Category Archives: Weight Lost

Being underweight isn’t a license to get fat

Recently, my weight had dropped below 66kg, which is about a kg or two less than I ought to be. When my friends found out about this (since I advertised it on Facebook), many exhorted me to eat. EAT! I suppose much of it is said in half-jest, especially the ones which suggest merrily to me to eat something fattening. But I find it quite difficult to explain that it’s not so simple.

I’m losing weight probably because of muscle loss, as I’ve not been to the gym since the new year began. As I’ve written about before, it’s pretty easy to lose muscle mass – e.g. through lack of proper sleep/rest, not exercising, and not eating enough protein. It’s also very easy to gain fat – e.g. through lack of proper sleep/rest, not exercising… and eating too much fattening stuff.

I can feel my waist thickening, a sure sign of fat gain. I half-heartedly flex my arms once in a while, to see if my biceps and triceps still exist. These muscles are difficult to grow and maintain. I see them. But I can’t help but feel they’ve probably shrunk…

Even if I’m underweight, there is a right way to regain weight, and many wrong ways. The right thing to do is to gain muscle mass, not fat mass. A person’s weight is comprised of muscle mass + fat mass + bones/organs. To gain muscle, eat enough protein, exercise the right balance of muscle groups, and sleep enough for the muscle to grow. The wrong way is to gain fat mass. You can be the right weight, but still fat.

Many people praise me for my success in losing weight – I’m really grateful for it! Among the compliments I get are terms that I have never had the pleasure of owning before – “slim”, “skinny”, “trim and fit”.

Lately, it’s gotten “worse” – now people are starting to show me worried looks before exhorting me to “eat more!”, “don’t lose any more weight!” and even “don’t disappear”! Hahaha, if only I could.

I leave you with an image to burn into your brain:




Lowest weight ever, ever.


If I showed this to my trainer, who is still on holiday, he would consider me underweight. I’m not supposed to drop this far. I haven’t even been going to the gym. So it’s almost certainly muscle loss. I still eat very carefully, and I’m reasonably sure, with all that stress at work, I’ve gained some fat. We’ll know next Friday when I return to gym.

I can has cake and eat it – Metabolism vs Cake


What the…? On the blue blue Tuesday morning after the Boxing Day holiday, I discovered to my surprise that my weight had dropped to 66.6 kg. I was delighted as I was taken aback. The following morning it was 66.7 kg, still very low. I was 67.8 kg on both nights, so my weight was being maintained.


Amazing! I have lost even more weight, far more than my trainer would approve! And even after Christmas log cakes and a whole slice of Blackforest chocolate mousse cake that I had on Monday while celebrating my brother’s and father’s birthdays.


Ever since my trainer told me to stop losing weight, I have actually been eating more, including more carbs, to, er, maintain my weight. I was kind of fearful that I would gain weight, even fat. But yesterday at gym, my fat percentage remained low, at 20.1% – even lower than the last time I was at gym.


I do have had experiences where eating something bad increases my fat % or fat mass. But for the record, having sleep interrupted seems to cause even more fat gain. Lately I’ve been quite diligently sleeping about 7 hours a night, uninterrupted. Indeed, the truth is early last week my fat % went up was after three consecutive nights of interrupted sleep  due to my littlest girl struggling with the flu.


I believe also that one’s capacity to efficiently “process” fat is probably influenced by one’s metabolism. Metabolism is improved when one exercises regularly, so I think the reason why the cake didn’t cause much damage… and not keep the fat, is probably due to my regular exercise regime.


Yup, no secret and no magic formula to burning fat that you eat – exercise. The good news is that it is a really, startlingly delightful reward to all these months of training. I went to gym fully expecting my fat% to register higher than last time, but it went down from 20.7% to 20.1%. Perhaps if I had not eaten cake, it would’ve been lower. But for now I’m just happy that I can has my cake and eat it, so to speak. You have no idea how many times I have had cake, put it in the fridge, and never ate it.


Please bear in mind though, that this is not license to eat cake everyday….. It’s just not as dangerous as before.


And now I’m thinking pizza for new year’s eve.

Further Reading

The Metabolism Myth: There’s no biologic reason to get fatter as you grow older

“Leon, don’t go any lower.”


My trainer’s words this morning when I weighed in at 68.8 at the gym (remember I’m about a kilogram lighter without my gym outfit). It’s almost unbelievable to hear these words from my trainer. Still, it is the lightest I’ve ever been. To be frank there’s still some flab around my tummy that bothers me, and I’m hoping that will slowly flatten out as I build muscle.

I asked my trainer if I should change my diet in any way in order to maintain this weight. His immediate reply was a “No” – keep eating as I am, though I could increase carbs a little (!) … especially before training. Protein still vital …. Darn, and here I was thinking about pizza, mee goreng and other rare delicacies….