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Archive for February, 2007

As I mentioned in the previous entry, I’m on a diet now (actually more a challenge/self-experiment). And just in case some friends might worry, it’s meant to be a healthy, sustainable diet. I’ve started the challenge for a week now, got some positive results (see below), and surprisingly find myself enjoying the process.

How it started

A friend told me if I could help her lose weight she’d treat me a meal. Since I also gained some weight over Valentine and Chinese New Year and feel like I’ve been eating excessive snacks/sweets lately, I came up with the competition plan to see who can successfully lose a certain amount of weight within a timeframe, and the loser have to treat the winner a meal.

The Goal

To lose 5 kg by the end of March (six weeks interval). Why 5kg? Because it’ll get me back to the weight I maintained at EIS (or first year at APU). I’d be interested to see if I could get rid of the facial fat (see EIS photo below)

Duration: Feb. 20 – March 31

Initial weight: 70.5 kg

Goal: 65 kg

Motivation

Where does my motivation come from if I’m just helping a friend? I’m no altruist, so what would keep me on the goal? Anyone would know that a meal’s not enough to sustain a person on diet. So here are few more reasons. 1) Being hungry might make you smarter (see here) 2) It is a challenge. If I could achieve this goal, I’d have more confidence in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind on, which would also act as a boost to my next upcoming goal of getting a distinction. 3) It’s fun. I’m enjoying the process of keeping detailed record on my dietary life and body condition, and it’d be interesting to see what’ll happen (See Seth’s blog for more on self-experimentation. There are useful dietary findings as well). Various bloggers have mentioned the simplicity of losing weight (here’s one). But most people seem to struggle with diet goal. Since I’ve never tried to diet seriously, it’d be interesting to see whether I can achieve it.

Strategy

Basically lower calorie-intake and continue doing exercise. Here’re the specifics:

1) Plan what I want to eat and keep record of what I eat.

2) No junk food and dessert (the term might be a bit vague here, but people who’re honest to themselves should have no problem in distinguishing food with high nutritional content from the junks). Since I do not want to miss out everything, I allow myself to ‘taste’ food if I want, which means I could try a dessert I’ve not eaten before but only limit to one piece (or a bite depending on the portion). Generally I won’t buy any and won’t eat them even if freely available.

3) No alcohol (wine, beer, etc.)

4) 5 liter of water per day. I started with 5L as that’s the amount that worked for Seth.

5) Not adding sauces and spices in cooking.

6) Eat smaller meal and spread them out.

7) Monitor progress, which include checking my action against these strategies and keeping track of weight weekly.

8) Adjust strategy if necessary. Since this is the first week, I haven’t changed anything yet. Other strategies to consider include using olive oil or fructose water to suppress hunger and Sushi! (see Seth’s paper for details).

Result 1st week:

Weight: 69. The weight tends to flutuate a bit depending on when and where I measure it. And because I don’t own a scale, I can’t consistently measure it. But since my goal’s to lose 5kg, there’d have no problem seeing substantial differences in the end.

It seems like my body has been getting use to eating less. I’m much less prone to feeling hungry and get full more easily. Not sure if this is due to my slowing metabolism, change in dietary habit, or just body adaptation. I suspect after this initial phase it’d be harder to lose more weight (since I gained some weight in the past weeks, so it’s likely now I’m just shifting back to my usual weight: roughly 67). But so far the result’s encouraging, and my mind does feel sharper.

I’m taking photo every week as well. Unfortunately I forgot to take one at the beginning. So I’ll post the most recent photo I took before the diet and one taken a bit earlier (near Christmas) as an approximation of my initial look. I won’t post my progress photo as I think it’d be more interesting to see them all at once in the end.

 
 
 
 
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Following up on my previous comment on the ‘gruelling and soul-destroying’ process, here’s the statistics I have so far.

Applications sent: 38

Interviews (with different companies): 7

Rejections: 29

*The numbers doesn’t add up as there’re pending interviews and responses (or perhaps silent rejection).

I recently received a formal contract from a prestigious investment bank. Given everything goes well (i.e. obtaining my work permit in UK), I should be working in London as an summer intern. And if luckier, I will receive a couple more offers (either from the same company or from other ones) by the time I finish the internship. But for now, I’ll leave job hunting aside and focus my mind on getting a distinction (I also just embarked on a new challenge related to diet, but I will save the details for the next entry).

Hope the job stats will bring some comforts to friends who’re looking for a job. As I mentioned before, the process’s gruelling and time consuming, rejections are common, and there’re lots of random factors involved. When we see people getting offers from prestigious companies, remember we only see the final result. And as one of my most respected mentor said, life is not about competing to have an excellent CV or high paying salary, as both are just means to some ends (e.g. more choices, autonomy to choose satisfying work or to pursue activities that bring personal satisfaction). So never lose heart.

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