HDE Advent Calendar 2016

“one day - one person - one blog post”, from December 1st - 25th

HDE Advent Calendar Day 9: My Japanese Weight Loss Story

Hello, everyone! I'm Bagus Rahman Aryabima from Indonesia. I'm currently working as a DevOps Engineer in Cloud Product Development Team. Last year, I also wrote a blog article for HDE Advent Calendar. In the article, I tried to explain a little bit about Indonesian cuisine. If you're interested, feel free to jump to the article using the link below, thank you.

I spent quite some time thinking about what to write this time around. First, in keeping with the theme of Indonesian culture from last year's blog article, I wanted to write about Indonesian fashion. However, I wasn't confident in my knowledge of it, so I changed my mind. Second, I wanted to write about other Indonesian foods I didn't mention on last year's blog article. But, I thought that the two blog articles would be too similar to one another, so I changed my mind again. Finally, I decided to write about how I lost weight ever since I started living in Japan. Hopefully, this would be an interesting and useful read to you.


First, this is the story of how I lost weight. If you're currently working on losing weight yourself, I hope this writing helps you in doing so. Unfortunately, what works for me might not work for you. In any case, I wish you good luck in your endeavors.

Second, I'm no doctor, nutritionist, gym instructor, or any of that. There are most likely some medically incorrect statements further down this blog article. Please forgive me for those.

Initial State

I've been fat all my life.

There are a lot of formulas out there to calculate one's ideal weight. Personally, I like to use this formula:

Ideal male weight = height (in centimeters) - 100

Ideal female weight = height (in centimeters) - 110

To reiterate, I'm no doctor, so please take this formula with a grain of salt. This formula was taught to me by my teacher in elementary school, if I remember correctly. I didn't confirm its validity, but this formula makes sense to me, so I've been using it ever since :D

I'm 175 cm tall, so I'm supposed to weigh 75 kg (according to this formula, at least). Well, it just so happened that I weighed about 92 kg before coming to Japan. Obviously, I was nowhere near my ideal weight.

I'm the left-most guy. (Source: my Facebook)

Off to a great start, aren't we?


From what I've learned, calorie, a unit of energy, is an important metric in losing weight. Based on factors such as age, height, weight, and how active one is, one can calculate the amount of calories one needs, per day, to maintain one's current weight (base daily calorie need). Generally, we gain energy by eating, and we spend energy by exercising. If we consume more calories than our base daily calorie need, we'll gain weight. If we consume less calories than our base daily calorie need, we'll lose weight.

This is where health apps come into play. I used one that helps me do these things, among others:

  • Calculate the amount of calories I need, per day, to lose a certain amount of weight (target daily calorie need)
  • Record the amount of calories I consumed
  • Record my weight

I was surprised at how much the app helped me to lose weight. First, it helped me calculate my target daily calorie need. I just input my age, height, weight, how active I am, and how much weight I would like to lose in a week. Afterwards, all I had to do is to stick with the target daily calorie need the app calculated (obviously, that's the hard part ;P).

Second, it helped me record the amount of calories I consumed. This had been the make-or-break point with me using a calorie counter app. I had always been anxious about the fact that I could never record the exact amount of calories I consumed. Fortunately, I realized that that's not the point. Instead, the point is to consistently record the calories I consumed, as exact as possible. As explained above, there are two sides of calorie counting, which are adding (eating) and substracting (exercising). Recording both has taught me how to control my eating, and it also has motivated me to exercise more.

Third, it helped me record my weight. I had always thought that weighing myself is something I only need to do occassionally. At one point, it occured to me that I probably should weigh myself more often, so that I could keep track of my weight loss progress more accurately. Because of this, I decided to weigh myself, and record my weight, daily. It turned out to be a good decision. Doing so allows me to know immediately that I messed up (e.g. eating too much, lazing around too much). In turn, this allows me to fix my mistakes immediately.


