I arrived in Germany on a cold evening in January. It rained all the time and I wore at least three layers of cozy clothing before stepping out of the house. It was surreal mix of reality and fantasy in the first week. It was a peasant change from horrid Dubai summers, and I always liked rain.
However, the novelty soon wore off. It was TOO cold and it was ALWAYS raining. How do you live in a place like that? In Karachi and Dubai, rain is sparse and sunshine is abundant. Also, I liked the idea of layering but realised what a pain it was to layer in a way that actually helps you stay warm. To date, I don’t know how do all those fashion bloggers do it! I see bloggers from Munich wearing cozy knit dresses with knee high boots, and going around their business like a boss. I would kill myself with pneumonia if I stepped out in just that. How do they do it?
Anyway. So it was cold and wet all the time. And you would think that people avoided outdoors in such a weather, right? WRONG! I saw people from 12 to 72, running around the city, and working up a sweat in 2-freaking-degrees! Parents would cycle afternoons away with their children (of not more than 5), despite the continuous drizzle and chill that made my teeth chatter. Loudly. Being healthy and active is in the German DNA, I suppose. They run, at all times.
I was inspired (and bored), so decided to catch on the vibe and get slightly active. I went for 5km walks/sprint at a nearby park, thrice a week, and started counting calories using MyFitnessPal.
I tried to stay committed, but I lacked motivation and I hated the cold. I had flu all the time and I was never warm enough, no matter how many layers I wore. As a result, I lost about 8.5lbs in six months. It’s neither significant nor commendable, but it’s a loss and I would take it.
Now let’s talk about calorie counting. Our bodies needs a certain number of calories to maintain its current weight. Cutting down calories causes weight loss, while eating more calories than your body requires causes weight gain.
If you are wondering how do you know the number of calories you should have to lose weight, and how many calories does a particular food have, your answer is MyFitnessPal.
I have used this app, on and off, since 2010. You create a profile, and with the help of your personal details (like your age, height, current weight, goal weight and activity level), the app suggests your daily calorie intake.
It is basically an online food journal, which has a huge database of food items; so every time you log a food in your diary, its corresponding calories (and other macros) would show up as well. Initially, I assumed that it wouldn’t have our (i.e. Pakistani) food – like Biryani, Qorma and Haleem, but it did! Along with food, you can also enter exercise, water and weight details, to keep an eye on these important elements of your well-being as well.
The app alerts you when you are close to your limit; it also informs if a food item is high on carbohydrates, sodium, calcium, etc. This is how I found out that Cuppa Noodles are evil.
In a nutshell, calorie counting and this app can help you manage your meals, and lose weight eventually.
If you ask me, I don’t find calorie counting very effective for weight loss for a number of reasons, but primarily because I was always starving while counting calories. I was suggested 1300 calories per day, and you’d be surprised how quickly they are gone!
But on the flip side, there are no food restrictions. You can have grains, meat, fruits, vegetables and even indulge in fast food as long as you are within the prescribed count. In retrospect, maybe that’s why I didn’t lose weight. You need to respect the healthy food equation and avoid junk of all sorts.
So after six months of playing around with calories counting, traveling to Madrid to meet Deepika Padukone and losing a measly 3.8kgs (while I had McDonald’s on and off), I came across LCHF WOE. With this, I lost 14 lbs in a month (August 2016), after which I travelled to Pakistan and ate everything on the face of earth without gaining any of it back. I came back to Germany and have gained about 5kgs since then, courtesy eating out and newly developed addiction of crisps and M&Ms.
But it’s an amazing diet, which contradicts most of what we have been taught about ‘clean’ eating, and has done wonders for people who want to lose a substantial amount of weight.
More on it in the next episode Cherries. Check out this video if you can’t wait until next week. Oh, and I am sorry I missed two weekends. I was sulking on one, and vacationing in Prague on the other 🙂
Until next time!!