The Two Year Review

Two years ago, I wrote about my weight loss journey as I embarked upon my first Spartan Race. It is now two years on so I thought I should write a progress update. You can find the earlier updates on this journey here:


It was never my intention to lose weight. I just wanted to get fit for a Spartan Race. For someone who has struggled with body-image issues, I was finally comfortable in my post-pregnancy body. I even gave away all my old clothes, sure that I would never fit into them again. Is it ironic that I lost weight after I decided that losing weight wasn’t necessary? Although, I won’t deny that weight loss was a happy side effect. I haven’t been this size since before my first pregnancy.

October 2017

Weight loss may not have been my goal, but fitness and maintenance are. After the effort to get stronger and fitter, I would like to keep it going. I also believe it is important to review efforts and assess progress. So this is my two-year progress report.

My Gold Standard

Firstly, I want to be clear that the journey isn’t about weight. It’s about health. Too often, when we set weight loss goals, we lose sight of the bigger picture which really should be about being healthy. Losing weight and gaining it back then losing it again in yo-yo fashion is never healthy.

My motto now is: do not adopt any lifestyle changes that you cannot foresee yourself doing for the rest of your life. That is the reason why I don’t believe in diets, nor do I try to change mine. For instance, I love my carbs too much to know that I could never sustain any diet that requires me to restrict them. Telling myself I can’t have chocolate makes me want it even more. So yeah, I take my cake and eat it, too – literally.

The Recap

At 18 months, I mentioned a little hiccup that occurred. I took an over-indulgent holiday (read: I ate too much junk food and didn’t workout enough) and it resulted in a slight weight gain that did not correct itself when I returned to life as usual. I speculated that one of the causes of this was that my body had adapted to my workout. Unless I changed something, nothing was going to happen. After being in MCO for 3 months, it looks like I was right.

What Changed?

Food! In Western Australia

Less cake. Sad but true. Not being able to go out means I don’t eat cake and I don’t get fancy indulgent meals. Well, #fmr has spoiled us with his fancy cooking from time to time but overall, my indulgent eating has decreased.

Change in my exercise routine. In my last update, I did say that my body has become accustomed to my workout. Being in MCO has also meant a big change to the way I work out. The exercises I do are different – which was probably the change I needed to shake my body up:

Work out

Since I have nothing else to do, I work out every day. I expend anywhere between 500 to 1000 active calories, according to my Garmin Fenix.

Extra housework. Without our regular cleaners coming, I have to vacuum and mop, change the sheets, fold the clothes, and clean the bathrooms and air conditioning filters. It is amazing how many calories you can burn doing housework.

How has it affected me

I dropped the weight I put on during my indulgent holiday. It wasn’t a significant change so it didn’t really affect the way my clothes fit me. What I have noticed is more ab definition. It’s nothing like a six-pack, but there are more shadows that stay even after I’ve hydrated and eaten – sometimes.

There is a part of me that wonders if it is due to the more specific ab workouts I do now or if it’s age-related. I have noticed that as I grow older, I am a little more dehydrated – if that makes sense. That dehydrated look may betray my age, but they also reveal my muscles. At least I think that’s what it is.

Since I’m doing more strength work, I’ve noticed that I can now do a full push-up. Yes, it’s only one, unfortunately. Nevertheless, it’s still one more than zero so that’s progress.

Before and After

Women’s Day 2020Women’s Day 2020

I would post a before and after shot, except that I think they can be quite misleading. Check out these two pictures of me taken on the same day in different lighting. Enough said.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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