If I were ever to lose weight, I needed to change my diet. The diet I ended up doing is quite simple.

  • Eat more in the morning, eat less at night
  • Substitute red meats with white meats
  • Cut down on snacks

First, eating more in the morning and eating less at night. This made perfect sense to me. After all, we eat to gain energy, and we spend energy when we're doing activities. I should eat more in the morning, because I need a lot of energy to do a lot of activites thoroughout the day. On the other hand, I should eat less at night, because I don't need as much energy to sleep.

Second, substituting red meats with white meats. Meats has always been a part of every meal of mine. Ever since I was little, I have vastly preferred meats over vegetables. Of course, with time, I learned to eat more vegetables. However, it's hard for me to not eat meats at all. All I could do was eat healthier meats. Apparently, there's this concept of red meats and white meats. Generally, meats obtained from mammals are red meats, others are white meats. There seems to be a consensus that white meats are healthier than red meats. Therefore, I include fish in all of my meals, and I still eat red meats occasionally.

Third, cutting down on snacks. I used to snack a lot. I snacked regardless of me being hungry or not. Furthermore, I always eat snacks in one go. Once I open a bag of snacks, I wouldn't stop eating until everything is gone. In fact, this is still happening, unfortunately. What I could do was exercise some restraint. When I put my mind into it, it doesn't make sense to eat when I'm not hungry. When I am actually hungry in between meals, I buy smaller bags of snacks. Sometimes, I eat fruits instead of snacks.

To conclude this section, let me tell you about my default daily meals. My breakfast and lunch is pretty much the same, both consist of rice and baked salmon. I eat about three quarter cups of rice for each meal. The only difference between the two meals is that I also eat kimchi for lunch. As for dinner, I eat bananas. Of course, I shake things up sometimes. I eat red meats once or twice a month, and I eat snacks multiple times a week.

My everyday meal; I swear it's more delicious than it looks :D (Source: mine)


Actually, even now I don't exercise regularly. However, now that I live in Japan, I definitely exercise more than before. Back in my country, cars are arguably the main mode of transportation. Most people need only to walk from their bedroom to their garage, then walk again from the parking lot to their destination. The rest of the time is spent sitting inside the car. In this case, there are not a lot of opportunity to exercise, especially in the weekdays.

In Japan, I get to walk more. I walk for 15 minutes from my house to the station, and I walk for another 15 minutes from another station to the office. Of course, I need to do the same when I'm going home. In total, I walk at least an hour every day. On weekends, sometimes I walk more (e.g. when I'm sightseeing), other times I walk much, much less (e.g. when I'm not going out of my house for the whole day ;P).

I obviously didn't walk all the way from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, but I do walk around more at times like these :D. (Source: mine)

Current State

I currently weigh around 77 kg.

With regard to how long it took me to lose that much weight, I'm not really sure. As stated above, I weighed around 92 kg when I came to Japan. For the first six months, I didn't change my diet a lot yet. I ate the same amount for all my meals, and I still snacked a lot. I already walked a lot more, though. During this period, I lost about 5 kg. Then, I decided to improve my diet, and I started losing weight faster. For the next four months, I lost around 10 kg. So, in total, it took me about ten months to lose 15 kg.

Ever since then, my weight pretty much stayed around 77 kg. To reach the supposedly ideal weight of 75 kg, I probably need to exercise more. I lost count of how many times I've said this in my life, but I plan to do so. Starting next year. Let's see if I actually exercise this time or not ;P

I'm the right-most guy. (Source: my Facebook)

Final Words

So that's the story of how I lost weight ever since I started living in Japan. It generally came down to these:

  • Utilize a health app to stick with my target daily calorie need
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more

I'm sure those things sound obvious, but in my case, they actually worked. As stated above, unfortunately, my approach may not be suitable for you. However, I'd be happy if this writing helps you, in any way, to lose weight.


I hope your life gets healthier with each passing day.


Thank you very much for reading!