthy eating options, keep it up! But if you are eating unhealthy snacks and loading on sugars and empty calories, then it is time for you to choose wisely what foods that work healthily for you instead of piling on your weight without any nutritional value.
Jean was quick to identify healthier options to correct my usual eating habits. She suggested that I should:
– Switch to Low Fat Milk and Low Fat Natural Yogurt
– Drop dried fruits as they have high sugar content and opt for fresh fruits instead
– Change the way food is cooked by minimising fried foods and using boiled or steamed methods
– Change white rice to brown rice / Change white bread to wholemeal bread
– Increase fruits and vegetable intake
– Cut down sugary foods and drinks
For a quick way of choosing healthier options, I can start buying those products that have the Healthier Choice Label by Health Promotion Board.
PORTION SIZING AND CARBOHYDRATE
Jean introduced the magic numbers 3,6,9 to gauge the calories intake of a sized meal and how to plan a meal:
3 – 300 Calories (small, healthy meal)
6 – 600 Calories (small, unhealthy meal or large, healthy meal)
9 – 900 Calories (large unhealthy meal)
I can now plan my meal according to the Total Carbohydrates (CHO) that I consume for a day by referring to a CHO Exchange food list. I needed about a total of 10 CHO Exchange in a day. I should also try to eat small and frequent meals instead of just 3 big meals.
I learnt about eating the food groups in proportion and using portion sizing with the guide of a hand! It is so handy (pun intended) that it helps when I am gauging how much of the food pyramid that I will be consuming in a meal!
Do you know that green vegetable is zero calories? That means my twice a week Salad for lunch has much lesser calories than a bowl of dry wanton mee! I just need to add Quinoa to my salad for some Carbohydrates. We have always heard that low Carbs is the way to slim down, however, if we do not take enough Carbs, we may end up losing muscle weight and we will slim down looking haggard! So, it is still important to take sufficient Carbs for good health.
OPTIFAST – MEAL REPLACEMENT DRINK
Besides consciously eating and choosing healthier foods to eat and increasing exercise levels, Jean also recommended Optifast, a meal replacement drink by Nestlé, to me as part of the weight loss programme. It is the only meal replacement drink approved by Health Promotion Board and only meal replacement brand used in major hospitals. I am supposed to take this meal replacement once a day only. I can choose to replace any of my meals in a typical day.
So, for 2 months, I have been taking Optifast for most breakfasts 4-5 times a week. It works well for me to take Optifast only for weekday mornings and occasionally on Saturday mornings if I am running short of time. It is also a convenient healthier option to take Optifast on the go, knowing that it only has 160 Calories with all the vitamins and nutrients needed in one meal pre-packed in a satchet. It does not have fibre in it, hence, a fruit or small salad serving will complement Optifast perfectly.
Having a good and healthy breakfast is important. In fact, we may not get all the nutrition we need if we eat Chee Cheong Fan or Roti Prata with high sugar-laden Teh Tarik for breakfast. I have tried Optifast for lunch and I got hungry by mid-afternoon and all my mind could think of is to eat anything that I can find on my work desk, which are chocolates and biscuits. Thus, if you get yourself too hungry, chances are that you will snack on unhealthy foods. So, I have been keeping a fruit snack with me.
Because I take Optifast, I avoided the chance to eat unhealthy foods for breakfast. This helps in my weight loss regime greatly.
DIETING WITH OCCASIONAL INDULGENCE IS OK!
One thing that I am relieved about is that Jean acknowledges, at times, we still have our cravings and it is still alright to indulge in ice-cream and chocolates occasionally! And usually on weekends, my eating habits are different due to social factors. Weekends are for family to enjoy outside food or feasting for celebration. I am glad that Jean totally agrees with that too! I do not need to torture myself to strict dieting all the time! This helps to make the weight loss journey bearable and sustainable, which could really last a few months.
If you have not had a nutritional counseling by a nutritionist, I strongly urge you to arrange for one. To have an expert to guide me on nutrition and how to plan my meals will benefit me for a lifetime. Now, I can help plan healthy foods for my family and only choose to buy healthier products whenever I go for grocery shopping.
Stay tune for my post on the final verdict on Active Slim programme soon!
Join me on my CoolSculpting Journey with the below posts!
If you are interested in the Active Slim programme, please click here.
Price of Active Slim Programme – $800
Price of a box of Optifast of 7 satchets – $18.50