Cleaning up my diet


Happy Idul Fitri to all my muslim friends, congratulation for finishing the fasting month, time to celebrate! It’s a big break here in Indonesia and especially Jakarta, people go back to their hometown to visit their parents and extended family, and also go for holiday. It’s that time of the year when most people forget about their diet and splurge, and after the break try hard to burn all the calories again!

Although I’m not fasting nor celebrating Idul Fitri, I’m also trying to get rid of the few extra kilograms that has crept back. I hit my target weight of 59.9 kg around October/November last year, right before my first full marathon – managed to keep it a few months – and over time (over 6 months only – Mid Jan to Mid Jul) now I’m back at 62-63ish kg.

I thought I’m eating cleanly enough, exercising enough, resting enough, yet my body continues to gain weight. So these past few days I’ve been trying to pinpoint where did all this extra weight come from. Here’s what I found.


I don’t drink soda and most ready-to-drinks bottled stuff. I sometimes drink isotonic drink, only when I’m out running outside. I do have a soft spot for hot chocolate and hot coffee. Hot chocolate obviously contains sugar so I’ve been eliminating that, and I opt for non-sugar coffee with cream. I thought hey non-dairy creamer is allright – it’s just a little fat, right? Well well I was wrong. Although it doesn’t taste sweet, non-dairy creamer contains sugar in form of glucose syrup. Exact ingredients of non-dairy creamer are: Glucose Syrup, Hardened Vegetable Fat, Sodium Caseinate (Contains Milk Protein), Stabiliser (E452II, E340II) and Emulsifier (Non-animal Origin) (E471), Anti-Caking Agent (E554), Colour (160B). Hardened vegetable fat is another name for trans-fat, which is not good for the body. OMG I have been drinking this stuff for quite a while. And all the other things that has only alphabet and numbers as a name. Oh dear.

I’m also drinking fruit & vegetable smoothie more now. Fruit & vegetable smoothie is supposed to be healthy isn’t it? What’s not good in wholesome blended greens and fruits? I guess what I did wrong was portion size, because I don’t want to just use half a fruit I just throw it all in the blender, I may prepared too much of it and drink it all up.


I’ve been cooking more often now. Generally what I cook is simple vegetable soup with noodle. Or vegetable stir fry with rice. When I make soup, to make the flavor more strong, I sometimes put in up to 2 tablespoon of chili sauce. My favorite chili sauce brand is Dua Belibis (It got 4.7 score from!). List of ingredients: chili (47,236%), sugar, water, garlic, vinegar, salt, monosodium glutamate flavor enhancers, preservatives (sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulfite). So as the second listed item, sugar could be just a bit less only than the chili… it could be up to 40%! No wonder this chili sauce taste so delicious.

When I cook vegetables, I generally cook for myself only (hubby doesn’t want to venture into my vegetarian cooking). Although I try to keep in mind about portion size, more often than not the final cooking is too much, but I don’t want to throw away any, and I don’t want to put it in the fridge because I don’t want to reheat food. So yes I ate the whole thing. The rationale “It’s all vegetables, should be OK” – well even if it’s vegetables, calorie is still calorie.


I remember back in October – November last year I rarely snacked on anything other than fruits. I had the discipline to not put into my mouth anything highly processed (biscuits, cakes, donuts, fried stuff, breads, etc). Then I started to take a little bit, thinking “It’s OK just a little bit” – well it’s a slippery slope from there on. At first just one bite is OK. And then one piece is OK. And then suddenly one whole package is OK.

Action plan

Having identified the possible causes of my weight gain, here’s the changes I will implement to stop gaining weight and start losing it.

  • Drink more water or herbal tea
  • If I must have coffee, opt for black or with normal milk. Non-dairy creamer is a big NO
  • Watch portion size for smoothies & cooking – if I have to refrigerate half then so be it
  • NO bottled sauces in cooking. Read the ingredients!
  • Learn how to make my own chili sauce
  • Resist the temptation of unhealthy snacks… by always having a healthier snack alternatives available

I’m keeping my exercise & rest as it is, only changing my food & drinks intake. I will update the result in 3-4 weeks time.

Image credit: google image


3 thoughts on “Cleaning up my diet

  1. Yea…you can’t fast if you are running marathons. I think fasting is for spiritual atonement, not for good health. I also think calorie counters need to be shaken into sanity because calories happen; so does exercise if you go out and get it. Eat til you feel full…not bloated. Eat what makes your gut happy and do not let the “experts” trouble you with their constantly changing predictions. And, have a lil faith; you will live as long as the heavens allow.

    I would guess–and just a guess, mind you–your weight gain is weather/season related. You just might be the type who puts on weight with changes in temperature/humidity. That’s something the “health experts” don’t really consider. It’s a bit astrological.

    If it’s not seasonal, maybe your body has a strong reaction to “artificial”/man-made/overly processed ingredients. And, how do we get away from that unless we make EVERYTHING in our own kitchen? Who has the time or resources these days?

    So many think drinking more water will help. What happens if you put on water weight, too? Water DOES flush the body. But, all things in moderation.

    Eliminating all sugar is like eliminating all fats or anything that makes us happy. Do you think you lose weight when you’re miserable? Eat happy. Have your hot chocolate. It’s good for the mood.
    If you must be a lil pudgy, maybe it just means you have more flesh to pinch and hug. 🙂

  2. Everything in moderation, that is the key.

    What I’m trying to do is to limit the consumption of artificial sugar… sugar in natural form is still OK (eg fruits, honey etc). Sugar in the granulated crystal form is not good. There are experiments that shows that white sugar is addictive – just like other addictive substance – that’s why we like it so much! Yet if consumed too much the effect is so bad for the body. We’re hardwired to seek out energy-dense food because during our foraging-gathering ancestor’s time it’s crucial for survival. Now we live in abundance of food but the brain still works the same way – seeking and having preference for energy-dense food.

    I like that viewpoint… pudgy means more material to pinch and hug. But I like to be lean too 😀

    • If what I suspected is true–you do change weight with the seasons–maybe you get to live two lives every year; people can enjoy the summer you and/or the winter you. I am not sure I would feel good about being chubby because I’ve been bony for many years. Only as a child was I pudgy. But, I guess, whatever I am or become, I just have to get used to it if fighting it seems like an uphill battle. I wonder so many days how much can I change and how much should I just accept as the course of this life.

      I’d like to ponder this ancestry business in a hammock. 🙂

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