After a weekend of doing forms and sparring in Melbourne, I’m back in Adelaide once more!
If any of you had been wondering whether I managed to drop my weight to 63.9 kg, that opening line was your clue. 😊 This weight loss journey was a real eye-opener and a learning experience for me. While something good came out of it, I also did some damage to my body.
This is the good that came out of my harrowing weight loss experience. Never again will I go to such extremes.
Like I said in my last post, I hadn’t been 63.9 kg since I was 17. Back then, I didn’t have much muscle mass or eat that much either. Since then, whenever I tried to lose weight, I would overdo it until I couldn’t keep it up anymore and I would return to 70kg.
This time, I did a lot of weight training to burn calories for the competition. The week before I left for Melbourne, I was plateauing around 64.5kg and felt extremely frustrated. I thought that by restricting my food intake, I would shed the last few hundred grams I needed to lose. At that point, I was only eating 1200 to 1400 calories a day and was still training hard despite my low energy and exhaustion. This excessive approach was taking a toll on my energy levels and bodily functions. That entire week, I was struggling to… ahem, take care of paperwork. Even though the food I was eating had been digested, my body refused to pass it. My veins were visible, and I had no more body fat to lose. I only found out later that I was actually endangering my health.
THAT kind of paperwork. [Photo from PxHere]
About 20 hours before the weigh-in in Melbourne, I still had some weight to shed, so I decided to cut off water intake at 7pm. I also stopped eating and kept visiting the bathroom to try and get rid of as much as I could. Friday morning at 5am, just before I left Adelaide, I weighed myself again. The scales read 63.8 kg. I had finally made weight.
When I arrived in Melbourne, I was honest-to-goodness starving and running on fumes, having eaten nothing since 2pm the day before. After the weigh in, I scarfed down five energy bars and some chocolate. I had been hungry for so long that my brain only focused on the food and I forgot to re-hydrate myself properly. I drank some water but I now realise I should have had much more.
That afternoon after attending a seminar, I had half a chicken, a large serve of fries and salad for lunch. Afterwards, on my way to pick up my partner, Donna, in the city, I ate ten (TEN!) energy bars during the 20-minute drive there. I thought I’d just have a couple, but they tasted so good that I somehow stuffed ten of those and some snack-sized Snickers bars down my gob. Thinking back on that, I really overdid it with all those energy bars. If one bar contained 200 calories, FIFTEEN of them in one day… that’s a lot of calories without taking into account the meals I had.
Later, Donna and I went out for dinner. I had a large serving of noodle soup. Even though it was a little greasy, I ate like there was no tomorrow. By the time I got through half the bowl, there was a sudden acute pain in my stomach, like a cramp but much worse. I started blacking out and felt my stomach heave, so I rushed to the toilet. I must have briefly lost consciousness, which I don’t remember even now, but when I found myself at the toilet, there was blood under my jaw. We went to the ER by Uber and I was told by the doctor that I was too dehydrated and tired. He advised replenishing my water levels.
"Wh.. what happened? How did I get here? Who am I?" This is my look of confusion when I regained my memory at the toilet. [Photo from Pexels]
Even though I considered pulling out of the competition, I felt okay after a night of rest and plenty of water, so I went ahead and took part in the Taekwon-Do tournament. Over the weekend, everything went well, considering the events of the previous night. I even won two medals, one gold and one silver!
Having learned my lesson, I was very careful to feed myself regularly that weekend. I ate plenty of whole foods and fruits, which supplied me with energy to compete and even spar on Sunday. Though I didn’t win any medals in the individual competition, my team did win a place in the team sparring competition. It was a good experience, all in all.
Nearly fainting in a restaurant bathroom really made me rethink my priorities. I thought about the cost of extreme dieting just to make weight for the competition. I focused so much on my pride and my weight loss goal that I didn’t listen to my body even though it had been giving me signals. And although I have been studying all things fitness and movement, I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I was very fortunate that I didn’t do any long-term damage health-wise because of my ego.
Through trial and error on my own body, I will figure out the best approach to diet and train for my next competition in Germany. Next time, I’m not going to take things that far again. Having reflected on the food and training choices I made for my last competition, I know what I did wrong and how to be smarter in losing weight next time. I will do better in the future and not compromise on my health.
In the meantime, I’m incorporating more carbs and energy-dense food like oatmeal to my diet, which will help my weight return to normal and give me energy to train. Since my last approach left me feeling like a dried prune, my new strategy involves eating more and training more to make up for the extra calorie intake. Hopefully I will be able to achieve my weight by mid-April.
I also felt like I was in a desert with no end in sight. [Photo from Pexels]