This page is about health and fitness, and my general experiences with it.
(I am not a health professional nor do I have any official certifications on this area, so I advise people to take certain information from this page as casually as possible.)
I wouldn't say that I am a fitness freak but I value health and well being because for a good majority of my life I was pretty obese. All the way up until the beginning of college many of may nick names used to be along the sense of chubby or fat, and I always took it with good humor. I was pretty open about my weight and I enjoyed the teasing, but somewhere in my psyche I was pretty distracted about my self image and health wise I felt pretty lethargic and uninspired about my life because there was so little activity in my life. Another issue was that I wanted a girlfriend but I had a terrible relationship with my self image and I believed that sliming down would help me get a girl friend. (this was not true of course)
During my twilight days of high school, just before graduating, I had started smoking cigarettes because it seemed like a cool thing to do. It was a good excuse to meet my friends for a quick social gathering and I also liked the attention I got from my non smoking friends who were surprised by my new found habit. I somewhat liked the attention because I was a pretty quiet guy in during most of my school days, but smoking did not help with my already poor health. Still, I was a pretty poor smoker and didn't really enjoy it.
When I moved to Chicago for college I was pretty lonesome and desperate to find some kind of social interaction and the one tool that I was able to rely on was smoking cigarettes. It was a good tool because I was able to use smoking as an ice breaker to talk with people, but it was pretty limited because once the cigarette was done there wasn't much more for us to share. At first these kind of quick semi break related interactions were what kept me in touch with people but eventually it was just a habit and most of the people that I met during these interactions did not end up developing into anything frugal. The core issue was that the habit of smoking had stuck on me, and pretty soon it became somewhat of an obsession to smoke or else I felt insecure. Smoking in Chicago back then cost quite a lot, and being a pretty frugal college student I had to prepare myself to skip meals if I wanted to continue smoking cigarette (This was because I purchased all of my meals and barely cooked). In terms of losing weight this had actually worked out and from my initial 98 kg's when I had first arrived in Chicago, after my first semester I had gone down to about 90 kg's.
This was obviously not a great way to lose weight because I was definitely less lighter but I was also feeling weaker. When I first went back to Hong Kong after my firs semester to meet my parents their initial reaction was shock because of my weight loss but my mother especially was grief stricken over how poor my complexion was. If I can recall correctly they thought I was a hospital patient. I don't know if this was fortunate or not but after a month of eating my mama's cooking, and limited smoking, I had gained back 5 kg's of weight (!) just before I left to go back to Chicago, and I left feeling happier, a bit more rotund, with a much better complexion.
Starting second semester, I needed a better plan that did not adversely affect my health but at the same time worked with my frugality. Grocery shopping. At this point the choice of foods that I had been putting into my body had been pretty terrible and the fact that I implemented grocery shopping into my regular schedule did not exactly make my choices in meals more healthy, but I still ended up losing a bit of weight (5kg) and I had more money being saved. My level of activity stayed consistent with the biking and walking, and I occasionally went out to play basketball. I kept the active lifestyle and home cooking an almost daily habit all the way up until the end of my second year. I had gone down from 100~98 kg's down to around 85 kg's and 85 kg's was around the level of weight that I was able to retain with my lifestyle back then. By the time my third semester came around I moved out of the dormitories and lived away from the school area. I would often commute to school on bike, so I was literally biking everyday here and there. This was probably when I was the most active in my life because my body was seemingly able to take a ridiculous amount of stress, but in hind sight this was actually a very foolish thing to do.
I was hitting a plateau in my weight loss and I just could not get my weight to get below 85 kg's at a consistent basis. The simple minded me had decided the best plan would be to add more exercise and boy was this the dumbest thing to do. I had started pushing my body to jog everyday, without rest, and plus all of the additional activities layered on top of this. The results were quite detrimental where I was feeling fatigued and lethargic on a almost daily basis and my body felt like it was in pain almost every day. This kind of mistreatment to my body has taken it's toll where even up till today I feel the adverse effects from then, such as aching joints, twisted ankles, poor posture, etc. I had thought that pushing oneself to their athletic limits was the answer to more weight loss but it was but a fools attitude towards it, and to top it all off I was not losing any weight at all. It was extremely frustrating and I was at a loss.
I realized that whatever I was doing was just not working and I needed a different perspective on this whole weight loss thing. I had never actually relied on any kind of professional advice and kept listening to the common word of mouth information about weight loss, so I decided it was about time that I should seek some insight into this world of weight loss. I spent some time reading some articles and online forums related to health, fitness and weight loss and almost immediately realized what I had been doing right but also what I had been doing completely wrong. There was a sense of regret after reading some of the articles because If I had known sooner, I would not have put my body through so much abuse.
There was quite a lot to read about involving areas that went beyond just fitness and exercise, the body and the mind, nutrition, etc but I was very much invested in this aspect of my life and I wanted to understand it better. By the time I was done reading up on some of the articles I immediately cut down on the level of activities and implemented rest in to my lifestyle. I was also much more conscious about the type of food that I put into my body and found myself looking at the nutritional content behind every product that I was purchasing. A lot of my grocery shopping had become fresh produce and I was implementing upper body workouts which I avoided with my dear life until this point. The funny thing was I was actually seeing results, and by the time I was done with my third year of school I had cut down on my weight and I was down from 85 kg's to about 78 kg's. From this point onwards I continued studying about nutrition, health, exercise etc and I had adjusted, re-adjusted, adapted, constructed and re-scheduled my health and fitness lifestyle, and to this day my health and fitness lifestyle is ever evolving and adjusting to fit my daily schedules.
Me in 2009, back in Hong Kong