How Not to Gain Weight

January 24th, 2007

I weigh about 100 pounds in the winter and 97 in the summer, I am about 5’6″.

My friends are going to laugh that I talk about weight, but I got this thought while taking a walk.

Ever since childhood I am at this weight-height ratio or less. I did suddenly gain a lot of weight when I came to US to go to Graduate School. I was maybe 120-130 at the peak.

Northwestern follows quarter system so it was a lot of study to do plus research. I didn’t know how to cook and I didn’t have time to cook so mainly I relied on canned vegetables and breads. I was too nervous to spend time doing anything but studying, day and night I just sat and worked. From time to time I skipped meals, but when occasionally I went out with officemates for buffet I ate a lot. My waist and thighs became rounded and my paints tight. Sitting was not comfortable at all.

The second school year I moved to a seminary-student and graduate-student dormitory on campus. A daily three-meal plan was mandatory. I gained more weight because of the butter/grease used in cooking. Compared to my original size I was now like a balloon.

Things started to change when I started going to morning Mass at an off campus church.

It was a 20-25 minutes brisk walk each way. So every morning I walked to Mass then walked back, even when it was windy or snowing. I then had a good breakfast and freshed off to study and research.

When my course work requirement was pretty much done I used my remaining course credits each quarter for Ballet at the Theater Department. It was a one and a half hours class twice a week.

I was also conscious about how much I “took” at the cafeteria (I tended to finish all I got), and I chewed well.

I tried to avoid skipping meals, I would at least eat something when hungry.

So my weight came down and I felt light again.

For me it feels good to be light, not carrying extra hanging fat.

When Northwestern’s new gym was completed I started using the Cybex machines once or twice a week (I now caution the use of knee extension and curl machines). I would include warm up and cool down. And I swam.

My weight had been good since then until I got a job and worked and sat in front of a computer all day long.

I noticed my abdomen bulged and my waist expanded.

It had a lot to do with lunch.

People work in the office tend to eat lunch while they work. Then they sit for the rest of the day.

Here are the tips I got over the years:

1. Don’t eat lunch while work (or surf) – take your lunch outside or go to a conference room or cafe and just eat don’t work;
2. Don’t eat heavy lunches;
3. Divide lunch into 2-3 portions and eat each portion some time apart;
4. Talk a walk after lunch – even just walk around the office or cubes;
5. Exercise after work – it doesn’t have to be everyday.

Overall I think the keys for not gaining weight are attentive eating, exercise, and quality eating.

About quality eating I have learned a lot. I am not a dietitian so I shouldn’t talk much about it. I would just share a few things I learned.

I don’t eat meat and have quit drinking milk. Veal facts can be found at the Humane Farming Association and has extensive articles and news about milk. If you want to eat meat, better to buy quality meat. When the temperature is over 77 degree F, don’t eat meat. Eat only one kind of meat in one meal.

Don’t eat a mix of different kind of proteins at the same time. That is, don’t mix meat, fish, eggs, milk, and beans.

Don’t cook tofu with spinach.

No sweet potatoes and yams after 12 noon.

Nuts are good protein source, but better eat them raw or dry roasted.

I love chocolates and pastries but I don’t eat them everyday and I am careful about what I buy. Good quality chocolates and pastries are real treats, they make me happy and I would eat them bit by bit and taste them fully.

Weight control needs to be conscious too.


After Rain pastel paitning by Maria Yu









“After Rain” – pastel painting by Maria Yu



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