Another year, another weight-loss update. Or should I say, weight update. Two years ago a doctor advised me to lose weight after a health check up, citing issues of a fatty liver and high uric acid and cholesterol levels. A year later, I had lost 30kg and wrote about how that happened in this column.
Since then, have I managed to keep the weight off? And if so, did I benefit? And at what cost?
The short answer is that I have, and at possibly the cost of my hobby of eating.
Let’s get things straight first. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to eat what I cook (sometimes). So when I have to watch what I eat (instead of eating it), then things get understandably tense.
But I had to lose weight because a doctor told me it would be good for me. In the end, what I committed to was “calorie counting”. I try to make sure that I consume fewer calories than I burn. So the fitness tracking watch I wear gives a rough estimate of how active I’ve been, while I keep track of what I’ve eaten through a food diary.
And it kind of worked. At my last health check up the enzymes that indicate a fatty liver had gone back to normal, and my uric acid levels were also firmly in the acceptable range. The only concern was my LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) which was “borderline high”, although even that was lower than before.
But losing weight is only a fraction of the work I need to do. A 2001 meta-analysis of weight loss studies found that more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years. For obese individuals, they eventually maintained weight losses of only about 3kg on average. A 2013 review of 21 randomised controlled trials was even more sobering, concluding that the average amount of weight loss maintained was a measly 0.94kg.
So I have this ongoing concern at the back of my mind that if I am not careful, I’ll regain my weight and lose out on all the hard work.
Strangely enough, the “burning calories” side of it has been relatively straightforward. If I can find time to walk for …….